Shots fired on Sunday in Washington, D.C. has given us living proof that fake news can do more than rot your brain. It can be hazardous to your health.
An armed North Carolina man told police that he walked into Comet Ping Pong pizzeria to "self-investigate" a conspiracy theory that Hilary Clinton and members of her inner circle ran a child sex ring, they said.
For weeks, employees there and at nearby businesses have been harassed or received death threats from believers of "Pizzagate."
The Washington Post noted that efforts to debunk the bogus conspiracy theory have only fueled it:
“Pizzagate” has yet to produce any actual evidence for its extremely weighty and life-ruining accusations, but every debunking of its claims . . . has only convinced its believers that they must be right, and that the circle of pedophiles and sympathizers trying to cover up their findings must be even bigger and more powerful than they imagined.
In case you were blissfully unaware of the dangers of fake conspiracy theories, consider this thought from University of Miami expert Joseph Uscinsk, who raised concerns about their rise in pervasiveness and power during the presidential election season:
“There is nothing fundamentally wrong with conspiracy theories. They have their positive attributes: Sometimes they turn out to be true (think Watergate, for example), and sometimes they bring new information to light (such as securing the release of many documents pertaining to the Kennedy assassination). But too many can distort our perception of reality, squander precious government time and resources and endanger lives—especially when they move out of the fringes of political life and become the currency of the truly powerful.”
Here are more Hilary Clinton conspiracy theories that you shouldn't bother to "self-investigate":
- Clinton is a demon. Literally from the pits of hell.
- She uses a body double.
- She kills people. Lots and lots of people.