Sean Spicer's Very Bad Comments About Hitler Were A Gift To Fake News Sites

The White House press secretary said Hitler didn't use chemical weapons, and fake news publishers sprang into action.

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At Tuesday's White House briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer made a very bad comparison between Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler:

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

He then dug himself in deeper by later referring to "Holocaust centers" when acknowledging that, yes, Hitler actually did gas millions of people.

Spicer's gaffes opened the floodgates for fake news publishers, who immediately pumped out hoaxes about the press secretary. The first was a fake apology that appeared on a now-deleted Facebook page purporting to belong to Spicer:

@HolzmanTweed / Twitter / Via Twitter: @HolzmanTweed

Lots of people shared the quote on Twitter claiming that it was real. Spicer did issue a written apology (and a subsequent clarification of the initial apology) but the text is different from the one above.

The fake Spicer Facebook page appears to be operated by the same people behind BrietbartInsider.com, a site unaffiliated with the real Breitbart that publishes fake stories and recently fooled people with this hoax. Brietbart Insider appears to exist in order to mock Breitbart's ideological slant and reporting. Prior to the fake Spicer Facebook page being taken down, it was filled with posts linking to Brietbart Insider's content, suggesting it was being used by them to promote their content.

Longtime fake news site Newslo also published fake quotes from Spicer. Its story included Spicer's real comments and then added a bunch of over-the-top fabrications, such as the one in the headline:

Newslo

Newslo describes itself as a "hybrid news/satire site" because its articles contain both real and fake information.

The Newslo Facebook page has over 220,000 fans. Its post with the Spicer story has over 200 shares as of now, and almost all of the comments are from people who think it's real.

Facebook / Via Facebook: Newslo1

Another site that publishes fake news also jumped on the Spicer bandwagon. USPoln takes a similar approach to Newslo in that its stories often mix real and fake quotes. It recently published a hoax claiming that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said, "It’s better for our budget if cancer patients die more quickly.”

But just to make things even more confusing, USPoln also sometimes publishes completely real news stories. That's what it did this time, running a story with Spicer's real comments and no fabrications.

USPoln

Sometimes, it seems, even fake news sites realize the truth is crazy enough on its own.

Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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