In 2017, as corrosive disinformation was impossible to avoid on social media, fresh claims about philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros was arrested for “hate crimes against the United States” appeared and soon mutated and spread:
The story, which originally appeared at TheLastLineOfDefense.org with the headline “BREAKING: George Soros Arrested and Charged with Hate Crimes Against America,” begins:
The man behind the money that funds all of the liberal trolls on the internet and all of the paid protesters currently trying to burn down the American way of life has been arrested on charges of hate crimes against the people of the United States. George Soros, billionaire snowflake and the cause of every problem in America was taken into custody on a warrant signed by the president himself, Donald Trump.
Soros will face a military tribunal on charges that he willfully compromised the safety of US citizens by paying violent thugs to riot in the streets after Trump was elected. He will also face charges of conspiracy and cyber terrorism for his role as the mastermind behind internet trolls who have wreaked havoc on right-wing social media groups and pages for more than five years.
The article credits a statement released by the (nonexistent) White House Office of Information and Propaganda that purportedly states:
Soros is a traitor to the American people. His crimes are inexcusable acts of terrorism. He will be held in accordance with federal law as an enemy combatant of the people.”
The now-defunct TheLastLineOfDefense.org blog described itself at the top of its “about” page as follows:
We are a group of educated, God-fearing Christian conservative patriots who are tired of Obama’s tyrannical reign and ready to see a strong Republican take the White House. We are sovereign citizens who want our government to keep its nose out of our business. We believe in guns, God and the Constitution and will go to any lengths to take OUR country back from the whiny, politically correct liberal masses.
Join us today and help us in our mission to be THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE against anyone who doesn’t love The United States of America and fight for the rights afforded to us by our beloved Founding Fathers.
However, readers who kept scrolling on the same page would find the following a bit farther down:
DISCLAIMER: America’s Last Line of Defense is a satirical publication that uses the imagination of liberals to expose the extreme bigotry and hate and subsequent blind gullibility that festers in right-wing nutjobs. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist. Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality.
In other words, if you believe this crap you’re a real dumbass.
Once again, a “satirical” article about George Soros being arrested and charged with hate crimes against American was mistaken by some for a factual news story, particularly after it was copied and pasted from its original source and disseminated without a disclaimer, taking the story from simple satire to pure disinformation.
Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who migrated to the United States and became a billionaire and a well-known philanthropist, has become a favorite topic and punching bag for those pushing antisemitic conspiracy theories for personal or political gain.