Max Boot the victim of a fake headline apparently concocted by QAnon, the rightwing conspiracy pro-Trump trollHistorians in the News
tags: Syria, Max Boot, Trump, Fake News, QAnon
Max Boot, a Post columnist, is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a global affairs analyst for CNN. He is the author of “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."
... A little googling showed that my intuition was right: I hadn’t written it. My actual April 19 column had been headlined: “Trump thinks we can replace U.S. forces in Syria with Arab troops. He’s wrong.” In other words, I was supporting the U.S. troop presence, not opposing it. I had written a column on Dec. 7 with the headline “Trump can’t do anything right — even his coverups are incompetent.”
Someone had taken the first part of that headline and then Photoshopped some other words about Syria after what was now a hyphen rather than a dash. A capitalized phrase after a hyphen? No Post copy editor would ever have allowed that headline in the newspaper. But that detail escaped the legions of Trump fans online who instantly pounced on what they perceived as treachery from a Trump critic.
… Gene Zabin emailed me: “You say one thing then you say another! Another full of shi### liberal!.” “D” wrote: “So in April you trash the president for sending troops to Syria and now you trash him for pulling them out. Then you wonder why the media is the enemy of this country. Scum like you.” “Islanddweller” wrote: “You Are a Typical Libtard. You liberal retards hate anything good.” And on and on. I’m quoting my emails, but Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were fully of equally venomous comments.
And it wasn’t just anonymous Twitter trolls spreading this forgery. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) posted it on his Facebook page. Roger Kimball, editor of the New Criterion, repeated it in the British magazine the Spectator. When I called out Kimball on Twitter, the magazine stealthily removed the entire paragraphabout the forgery but kept in an attack on me — without noting the error or apologizing for it. After I noted what had happened, Kimball finally apologized.
Some ordinary Twitter users were, I was glad to see, more honorable: They immediately admitted they had been fooled and apologized. Thank you, @CarlHigbie! Others were unrepentant. When I pointed out to my emailer “D” that the meme was a forgery, he replied, “Let me guess the Russians forged it. It’s funny how non [sic] of you trump haters ever admit when you are caught in your one [sic] bull crap.”
So where did this crazy forgery originate? Apparently in the same place as so many Trump conspiracy theories these days: With an anonymous pro-Trump troll named “Q,” who claims to be a high-level government official sharing details of a vast plot — “QAnon” — that grows more demented by the day. Q posits that President Trump is fighting a worldwide ring of pedophiles whose ranks include most of his political enemies. Naturally, when his falsehoods are called out, his faithful followers are ready to explain them away. Thus @mikebaldwin2 tweeted: “Everyone is getting Q post 2639 wrong. The picture is a meme. Max Boot April 19th article caption is fake. Q’s point is that Anon’s can post fakes as well if we want to.” ...