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Episode 739: Finding The Fake-News King

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Episode 739: Finding The Fake-News King

Podcast

Episode 739: Finding The Fake-News King

Episode 739: Finding The Fake-News King

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504155809/504206834" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A few days before the election, an extraordinary story popped up in hundreds of thousands of people's Facebook feeds. This story was salacious. It was vivid, filled with intriguing details. There was a photo of a burning house, firemen rushing in. The headline read, "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide."

It was all fake. There was no FBI agent. There was no shooting. The site it was published on, The Denver Guardian, isn't a real news source. It was one of many fake stories that play into conspiracy theories about the Clintons and it worked.

There is one part of the article that was real: the ads. Someone was making money off this phony news article and dozens of others like it. Someone was making profit off a fake story that suggested a presidential candidate was a killer.

Today on the show, we take this single fake news story and follow the clues all the way back. We follow the digital breadcrumbs until we find ourselves on a suburban doorstep, face to face with the man behind a bogus news empire run. Then he tells us his secrets.

Check out Laura Sydell's original story for NPR.


Music: "Turn It Up - Turn It Out" and "Just Killing Time." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.