White House-credentialed media outlet falsely accuses ‘left-wing loon’ of Las Vegas shooting

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The Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump blog that has been credentialed by the White House, ran a story Monday morning touting a conspiracy theory and misidentifying the shooter that killed more than 50 people and injured more than 100 in Las Vegas early Monday.

The shooter has been identified as Stephen Paddock by Las Vegas police, but Gateway Pundit ran a story headlined “Las Vegas Shooter Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with Anti-Trump Army” that appears to be picked up from 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” forums.

Screenshot of now-deleted Gateway Pundit story

“Geary Danley, reportedly the murderer of at least 20 concertgoers in Las Vegas, from initial accounts, was a far left loon,” Joe Hoft wrote for Gateway Pundit. “Per a review of his Facebook account, he was a fan of Rachel Maddow, People’s Action, Democrats, MoveOn.org, etc…”

Posters on 4chan, and then Gateway Pundit, began to spread conspiracy theories about Danley after police identified a woman named Marilou Danley as the companion of the shooter. As of 9:00 a.m. Monday, Las Vegas police do not believe Marilou Danley was involved in the shooting.

The Gateway Pundit post, which has since been deleted (but has been saved in Google’s cache), cites Everipedia, a Breitbart-endorsed Wikipedia competitor, as well as “other reports.”

Screenshot of 4chan thread
Screenshot of 4chan thread

“Everipedia.com reports that Geary was another angry far-left shooter,” Hoft wrote. “According to other reports, Danley was married to Marilou Danley, an Asian-American from the Philippines.”

Screenshot of now-deleted Gateway Pundit post
Screenshot of now-deleted Gateway Pundit post

Gateway Pundit included a picture “believed to be the killer with an Asian looking woman but it is not confirmed that this is Marilous Danley.” 

At least six 4chan threads were pushing the fake story that Danley and his family were “dangerous leftists” early Monday morning, as Buzzfeed’s Ryan Broderick noted. As of 8:45 a.m., most of the threads have stopped pushing the Danley narrative, but the fake news made its way to Twitter, as well.

Google also put the Politically Incorrect 4chan thread in its top story unit Monday morning. The number one hit for “Geary Danley” was the /pol/ 4chan thread. By 8:45 a.m. Monday, Google no longer pulled the /pol/ thread as its top hit.

The second Google hit for Danley is an Everipedia page about Danley. Another top hit goes to a Heavy.com story identifying Marilou Danley as a “former ‘high-limit hostess’ at a casino” that focuses on her ethnicity.

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