A Racist Fake News Hoax Starring The Super Sexy Miss World Pageant Winner
Welcome to Be Less Stupid, this is Part 3 of our 5-part series on Fake News. Today’s show is brought to you by this FUTURE President Trump Tweet referring to the holocaust:
“There were some fine people on both sides.”
MOST POPULAR: Today, we’re going to focus on one of the most popular fake news sites on the web: Conservative Daily Post. Which reminds me: I don’t care much either way about Confederate statues, but I’d love to see someone punch Larry the Cable Guy in the face.
Where was I? Oh yes. Although there are more than 250 fake news sites according to Politico, CDP has taken fake news and made it even fake-ee-er. Here’s how it works. Writers compose stories: some real news, some fictional, some a combination of the two, and some a wildly exaggerated version of the truth. In terms of accuracy, PolitiFact rates them: Pants on Fire. Meanwhile, the crying white supremacist who was kicked off OKCupid, gives them 4 Seig Heils.
After the stories are posted to the website, they’re shared to CDP’s Facebook page – which has ½ million followers, and to dozens of pro-Trump Facebook groups they also belong to. So, if you follow CDP’s Facebook page, or you belong to the same groups as them, their stories will be integrated into your own personal time line – juxtaposed with your friend’s updates, viral panda videos and any ads Facebook chooses to show you.
Now, almost none of the sites that post fake news list the site’s owner… HOWEVER— CDP’s owner was the subject of a recent lawsuit, so their identities were revealed. The company that owns CDP is: “SCMA HOLDINGS,” in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also use the name, GravitasWorks. The site was originally called “Conservative Daily Review,” but in early 2016, they changed it to Conservative Daily Post. I guess the first name was too complicated to understand for their readers.
“Review? I don’t want to review. That takes work.– Just chew up the news and post it right into my mouth.”
MISS WORLD: CDP’s most popular writer was a woman named Laura Hunter, who was also Ms. World in 2016. Ms. Hunter wrote thousands of pro-Trump, anti-immigration stories, supported the alt-right, lived in Tennessee, and was single. Think of her as Redneck Barbie. Only instead of “Dream Camper”, she drove a supped-up Ford F-150 with a hemi engine, oversized tires, and even her gun rack… had a gun rack.
Laura Hunter’s racist articles written for the CDP website were so popular, “SCMA Holdings” created an official Facebook page for her. That page had 750,000 followers. She was hugely popular among the alt-right. On the downside, Ted Nugent had her on speed dial.
There was just one problem. Laura Hunter lives in Seattle. Yes, she’s the former Ms. World 2016 beauty pageant winner, but she is NOT a racist, does not support Donald Trump, is NOT anti-Mexican nor is she a blogger. She’s an actress and professional photographer.
HOAX REVEALED: Ms. Hunter discovered the hoax about a year after it began. And when news of her law suit emerged, her reputation in her field was tarnished, she lost work and even worse, she got death threats from angry CDP followers who felt duped.SCMA Holdings stole Laura Hunter’s identity, traded on her great looks, and created a Facebook page that spread fake news to a million plus Trump voters.
Oh, and there’s more:
Next to her blog posts on the Conservative Daily Post website, SCMA Holdings ran ads for legitimate products and companies. So, given all the eyeballs and traffic, that made them a lot of money. A lot of Confederate money. PLUS: SCMA Holdings also ran ads for ANOTHER of their own companies. This one promised customers thorough background searches on individuals who might be a threat to their family due to past criminal behavior. Or, if they’ve recently been to Wall Mart and brought home a bunch of tiki-torches.
It’s ironic. On the one hand, through their People Search ads, “SCMA” promised readers 100% factual information about potentially dangerous criminals… by advertising right next to stories that were usually 100% lies.
The real Laura Hunter sued SCMA Holdings earlier this year… and in a conversation she and I had, told me that in late April 2017, she got a BIG settlement, an apology, and all the material she was said to have written was removed from the web.
The former Ms. World also told me that she’s going to use the money she was awarded… to bring about world peace.
Now, Stealing Laura Hunter’s identity wasn’t SCMA Holdings only foray into fictionalized news. The company posted ads on the job hiring board, Indeed. They were looking for news writers. The ads said they wanted writers of…
“Conservative Fan Fiction. Writers who can write “stories that are not real, but very well could be. You will write them in such a way they seem factually correct, but hard to verify.”
According to Laura Hunter, the real Laura Hunter, who I spoke to, SCMA Holdings made as much as 8 million dollars from their fake news website in 2016. I reached out to the CDP’s editor, Matthew Bernstein, who also runs the site, TeddyStick.com, another Bullshit conservative news outlet, and he said he was not interested in talking. I also called the # listed on their Facebook page to speak to the site’s owners, it goes directly to a voice mail.
Oh, and one last thing, the “SCMA” in their names is an anagram for “SCAM”
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