No, Eric Holder Didn't Pay Gangs to "Start Riots" in Ferguson

Proving once again that common sense is no match for confirmation bias, this weekend an article titled "Ferguson Gang Leader Admits 'Eric Holder Paid Us To Start Riots'" began racing through social media, racking up over 50,000 Facebook shares by Monday morning.

According to the story, Missouri's 22nd Circuit Court is handling claims that the Attorney General paid gang members "to loot and spread civil unrest" in Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown, evidence of which presiding Judge Rineheart reportedly described as "incredibly convincing."

The article, which first appeared on National Report Saturday, began spreading through right-wing blogs like 2127 News and Viral Survival ("The #1 Newsource for Preppers and Survivalists") shortly afterward, resulting in hundreds of outraged responses ranging from "This is White House genocide" to "SHOCKER!!! (NOT!)."

The story, of course, is completely false. "There is no Judge Rineheart (or any similar name) on the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri," a court spokesperson told Gawker. In reality, the article is merely the latest news hoax from "satire" site National Report, infamous for running stories like "Obama to Visit Mosque, Host Muslim Leaders on July 4th" and "Illegal Immigrants Forcibly Occupy Small Texas Town"

By Sunday, at least one conservative blog had retracted their post about the imaginary case, stating, "Even though we always vet stories, unfortunately we are human and accidents occur."

[Image via AP]


Antiviral is a new blog devoted to debunking fake news, online hoaxes and viral garbage. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and send your tips to hudson.hongo@gawker.com.