When the whole “fake news” meme spread during the election to try and explain Trump’s massive support, news outlets were hard pressed to produce actual examples of the propaganda they so vehemently claimed was influencing the election.
The Washington Post was instrumental in seeding the phrase when they published a story in April, 2016 about pro-Trump websites spreading misinformation, implying that misinformation was poisoning voters against Hillary Clinton.
Then in November, WaPo featured the exploits of fake-news hoaxer Paul Horner, “the 38-year-old impresario of a Facebook fake-news empire,” who – according to WaPo “made his living off viral news hoaxes for several years. He has twice convinced the Internet that he’s British graffiti artist Banksy; he also published the very viral, very fake news of a Yelp vs. “South Park” lawsuit last year.”
In 2011, Horner was arrested on multiple drug-related and money laundering charges after being caught with an estimated $15,000 in narcotics.
Horner also performed stand-up at “The Lost Leaf” club, occasionally dressed up as “Fappy the Anti-Masturbation Dolphin,” a satirical Christian character bent on educating children about the dangers of masturbation and benefits of GMOs.
In March of 2016, a fake-news story Horner published about paid protestors at Trump rallies was tweeted by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Eric Trump. While an undercover investigation by James O’Keefe of Project Veritas later revealed the existence of paid protestors – the article by Horner was a fabrication.
After the election, Horner claimed “I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me.”
And now, he’s dead
10 months after being spotlighted by WaPo as the shining example of fake news that swung the election, Paul Horner is dead.
A leading purveyor of fake news in the 2016 presidential election has died outside Phoenix at the age of 38.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Casey said Tuesday authorities discovered Paul Horner dead in his bed on Sept. 18.
Casey said the Maricopa County medical examiner performed an autopsy which showed there were no signs of foul play. He said Horner had a history of prescription drug abuse and that “evidence at the scene suggested this could be an accidental overdose.”
The Horner family is still waiting on toxicology reports, and the case will remain open until the cause of death is finalized.
A tragic end for a man who certainly wasn’t paid to produce fake news to fit a narrative and then suicided. Pour one out for Fappy. /s