One of the most despicable and original purveyors of fake news on Facebook is Mike Adams, who owns the junk conspiracy and pseudoscience website Natural News. Thanks to Facebook’s recent algorithm updates, Natural News’s engagement has been decreasing, but the crackpot website got a boost from none other than musician and right-wing gun fetishist Ted Nugent, who shared an article on his official Facebook page which claimed that survivors of the mass shooting at a Florida high school are “crisis actors.”
The crisis actor conspiracy theory has been applied to numerous world events and tragedies. The general theory goes as follows: conspirators deploy actors to tragic events such as terror attacks and mass shootings so they can make the victim count look more severe than it actually is. The NN article shared by Nugent claims that “these kids were coached to repeat scripted lines, just like actors reading lines for a movie production.” According to conspiracy theorists, the Florida school shooting is just another staged event, like Sandy Hook, with the agenda of turning public opinion in favor of gun control.
As of this writing, the article on Nugent’s page has been liked and shared almost 50,000 times, dwarfing the engagement of other posts on his timeline.
Driving home Nugent’s endorsement of the theory, he ‘liked’ a comment that appeared in the thread beneath the article, which claimed that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg is actually “26 years old.” (Hogg has given numerous TV interviews speaking about his support for gun control in the wake of the shooting.)
Other commenters shared similar sentiments:
The examples go on and on.
As Media Matters points out, this isn’t the first time Nugent has dabbled in promoting conspiracy theories that seek to undermine the tragedy of dead men, women, and children. After the massacre of elementary school children at Sandy Hook, Nugent claimed that there were no assault rifles used in the attack, despite confirmed reports that the gunman Adam Lanza used an AR-15. After the October mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nugent appeared with Alex Jones and claimed the massacre was “scripted by deep state democrats.”
If it isn’t crisis actors, it’s the Jews. In February of 2016, Nugent was called upon to resign from his position on the NRA board when he made a social media post that depicted prominent American Jews as the men and women “really behind gun control.” Anti-semitic and neo-Nazi groups ate it up.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Flickr)