Monday, October 02, 2017


Right-wingers are already speculating about the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas last night, and their theorizing is heading off in familiar directions.

I'm sure you know about the shooting:
A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 200 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, was later killed during a standoff with police on the hotel’s 32nd floor, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. NBC and others reported that Paddock was 64.
The shooter, who's dead now, has been identified:
The suspected gunmen in the Las Vegas shooting has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock from Mesquite, Nevada, according to NBC News.
Here's a photo:

Police have been looking for a "person of interest":

On the right, there was initially speculation that the shooting was left-wing terrorism because Marilou Danley was once married to a man named Geary Danley, who was described on the right as an "ultra-liberal" and "ultra-leftist" because his social media describes him as a fan of Rachel Maddow and progressive causes. But that speculation has faded as news of the real gunman's identity has circulated.

Speculation about the shooter's connection to jihadism, far-fetched or otherwise, might not fade as quickly. Here's a Free Republic thread that was initially headlined:
Las Vegas gunman identified as American convert to Islam
The FR thread links to a story at the English-language site of an Israeli newspaper called Arutz Sheva -- and the story has no mention of the shooter's religion. But this tease for the story is still up at the paper's site:

Was this an honest mistake? Was it fake news?

I've found no evidence that Arutz Sheva regularly peddles fake news. However, there's a connection between Arutz Sheva and the Trump administration -- as the venerable American Jewish newspaper the Forward noted in December, Arutz Sheva is a far-right paper tied to the settler movement in Israel, and its principal U.S. fund-raiser is David Friedman, who's now Trump's ambassador to Israel. Friedman has also been a columnist for the paper, and one of his columns stirred controversy when Trump appointed him to the ambassadorship:
Donald Trump’s pick for Ambassador to Israel isn’t just a columnist for the far-right Israeli news site Arutz Sheva — he’s the president of its owner’s American fundraising arm.

The nomination of David Friedman, the bankruptcy attorney Trump plucked from relative obscurity last April, has drawn stiff opposition from liberal Jewish groups.

Opponents have paid particular attention to columns that Friedman wrote for Arutz Sheva. In a June column, Friedman wrote that supporters of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street are “far worse than kapos,” referring to the Jews who collaborated with the Nazis inside the concentration camps.

Yet Friedman’s deeper ties to the settler news site have drawn little notice.

Friedman is the president of a Queens-based charity called American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva, which sends just under $2 million each year to an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva in the Israeli settlement of Bet El. That yeshiva, now called Bet El Institutions, also runs Arutz Sheva.
Jared Kushner has donated to the Friends of Bet El Yeshiva.

Arutz Sheva has been known to flirt with fake news, as Ha'aretz noted in 2010:
The right-wing Arutz Sheva Hebrew-language website has launched a contest to mark the anniversary of the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin - promising to publish the "most interesting" theories contradicting the official version of the killing....

The "special project" includes an online form, on which entrants can set out their conspiracy theories in 9,000 characters or less.

"Ahead of the 15th anniversary [commemorations] of the murder," the pro-settlement site said, "we invite every single one of you who, in a hidden-away drawer, holds a theory that as far as he's concerned answers some, most, or all of the questions surrounding the Rabin assassination, to write it down, send it to us, and we'll publish the most interesting theories on one of the days close to the assassination anniversary, after stylistic editing by Arutz Sheva correspondent Shimon Cohen."

The breezy tone of the contest wording lies in stark contrast to the webpage, whose margins appear to be pierced by bullet holes.
This isn't the only reason right-wingers have been speculating that the Las Vegas shooting was jihadist terrorism. Marilou Danley's social media is full of what appear to be vacation snapshots -- you can see several at -- but it's noteworthy to the right that one of her trips was to ... Dubai. (“That’s a beautiful City except it’s hot. Will be back there next year to visit my niece,” she wrote.)

That's enough to generate comments like this at Breitbart:

And this at 4chan:

(I had to look up "snack barring." Urban Dictionary defines it as "A derogatory nickname for Islamic Extremists & ISIL members, originating from the term 'Allahu Ackbar,' which was then bastardized into 'Aloha Snackbar.'")

So that's what your right-wing neighbors have been up to all night.


UPDATE: Bonus fake news below.

More in this Twitter thread.



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