Right-wing websites were once again duped by a fake “confidential memo” that spread like wildfire on Twitter, claiming the Hillary Clinton campaign was using “friendly” polling companies to “discourage Trump support.”
The “memo” claims to be from pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record. An excerpted portion claims to show a technique called “poll-flogging,” that implores PAC workers to use Reddit comment sections to “barrage (pages) with high-frequency recent polls… If target is hooked, move to swing-states (FL/PA) and declare election over.”
With legitimate leaks of Clinton campaign advisor John Podesta flooding Twitter from the hands of Wikileaks, some conservative media have been readily accepting obviously impossible “leaks” tweeted from civilian accounts.
This one is no different. A tweet by pro-Trump account @S_Cooper0404, containing two pages of the “memo,” has been retweeted over 5,000 times.
From there, conservative websites took the bait. Gateway Pundit included the excerpted “memo” in his story “LEAKED CLINTON DOCUMENTS: Discourage Trump Supporters with Crap Polls.”
YoungConservatives went even further, tweeting “WE FOUND THE PLAN” while linking to a story including the same two pages of the memo.
The memo, however, was created by RealTrueNews, a far-right conspiracy website that creates fake memos tying almost all government leaders and media to the Illuminati.
The rest of the memo, which is not included in the posts, is considerably harder to believe, including a section called “Memetic Payload” which tries to link Donald Trump to Bill Cosby.
“Women who feel anger about unproven allegations not being automatically accepted as fact will like (sic) Cosby to Trump and determine, emotionally, they can get revenge on Trump,” the documents states.
The “memo” published after the Correct the Record “leak” is called “Media Control Memo,” which is printed on Illuminati letterhead, featuring an All-Seeing Eye pyramid in the background.
A separate “memo” published before the Correct the Record “leak” outlines a “Pence and Ryan coup” that was “called off after Trump won the second debate.”
YoungConservatives CEO Josh Riddle told The Daily Beast that the article would be updated.
“We are updating the article right now letting people it's fake right now and deleting it off all social media. Looks like Gateway Pundit updated their article as well,” wrote Riddle. “We really appreciate your note and heads up as accuracy is always a number one priority.”
Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft updated his story to remove the tweet when The Daily Beast alerted him of its source, but didn’t mention the correction.
When The Daily Beast reached out to RealTrueNews, someone claiming to be the site’s webmaster said he “got involved [in the site] through a friend” to “set up a site, take orders for social media, [and] run a few low-level ad campaigns” because “he was out of work.”
“He's a hardcore conservative who believes the media is lying to him about everything,” he said.
“I have to say that I'm not in any position to say why people believe some things and not others this election. But if I were, I would probably point to something like this,” he said, then linked to a 2014 blog post on a website called PoliticalOmnivore.blogspot.com.
That blog posts ends, in part, with this sentence: “Maybe the reason that conservatives see the world so differently than ‘the rest of America’ is because they are either more susceptible to apocalyptic conspiracy theory (FEMA!) or maybe because they have been sold the fuck out by their thought-leaders.”
The webmaster then sent The Daily Beast a “private email” address for his conservative friend. “They may answer it. They might not be ... terribly coherent?” he wrote.
When The Daily Beast sent a question to the private email address asking about the memos, the account responded in 17 minutes.
“Ben Collins = Lib Con Lens. The Daily Beast = Behead Tastily,” the email reads. “WE UNDERSTAND.”