Trump shares joke story on Biden, Twitter in earnest

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WASHINGTON, Oct 16, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – US President Donald Trump
shared a satirical article Friday about Twitter shutting down to slow
the spread of negative news on his election rival Joe Biden,
apparently unaware that it was a joke.

Trump, who often rails against “fake news” while retweeting
misinformation to his 87 million followers, tweeted a link to the tall
tale headlined: “Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of
Negative Biden News.”

“Wow, this has never been done in history,” Trump tweeted —
correctly, as it turns out, because Twitter had done no such thing.

“This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter
doing this.”

The story Trump shared was from the Babylon Bee, a satirical news
site with the motto “Fake news you can trust” clearly visible on its
Twitter page.

Trump’s tweet came after he rebuked Facebook and Twitter on
Wednesday for blocking links to a New York Post article purporting to
expose corrupt dealings by Biden and his son in Ukraine.

The social media giants said they had stopped linking to the
article because the provenance of the information was questionable.

Trump has tweeted articles from the Babylon Bee in the past and the
site told The New York Times earlier in October that it was “assured”
Trump knew it was satire.

The website’s chief executive officer Seth Dillon offered his own
lighthearted take soon after attracting Trump’s attention, proudly
declaring: “The Babylon Bee is the president’s most trusted news
source.”

Trump’s propensity for sharing wild, unfounded accusations has not
been diminished by his political career, which was forged in the
cauldron of the racist “birtherism” conspiracy theory alleging that
his predecessor Barack Obama was not born in the US.

Only this week, he shared a bizarre claim originating from the
emergent QAnon movement that Biden was involved in a conspiracy to
fake the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

At a televised town hall event in Miami on Thursday, Trump defended
his retweets, saying “people can decide for themselves” if the
outlandish theories he shares have any merit.

“I don’t get that,” NBC interviewer Savannah Guthrie retorted.
“You’re the president, you’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can
just retweet whatever.”