Donald Trump loves the right-wing, white supremacist “news” publication Breitbart so much that he snagged their former executive chair, white supremacist Steve Bannon, to serve as his chief strategist in the White House. But Bannon’s propaganda rag recently demonstrated some behavior that most of us find cringeworthy (while Trump and friends are surely cheering) when they decided a story about a small fireworks fire needed a bit of spice.
According to Breitbart in a story headlined “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve,” a crowd of “at least 1,000 young” Muslim “men” began throwing fireworks into a crowd of families with children before setting fire to a church. When police asked them to stop, the “mob” began to throw fireworks at cops instead. So sayeth Breitbart. Writer Virginia Hale adds:
Also reported by the Ruhr Nachrichten was that “a group of Syrians sang in celebration of the ceasefire in Syria.” However, a video posted to Twitter by one of the newspaper’s reporters, paired with the caption “Syrians celebrate the truce in their country,” shows a group of men chanting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ around the flag of al-Qaeda and Islamic State collaborators, the ‘Free Syrian Army.’
Unsurprisingly, the video she posted did not show an ISIS flag in the least, nor did it show anyone throwing fireworks at anyone:
— Peter Bandermann (@RN_Bandermann) December 31, 2016
Police confirm, however, that nothing “extraordinary or spectacular” had actually occurred — and they want the right-wing lie-rag to knock it the f*ck off.
Ruhr Nachrichten, the local newspaper cited in the Breitbart report, says that numerous elements of the story had been twisted by Breitbart to produce what they call in no uncertain terms “fake news, hate and propaganda.” They explain that Wolf took numerous unconnected incidents, exaggerated them, and threw them together with the sole purpose of creating a false image of Muslims as terrorists.
This Breitbart story has even prompted the justice minister of the Hesse state, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, to warn that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own.”
In reality, stray fireworks started a small fire on netting covering the scaffolding on the church. The fire was extinguished in 12 minutes, the roof was never on fire, and — contrary to Breitbart’s report’s claim — the church isn’t even the oldest in Germany. In reality, police say they handled 185 missions that night — a sharp drop from the 421 they responded to in 2015. In fact, leadership says that the night was “rather average to quiet.”
The story is still online without a single correction, apology, note, or alteration — because the truth is that Breitbart’s readers simply don’t care about the truth.
Featured image via screengrab