Bogus Reports of Trump-Fueled Violence Go Viral
As if the 2016 climate couldn’t get any more divisive, false or questionable reports of violence linked to Donald Trump’s victory have gained steady traction on social media since last week – complicating efforts to distinguish fact from fiction amid very real political unrest.
In one case, a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette claimed that two white men – one wearing a Trump hat – jumped out of a sedan, attacked her, and stole her hijab and her wallet. The unnamed woman also said the men knocked her to the ground and screamed racial slurs at her.
News of the attack quickly spread on social media, and soon some national media outlets including CNN began reporting it. The attack also was quickly condemned by the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The ACLU of Louisiana is outraged at the news of a young Muslim woman being assaulted and robbed of her hijab in Lafayette yesterday morning,” the organization said in a written statement. “The report that her attackers also shouted slurs and wore Donald Trump clothing is especially troubling in light of Mr. Trump’s frequent use of anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail.”
The problem is: the incident was fabricated.
“There were a lot of things that didn’t make sense,” Lafayette police spokesman Karl Ratcliff told The Acadiana Advocate. Ratcliff said the student ultimately confessed to making up the entire story after police pressed her for details.