Really, really, I do. I try not to get caught up in wishful thinking, which often leads to disappointment when I discover that the thing I really want to be true turns out to be propaganda designed to tie up the Internet and my brain space.
Sometimes, when I’m tired or in pain, or distracted by pretty lights, I make a mistake and someone else who’s paying better attention at the moment catches the error and calls me out.
Thank god. I try not to be That Person as much as I can, but I’m not perfect and I’m an oracle of one, so sometimes I miss the clues.
Yesterday, at 1:27pm, I retweeted the following:
You can see why I posted the Tweet. After all, wouldn’t it be sweet karma for Haiti to find a way to take Trump down in a criminal link to ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier? I know I’d love to see it.
A friend asked about the source, because she couldn’t find one from anywhere reputable. She asked this morning, just as I was waking up, and before I could haul out my computer to check into it, so I went and did what I should have done in the first place. I searched for a source.
Found the first one after a bit:
BuzzFeed.com: Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers
Cool. Found one paragraph reference to…um…something that relates to what seems to be the point of the Tweet, but still not a point of origin.
All the way down, near the bottom of the article, there was this. Note the paragraph ABOVE the paragraph and what it says:
At least two Trump Tower condos have been linked to money laundering, although there is no evidence that Trump or the Trump Organization was involved.
The Haitian government claimed in the 1980s that ousted dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier laundered stolen treasury funds when he bought Trump Tower apartment 54-K for $446,875 in August 1983. Duvalier used a Panama shell company called Lasa Trade and Finance to buy the apartment in cash. Trump signed the deed of sale.
See those words “no evidence” in the previous paragraph?
Still not quite convinced, still holding on to the illusion, I said, “I would back a serious effort to get the IRS to release his tax data for the last 30 years. I really would.”
And then, I moved on, and found this:
In 1983, Donald Trump sold an apartment to former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier for $446,875
Um…so…what is HouganSidney.com anyway? What else is on the site? Not much at all, as it happens. No link back to anything but the BuzzFeed article above, and links to Twitter and FB accounts. It’s a blog, from a source of one. Very much like this blog, but without any sort of references or backup.
Circular storytelling is a dead giveaway that this is fake, or at the very least unverified.
It’s also a cautionary tale: If the story sounds too good to be true, the likelihood is that it IS too good to be true, especially if there are no credible news outlets covering the story, and this story’s big enough to get some coverage.
Which leads me to post this:
Is It Propaganda Or Not?
“The List” is useful for verifying if the source is reputable, and if the source you seek isn’t there, you can check out the Related Projects list for links to similar sites, to check whether they list the source you’re using.
The Tweet is fake. The poster is likely a bot (based on the Botometer). And now I’m down by a Twitter Follower who’s proven to be a false source of news.
I’m also a little wiser and I’ve had a recent reminder to check sources before Retweeting junk.
Sorry about that. Now that I know, I’m deleting the post. I already removed the Retweet because it’s obviously fake.
[ETA: 1/17/2018, 10:09 AM]
Sometime between posting this and now, Snopes authenticated the sale of the condo and confirmed the bit I saw in BuzzFeed regarding criminal complicity. That’s how propaganda works: A shred of truth and an unhealthy dose of fantasy that combines to make a fake news story.
Snopes.com: Donald Trump Sold an Apartment to a Brutal Haitian Dictator?