Was Hillary Clinton secretly using an earpiece during the Commander-in-Chief forum on Wednesday night?
No, of course not.
But this is 2016, so Clinton’s campaign was forced to shoot down the rumor that quickly spread from InfoWars and alt-right subreddits to Fox News and Donald Trump Jr.’s official Twitter account on Thursday.
Never mind it could’ve been quickly disproved by Googling her head or watching television.
The Drudge Report led its website with a picture of Clinton and the headline “HILLARY AND THE EAR PEARL”—the headline links to an article by InfoWars, a website which frequently posts stories about how it believes the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged by the government.
Nationally televised video and pictures from photographers at the event prove that Clinton was not wearing an earpiece.
Here are some uncomfortably close-up pictures of Hillary Clinton’s ear because this is what the election has come to:
“Confirmed. Nothing in her ear,” Clinton’s traveling press secretary Nick Merrill told The Daily Beast.
Merrill then linked to one of his own tweets, which he directed at the account of InfoWars founder Alex Jones and Donald J. Trump Jr., who tweeted the InfoWars earpiece conspiracy article.
“Guys, wanted to call your attention to the Boeing 737 in HRC’s ear. #MSM ignoring,” he wrote, alongside a picture of a Clinton standing in front of her campaign’s plane.
Still, the conspiracy drew widespread coverage by midday on Thursday. Fox News placed a photo illustration with the phrase “Buzz About a ‘Bud’” on its homepage.
Other outlets quickly jumped in on the conspiracy. The Hill, for example, wrote an article exclusively citing InfoWars without seeking out readily available photos from the event that disprove the possibility of the candidate wearing an earpiece.
InfoWars’ top editor and founder Jones believes there is a government project where “humanoids are crossed with fish,” Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered, and that some tornadoes are government-created.
Donald Trump’s largest online community, Reddit’s r/The_Donald, quickly took a victory lap on Thursday, after repeatedly posting the picture in the early hours of the morning before mainstream press pounced on the conspiracy.
“Fox News now covering the earpiece,” reads the top post on the subreddit at press time. “Hang on centipedes, this is about to explode!”
A questionnaire to become a moderator of r/The_Donald posted earlier this year included the questions “Was 9/11 an inside job?” and “Is there a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy?”
In an r/The_Donald thread posted today titled “Based Matt Drudge is on the case,” the top comment appears to take credit for the spread of the earpiece meme.
“We are the media now,” South_Florida_Guy wrote.