Fact Check: Did A Truck Driver Kill Six Demonstrators Who Were Protesting Trump?
Fake news in the age of Trump
The Tribune reported that a 32-year-old man driving a Waldrum Brothers delivery truck was responsible for the deaths of the protesters who were chanting “Dump Trump” in the middle of a freeway in Seattle.
It further claimed:
“The accident occurred near an I-15 off-ramp today around 5:15 p.m. today. According to witnesses, a crowd of approximately 16 individuals pulled their vehicles to the side of the freeway and created a barricade by linking their arms together.”
“The protester’s [sic] actions immediately hindered the flow of traffic and motorists became upset at what many of them viewed as an unwanted obstacle preventing them from getting home from a long day at work.”
Sure, The Seattle Tribune looks like it’s the digital edition of an authentic newspaper, but it’s merely another fake news site, as are the Boston Tribune and Baltimore Gazette. These sites mimic bona fide big city news outlets so that they can generate hoaxes and ad revenue. And the Seattle Tribune is merely the latest front to be used by the notorious fake news purveyor Associated Media Coverage.
And, in many cases thanks to Trump, these stories are proliferating. Because he generates plenty of them himself. Indeed, as this story by my colleague Suman Sridhar reports, this President has told a number of whoppers.
Related: Morning Joe Takes Stand Against ‘Fake News’ – Bans Trump Propagandist Kellyanne Conway (VIDEO)
Many fake news and “satire” sites don’t print disclaimers to let readers know that what they are publishing is false. Snopes notes that for most fabricated news sites, disclaimers are few and far between, but the Seattle Tribune is one exception, which you can read here.
And the thing is, while fake news sites are fun for some people to read, when these stories go viral (and believe, me, they do) they sometimes tarnish the reputations of journalists who bust their butts trying to get accurate information out there.
As for the story involving the demonstrator-killing truck driver, the photo used by the Seattle Tribune dates all the way back to a completely unrelated Huffington Post story published in October 2016.
Snopes rated this story as false. This website is a real boon for journalists who should check it out whenever they suspect a story is a hoax. What’s most helpful is that it’s also published a guide to fake news sites and those that promote hoaxes.
So if you’re wondering if a story is fake or satire, now you can check it out.
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Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.
Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.