A clickbaiting recipe for political propaganda

“Damning Hillary Clinton Footage Leaks – The Truth is Out” may indicate another right wing fake news story that is set out to viralize quickly and be used as political propaganda. And this is partly true, especially when the post is published by TruthMonitor.com an obviously right-wing propaganda website that is known to spread fake news.

The article trashes Hillary Trump and her supporters in the context of Donald Trump firing FBI Director Comey, while explaining the previous firing of state attorney Preet Bharara by using the precedent of Bill Clinton firing all of Bush’s state attorneys back in 1993.

But looking closely into the details, this post is not quite what is seems. After counting more than 10,000 likes on Facebook since it was published one day ago, we decided to analyze the story using TrustServista.

This is what we found

By using the Analyze any URL feature from TrustServista we obtained a high TrustLevel of 75%:

  • The article has an author: Adam Lott. However we did not find any contact details or a public/social media profile for his name that has links to TruthMonitor.com
  • The title is classic clickbait: uses excessive punctuation marks and has a bi-polar sentiment (both negative and positive)
  • The body if the article has context, but the polarity is mainly negative, another red flag specific to clickbaiting.

The surprise comes from the fact that the article has Patient Zero that is a Twitter status from CNN from 2 months ago:

This Tweet is related to the current article as State Attorney Preet Bharara was fired by Donal Trump in March, which has been seen as a precedent to the firing of CIA Director James Comey. Another reference in the article is to a Twitter status from author Dinesh D’Souza who posted a copy of an 1993 order from the US General Attorney to fire state attorney Jeff Sessions upon an order from president Bill Clinton.

Even though both references are valid and contain factual information the association with Hillary Clinton is false. Although referenced in the title (“Damning Hillary Clinton Footage Leaks”), she has no direct connection neither with the article story or the references and in fact Hillary is only mentioned once in the article’s body: “Hillary Clinton and her supporters slammed Trump for doing this […]”. 


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