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Hoax Alert

Fake News: NO Unnamed Source Said Jussie Smollett Phone Records Showed Over 200 Calls And Texts From Kamala Harris and DNC operatives

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sat, 30 Mar 2019 15:13:24 Z)

Did an "unnamed source" say Jussie Smollett's phone records showed over 200 calls and texts from Kamala Harris and DNC operatives? No, that's not true: the source of this rumor appears to be a Reddit post by someone speculatively making a joke about a possible coverup but without any evidence to back up that assertion.

The story seems to have originated from a Reddit thread published by Reddit user u/ShareThisMeme in Reddit's r/The_Donald subforum for Trump supporters on March 27, 2019 with a title that read:

REPORT: An unnamed source familiar with Kim Foxx' thinking told me the reason she dropped charges against Smullett was because his phone records showed over 200 calls and texts from Kamala Harris and DNC operatives. Prove me wrong.

(archived here).

Screenshot of https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/b63mrm/report_an_unnamed_source_familiar_with_kim_foxx/

Right there in the headline there are two hints the story is not to be taken seriously:

  • It misspells Smollett's name as "Smullett".
  • It contains the phrase "An unnamed source familiar with .... thinking".

That phrase was widely mocked on r/The_Donald after CNN used it in reporting about James Comey in May 2017:

First on CNN: Comey now believes Trump was trying to influence him, source says

Former FBI Director James Comey now believes that President Donald Trump was trying to influence his judgment about the Russia probe, a person familiar with his thinking says, but whether that influence amounts to obstruction of justice remains an open question.

The phrase quickly became an in-joke indicating something was pulled out of thin air or came from unreliable sources making up wild conspiracy theories:

r/The_Donald - BREAKING: A source familiar with Comey's thinking confirms he is in fact a retard.

r/The_Donald: The_Donald is a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

r/The_Donald - In other news, sources familiar with the thinking of Kavanaugh's middle school classmates confirm that he once forgot to say his prayers before bed in 1977, and when questioned about it "didn't care." The White House has not immediately responded for comment.

r/The_Donald: The_Donald is a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

r/The_Donald - "...According to sources familiar with his thinking..."

r/The_Donald: The_Donald is a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

r/The_Donald - Eat shit Thernobitch. With your "sources familiar with the thinking" fake news bull crap. Take a hike you Schmuck.

r/The_Donald: The_Donald is a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

r/The_Donald - Anonymous Sources confirm that CNN is responsible for 9/11 Attacks

r/The_Donald: The_Donald is a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

The original author of the thread also admitted as much in a comment below the post:

shitpost.jpg

Note that the photo used with the story is in fact real, it can be found on the website of Alamy, a stock photo service, where it is described as:

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Jussie Smollett, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, at the 2018 Kingdom Day Parade in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Baldwin Hills in Los Angeles, California on January 15, 2018. Credit: Faye Sadou/Media Punch/Alamy Live News

But that does not prove (or disprove) anything about text messages or calls, all of that remains speculation.

That didn't stop at least one website from directly copying the Reddit post and using it as a headline over an article (archived here):

Report: An unnamed source close to Kim Foxx says the reason she dropped charges against Smollett was because his phone records showed over 200 calls and texts from Kamala Harris and DNC operatives.

Jussie Smollett may have had all the criminal allegations against him for a supposed racial and homophobic assault dropped today, yet that doesn't mean he's blameless says the state lawyer taking care of the prominent case.

Ecomputerzone.com is not exactly a reliable website either. It has been known to copy satirical stories and present them as news, here are two recent cases with the corresponding Lead Stories articles explaining why the stories are not true:

Judge Jeannine Pirro Takes a Job Consulting for the White House

Judge Jeannine Pirro might be down from her terminating at Fox News, yet she's unquestionably not out. As per White House sources that might possibly be solid, Pirro has just begun counseling for the President's legitimate group. Protected driving force, Rudy Giuliani, told a source: "Judge Pirro is a capable legitimate personality.

Fake News: Judge Jeanine Pirro Did NOT Take a Job Consulting for the White House | Lead Stories

Did Judge Jeanine Pirro takea job consulting for the White House? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a clearly labeled satire website but got copied by several websites anyway and sold as real news.

Nancy Pelosi Escorted Out of White House After Showing Up 'Too Drunk to Speak'

Sources inside the White House in a situation to neither affirm nor deny most reports have affirmed the most recent about Nancy Pelosi's tipsy journey only minutes prior. Lawrence Darrel and his sibling, Darryl, both senior associates to Lead Speech Writer Sandy Batt, state they saw Pelosi escorted out by Secret Service subsequent to showing up "so flushed she could barely speak."

Fake News: Nancy Pelosi NOT Escorted Out of White House, Did NOT Show Up 'Too Drunk to Speak' | Lead Stories

Was Nancy Pelosi escorted out of the White House after showing up too drunk to speak? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to educate gullible Trump supporters and Republicans about the need to actually click and read links before sharing or liking them in order to avoid being embarrassed by fans of the site later.

The site appears to have been registered in Pakistan by someone named "Salman" according to WHOIS registration data:

Name:salman
Street:islamabad
City:islamabad
State:Islamabad
Postal Code:46000
Country:PK
Phone:+92.3145212817
Email:[email protected]

We don't know how good Mr. Salman's sources are inside the Smollett investigation but we wouldn't put too much stock in them given his history of publishing nonsense...

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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