Conspiracy Theories

Wikileaks pushes fraudulent Hillary ‘earpiece’ conspiracy and gets embarrassed by a Twitter user

This past September 7, numerous right wing/anti-Hillary conspiracy outlets shared a photo purporting to show Hillary Clinton wearing a ‘hidden’ earpiece during her appearance at NBC’s Commander-in-Chief forum.

As Snopes pointed out, the most “prevalent accusation” circulating the web “was that Clinton was wearing an earpiece so her campaign team could furtively feed her answers to moderator Matt Lauer’s questions.”

The photo (see below) seemed to show something placed in Clinton’s left ear. But after other photos from the event were released, it became clear that the perceived object in the initial photo was simply a light reflection.

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Via Snopes

From Snopes:

Photographer Brendan Smialowski’s image has been cropped to show only Clinton’s face (and then blown up back to size), revealing what looks like a small light inside Clinton’s ear. However, this “object” can’t be seen in other photographs of the candidate from the same event…

Screenshots from footage of the forum captured by Snopes show that there was nothing in Clinton’s ear, other than the earrings she was wearing.

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Via Snopes

It’s bad enough that junk websites disseminate falsehoods to their large followings, but when organizations that most people agree are reputable start to dabble in the same out-of-context conspiracy mongering, it makes the spread of false information even more impervious to facts.

This is where the official Twitter account for Wikileaks comes in.

On Tuesday, Wikileaks posted a screenshot from an alleged hacked email where Clinton staffer Huma Abedin asks Clinton, “Did u take your earpiece or do I need to get it?”

The email is dated from September of 2009 and is provided with zero context, but it suggests that showing up to political forums with a secret earpiece is a habit with Clinton (below a screen shot in case Wikileaks comes to their senses and deletes the tweet):

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Via Wikileaks (Twitter)

Twitter user Parker Molloy, who is a writer at Upworthy, pointed out that the whistleblower bohemoth’s post was textbook conspiracy theorist logic.

In a sharp and powerful tweetstorm, Molloy dismantled Wikileaks’ post piece by piece, starting out by theorizing that Wikileaks’ inclusion of Abedin in their post was an effort to pander to those who’ve suggested that she has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood:

But the most embarrassing revelation from Molloy was the fact the date of the email coincided with Clinton’s attendance at a U.N. hearing, where earpieces are required to hear language translations:

Since she dared to challenge Wikileaks, conspiracy trolls are now targeting her:

With the argument of whether Wikileaks is a force for good aside (their whistleblowing on the Iraq war was invaluable), the organization has taken a curious anti-Hillary stance since the outset of the election, leaving many to wonder if the site’s founder Julian Assange is acting out a personal vendetta against the Democratic candidate.

Scrutiny, even exposing the secrets of politicians, is a welcome endeavor. But if an outlet has to resort to fraudulent stories to smear a candidate, it’s a good sign that the facts aren’t damning enough to get the job done.

[Daily Kos/Parker Molloy] Featured image: YouTube

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