And now journalists can add one more diss to that list: less factual than the internet.
“Forget the press, read the internet, study other things” the Republican presidential nominee told supporters in Colorado on Tuesday. “Don’t go for the mainstream media.”
“I do get a lot of honesty over the internet,” he claimed.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what kind of information Trump gets from the web.
1. China invented global warming.
2. Ted Cruz’s father linked to the JFK’s assassination.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rafael, was involved with Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who famously shot and killed President John F. Kennedy.
The allegations stemmed from a report Trump read in the National Enquirer, which claimed that the elder Cruz was seen “palling around” with Oswald just months before Kennedy’s death. The Enquirer based their story largely on a photo allegedly showing the two men in a photo together. However, there’s no confirmation that it was actually Cruz in the picture and, even if there were, there’s no proof that two men were actually friends.
3. President Obama murdered Justice Scalia.
One of Trump’s favorite internet sources is Alex Jones, a known conspiracy theorist who has said that the Sandy Hook shooting is a hoax, that the U.S. government can weaponize weather, and that President Barack Obama probably murdered the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump fell for that last one hook, line, and sinker, saying that it was “pretty unusual” that Scalia’s body was found with “a pillow on his face.”
In actuality, Scalia was discovered with a pillow over his head― likely for comfort ― not on his face.
“The face was entirely clear,” said John Poindexter, who owns the Texas ranch where Scalia died.
4. The Clintons are also murderers.
One of the longest running conspiracies about his Democratic presidential rival Clinton is that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had one of their staffers killed. Vince Foster, a White House lawyer, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1993, but fabulists have speculated that the former president and first lady killed him because he knew too much. Multiple investigations have ruled his death a suicide but that didn’t stop Trump from claiming that the whole thing was “very fishy.” Foster “knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide,” Trump told The Washington Post.
5. ISIS is sending Syrian refugees to attack the U.S.
From calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” to suggesting Muslims be banned from the U.S., Trump has made xenophobia one of the central platforms of his campaign. Despite evidence that Syrian refugees are vetted more rigorously than any other immigrant, the Republican nominee still thinks they might be members of the Islamic State in disguise.
“Bad things will happen — a lot of bad things will happen” if the U.S. accepts more refugees, he said in May. “There will be attacks that you wouldn’t believe. There will be attacks by the people that are right now that are coming into our country, because, I have no doubt in my mind. I mean you look at it, they have cell phones. So they don’t have money, they don’t have anything, they have cell phones? Who pays their monthly charges, right? They have cell phones with the flags, the ISIS flags on them.”
This cell phone tidbit came from ― you guessed it― the internet! Popular in alt right circles, the story was first seen on a Norwegian news site. However, as New York Magazine points out, the original article actually featured a quote from a government official saying that there are plenty of non-criminal reasons that someone’s phone might contain photos of the ISIS flag.
It’s not surprising that Trump, who often threatens to sue journalists and has even suggested making libel laws stronger, would criticize the media. While he’s busy peddling debunked conspiracies, the “mainstream media” has continued to break story after story on Trump’s alleged sexual assaults, misused charitable foundation, and bogus university.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.