Watching a Rumor Solidify into a Lie…

Watching a Rumor Solidify into a Lie… March 13, 2017

and then become a “fact” for Trumpian consumer of fake news.

March 7: Liesite News publishes a piece titled “Italian archbishop: Pope Benedict retired due to ‘tremendous pressure’“. In it, a retired Italian archbishop trades in the baseless claim that, despite his flat denial to the contrary, Benedict was forced from office by pressure from nameless sinister sources. In this course of this tissue of baseless gossip, the “prolife” website now dedicated to exalting Trump and trashing the Holy Father writes this:

“It is no coincidence that in America, even on the basis of what has been published by Wikileaks, some Catholic groups have asked President Trump to open a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the administration of Barack Obama exerted pressure on Benedict,” he said. It remains shrouded in mystery for now, he said, “but I am sure that those responsible will be found out.”

“It is no coincidence” is the sort of thing crank conspiracy theorists say to introduce baseless claims and this is not exception. Parsing this paragraph clearly, all this boils down to is “I’ve heard a rumor that some guys in tinfoil hats have written their conspiracy theory about Obama pressuring Benedict out of office in crayon and sent it to Trump. I know absolutely nothing about what I’m talking about. But I’m blathering about ‘those responsible’ like this is a real thing and not kooks writing letters about conpsiracy theories.”

March 8: Breitbart picks up the story. And not just anybody at Breitbart, chronic liar and disgraced Legionary ex-priest Thomas Williams, who betrayed his vows to the Church and lied about the child he fathered, but who has remained a faithful right wing culture war and become a dutiful servant of Steve Bannon, agreeing with him that Pope Francis is a “communist“.

Breitbart repeats the Liesite rumor but now focuses the baseless claim, not on shadowy forces but on Obama with this headline: “Italian Archbishop Suggests Benedict XVI Resigned Under Obama ‘Pressure’“. Still not a scintilla of fact to the story, but now hardening into a “story” and promoted by a guy with a “Ph.D”.

March 9: Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Fan Page on FB pick up the story from Breitbart and renders it close enough to fact for the satisfaction of Trumpian consumers of Right Wing Noise Machine fake news by commenting:

World wide Catholics were shocked when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down. It just didn’t fit the dogma of the Catholic Church. The new Pope Francis came in and seemed rather radical which did not go unnoticed by Catholics world wide. It is a sad day to think Obama could interfere in the Catholic religion. Then again Obama interfered in everything else so why not? There was a time that I would have thought a story like this was a real stretch, not anymore…..

Meanwhile, here’s reality: Benedict himself with his customary clarity that “well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome“. The sole reason these liars insist otherwise is because they are looking for any excuse to discredit the election of Francis.

These lies will only multiply once Benedict has died. Because that is what these people do: lie. Don’t fall for this stuff.

Browse Our Archives