February 21, 2018

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi drew a straight line from anti-Clinton disinformation from a Russian troll farm into a Sean Hannity tweet. Hannity appears to have gotten at least part of his information from Lifezette, then run by colleague Laura Ingraham.

Raw Story explains:NBC News discovered how the Russians were able take advantage of America’s existing right-wing echo chamber to smear Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton with charges of satanism in the home stretch of the campaign. The reporting was based on 202,000 tweets [which] were recovered from 2,752 Twitter accounts the House Intelligence Committee confirmed as Russian trolls.

In addition to #Pizzagate, NBC News noted, “the trolls stirred up rumors that Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta attended a satanic ritual, a story that the fact-checking site Snopes has labeled "false."

As Snopes explained, the supposed Satanic ritual, called “spirit cooking,” was based on a Wikileak release of Podesta’s hacked emails referencing an art project and a unremarkable dinner that had nothing to do with Satanism or Clinton. Clinton did not send or receive either of the emails published by Wikileaks. As far as I can tell, she did not attend the dinner, either.

But Hannity either could not be bothered to fact check the Russian disinformation or else he deliberately spread it knowing it was false. On November 4, 2016, four days before the presidential election, he tweeted: “LEAKED EMAIL appears to link Clinton Campaign Chairman to bizarre occult ritual.”

The link in Hannity's tweet goes to a page on Hannity.com that has been removed. However, the internet archive reveals that it's a full article promoting the disinformation:


The second paragraph of the Hannity article references Lifezette as a source:According to Lifezette, Abramovic’s “Spirit Cooking” is “little more than a series [of] occult rituals and spells, some of which include blood sacrifice.” Videos that have surfaced online of alleged past Spirit Cooking events appear to show Abramovic painting a “recipe” on a wall with a thickly congealed substance that resembles blood. The recipe reads, in part, “mix fresh breast milk with fresh sperm, drink on earthquake nights.”

Although the Hannity.com article has been taken down, the Lifezette article is still posted. At the time, Ingraham was the editor-in-chief.

Watch Velshi and NBC News reporter Ken Popken explain how disinformation spread from Russian trolls to supposedly mainstream right-wingers like Hannity and Ingraham below, from the February 20, 2018 MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi.

Originally published at Newshounds.us

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