GERMANY: Media And Politicians Denounce Breitbart For Story Promoting “Fake News, Hate, And Propaganda”

The Guardian reports:

German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.

After the report by the US site was widely shared on social media, the city’s police clarified that no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents had marred the festivities. The local newspaper, Ruhr Nachrichten, said elements of its online reporting on New Year’s Eve had been distorted by Breitbart to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda”.

Tens of thousands clicked and shared the story with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”. It said the men had “chanted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), launched fireworks at police and set fire to a historic church”, while also massing “around the flag of al-Qaida and Islamic State collaborators the Free Syrian Army.”

The local newspaper said Breitbart had combined and exaggerated unconnected incidents to create a picture of chaos and of foreigners promoting terrorism. Stray fireworks did start a small blaze, but only on netting covering scaffolding on the church and it was put out after about 12 minutes, the paper reported. The roof was not on fire and the church is not Germany’s oldest.

At this writing the story remains on Breitbart with no corrections.blie

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Straight out of the Nazi playbook: tell a lie, a big lie, repeat it often and it will be believed.

    Sadly, far too many people will believe it because it gives their petty insecurities validation. Truly, we live in frightening times.

    • Michael White

      and as a result the assholes have all three branches of the government

      • Ninja0980

        Yup, no lie is too great for their side to tell and be believed.
        Until our side figures that out, we aren’t going to win.

        • The Return of Traxley

          Our side has a lot to figure out. Unfortunately, they’re too busy doing nothing.

          • Evajhart

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    • GayOldLady
    • Tor

      Thanks to the dumbing down of America’s educational system. We are now a nation of idiots.
      Thanks, Reagan!

      • Cattleya1

        They were doing this before Raygun. That ole time religion has been quite effective in training them not to ask inconvenient questions. Critical thinking is a lost concept for a large portion of the US population.

      • Kate

        You can thank both parties for that. As Bill Ivey sent to Podesta,

        “I’m certain the poll-directed insiders are sure things will default to policy as soon as the conventions are over, but I think not. And as I’ve mentioned, we’ve all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands some serious, serious thinking – and not just poll driven,
        demographically-inspired messaging.”

        That was why Trump scared them so much – their divide and conquer, identity politics tactics doesn’t work against a celebrity. They (and the Republicans) worked to dumb down the citizens, then they wonder why the election wasn’t about policies so much as personality.

        Trump was light on policy details, because the people didn’t care. Thinking is hard, so they vote for who they like. It’s horrible.

        • juanjo54

          Nice comment dear. You forgot to note the part where Bill Ivey is quoting from the report by certain Republican strategists, you know the part you write in emphasis which in the original document is a quote from a report written by Republicans.

    • Kate

      “Straight out of the Nazi playbook: tell a lie, a big lie, repeat it often and it will be believed.”

      Like this one, from the left?

      Like most of the “hate crimes” supposedly from Trump supporters, it was people looking to make Trump supporters look bad.

      The church was burned by a black man who attends the church.

      Fake news.

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        Oh look, Kate’s back with her false equivalences. Do some on the left do stupid and violent things, yes…do they do it at the frequency and level of violence as those on the right? not even close. But by all means, keep grasping at those dubious straws dear.

        • Kate

          “do they do it at the frequency and level of violence as those on the right? not even close. ”

          Indeed. There is far, far more violence from the left than the right.

          • juanjo54

            Sure Kate, do me a favor and look up a few terms. First is tu quoque and the second is false equivalence. Finally dear, look up “burden of proof”. Now sweetums, when you have some thing other than logical fallacies to offer to support your drivel, do come back and provide us with some actual verifiable facts to support your opinions.

          • Jean-Marc in Canada
          • Strepsi

            Nonsense and garbage… Any links or evidence?

  • KnownDonorDad

    The alt-white and the Russians will do their best to influence elections in France and Germany. Guaran-effin-tee it.

    • Frostbite

      Oh hell, not just the Russians. “Elections” worldwide will now simply be a game of who’s got the best hackers & controls the most media. Puppets everywhere.

      • KnownDonorDad


        • Frostbite

          That’s pretty much it. Every election from here on out is going to be plagued with outside interests. We don’t have to worry about where the voting machines are rigged when the whole game is.

          • Cho Q. Out

            So what was “outside” about what was shown in the DNC emails and Podesta emails? How they railroaded Bernie? The racist, bigotted, misogynistic statements? Oh I know, it was the DNC feeding the debate questions to Hillary. Or was it the part that showed the media submitting their articles to the hillary campaign for review before the articles were published. No? So the issue isn’t WHAT was shown and how corrupt the DemcRats are, but WHO it was exposed by. “AT THIS POINT WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?”
            -HILLARY R. CLINTON

    • ChrisMorley

      Also in 2017, general elections in Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway.

      • KnownDonorDad

        Will internet trolls accomplish what Hitler could not? Stay tuned.

    • Where are the truthful media outlets? These are dangerous Islamophobic lies. Here in Canada a Syrian refugee family landed in Nova Scotia with just the clothes on their back. One year later, they have a small chocolate factory employing ten Canadians. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke to the U.N about these refugees who have contributed to their host nation. Surely, countries must enact laws – not to limit freedom of the press, but to shut down the lying outlets.

      • Kate

        “Where are the truthful media outlets?”

        There aren’t many. Running a media organization takes money, and advertisers aren’t interested in journalistic integrity. People aren’t willing to pay for their media for the most part, so the big guys are largely bought and the small guys are largely meaningless.

        • juanjo54

          As I said Kate – look up “burden of
          proof”. Now sweetums, when you have some thing other than logical
          fallacies to offer to support your drivel, do come back and provide us
          with some actual verifiable facts to support your opinions.

  • Lazycrockett

    Some agency needs to deal with Bannon permanently.

  • Dramphooey

    Come on, Germany. Resist. You should know better than to eat this shit more than any country on earth.

  • Halou

    I know that blocking all access to the website within the country would set a dangerous precedent for the future of German/European politics, but if this sort of thing starts to happen more and more often (remember the Lisa case last year that Russia made up?) then doing so may be the lesser of two evils.

  • Michael R

    Faux Kristallnacht , just add Brietbart

    • Gustav2

      A temporary emergency order that was never rescinded.

    • Ross

      You wrote: “Trump would love a shortcut like this.”

      I have every confidence Trump already has such a shortcut planned.

      And if he does not, Bannon does.

    • canoebum

      He has already said “parts of the internet should be shut down”. I’m sure he wasn’t referring to

    • Jerry

      Yes, I’ve been saying this all along. Even after the OK City bombing, GOP House members introduced a draconian version of what would later become the “Patriot Act”…they already had it printed up ready for such an occasion. That version was also introduced–basically martial law–after 9/11. I don’t think there will be any such restraints shown this time.

    • William

      We already have this, it is called ‘The Patriot Act’. Parts of it are shockingly similar to Germany’s Enabling Acts.

  • Oscarlating Wildely
  • Leo

    There’s inflection points over the last year-and-a-half that stand out as speeding our world down a path it can’t reverse. Maybe it’s a stretch but I feel like this is one of them.

    A fake story that’s gaining in traction as opposed to being bothered to be questioned by anyone that has all the powder keg issues in one – that’s affecting international politics in real time. GERMANY of all places. It’s hard to not feel…helpless.

  • Kim K’s Kute Koochy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    When the Germans say you’re too hateful…

    • coram nobis

      They’ve been there before. Breitbart is not all that different from Der Stürmer, and Bannon is as unlovely as its publisher, Julius Streicher.

      • KnownDonorDad

        Streicher was a truly nasty piece of work. Via Wikipedia, this is what happened after he was condemned to death at the Nuremberg Trials:

        Streicher’s was the most melodramatic of the hangings carried out that night. At the bottom of the scaffold he cried out “Heil Hitler!”. When he mounted the platform, he delivered his last sneering reference to Jewish scripture, snapping “Purim-Fest 1946!”. The Jewish holiday Purim celebrates the escape by the Jews from extermination at the hands of Haman, an ancient Persian government official. At the end of the Purim story, Haman is hanged, as are his ten sons.[Ephraim Rubin, Newsweek, October 28, 1946]

        ETA: since we’re post-Godwin, I have no problem with pointing out similarities between him and Bannon.

  • AtticusP

    Normally I am all for freedom of speech, but I am really starting to think someone needs to do to Breitbart what Peter Thiel did to Gawker.

    I hope it comes soon. It will be richly deserved.

  • kevway

    Maybe instead of “denouncing” they should be “prosecuting”

  • you’d think they’d know better how it works with fascist propaganda. “…the big lie,” etc. truth doesn’t and never has had anything to do with it. they just liked the way the town’s name sounds and what little burg doesn’t have a runaway firework now and again during festival?

    next thing will be they report that a cow fart in eastern lithuania means the final rise of the (whatever they finally decide will be our new Enemy) we must arm the nukes. that’s coming soon.

    • ChrisMorley

      Dortmund is Germany’s 8th biggest city, some ‘little burg’.

      • And the Reinoldikirche is not even the oldest church there, ranking behind both St Peter’s Skyburg and the Marienkirkche. Nor are any of these the oldest church in Germany, which is usually held to be Trier Cathedral, which was founded in about 340 and still incorporates part of the original structure.

        • Oscarlating Wildely

          This is a group that still thinks Nuremberg holds rallies and has no historical purpose, save for being a party town for the Reich, centuries of art be damned.
          History is not their forte, and they know nothing of Germany except for its brief stint with the then asshole of civilization, of whom they idolize with abandon.

          • juanjo54

            It is amusing when the would be American Nazi droolers go to Nuremberg looking for the Zeppelinfeld where Hitler held those rallies and discover it is a race track. Although it used to be the local high school football field and has also been used for rock concerts.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Breitbart is the clarion of all that is true and righteous. I can’t believe they would ever report anything that isn’t true.

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      You better add your snark symbol. :-/

      • Lars Littlefield


  • TrollopeReader

    So, Monika Krowley wrote the story?

  • coram nobis

    A sidebar comment from Guardian that may help illuminate this point. Their lede today:

    Nationalism always breaks its promises because nationalists hate enemies in their countries more than they hate the enemies of their countries. Millions of American conservatives proved it when they voted for Donald Trump, even though he was an open admirer of a hostile foreign power …

    It fits with this Breitbart Muslim-baiting.

    … Above all else, the west’s Christian right or as they now call themselves the “civilisational right” welcome Putin as an unapologetic foe of Islam. From 9/11, western politicians from George W Bush and Tony Blair onwards bent over backwards to say that the west is not in a war against Islam. Putin, Trump and their supporters feel no such constraints.

    • Lars Littlefield

      Good post. However I don’t see that “civilisational right” label catching any traction. Even if we spell it with a Z.

    • Cylux

      The enemy within is always a greater threat than the enemy without, because if you don’t deal with the former first, the drawbridge will be lowered for the latter.

  • MisterShoebox

    Breitbart is full of sensationalist, lying, vindictive, mud-slinging assholes? And birds go tweet, and Pom-pom goes “Bubble-bubble.”

    • coram nobis

      And its publisher is now one of our Leader’s chief advisers. Let us remember that.

      • MisterShoebox

        I try not to think about it.

  • Frostbite

    America’s credibility is going to fall through the floor.

    Thanks Trump!

  • Stephen Elliot Phillips

    Germany has gotten so soft. Like an aged boxer. Just cant pack a punch like it used to.
    Russia is where the real hate is now.

  • Blackfork

    Nothing wrong with this kind of reporting that six or eight months in the hoodegow won’t stop.

    • William

      You spelled “decades” wrong.

  • Max_1

    Breitbart News = RADIO RWANDA

  • JTC

    Die echte Lügnerpresse.

  • Jack

    Maybe countries with a different perspective on free speech will block them. And others like them.

  • sword

    Well…it did work 80 years ago with the Reichstag. I waiting to see when the Neo-Nazi’s try to burn down the US Capitol building.

    • Ross

      The 2017 version will be, i fear, a major “terrorist” attack on an American city.

      Except the terrorists will work for Steve Bannon.

      Trump will declare martial law, Congress will give Trump unprecedented new powers, the media will be crushed, critics of Trump will be arrested, and on and on.

      Do I think this is possible? Yes.

      Do I think this is likely? Yes, I do.

      • The Return of Traxley

        And then the public and the military will reject these measures and stage a coup.

        It would the annihilation of Nicolae Ceaușescu look like a kids’ birthday party. ..

        We can hope.

    • William

      It will probably be a shopping mall next time.

      • The Return of Traxley

        A Walmart would be the worst thing ever.

  • DesertSun59

    It doesn’t need any corrections because the Breitbart audience now knows that anyone NOT connected to Breitbart is the liar and that Breitbart is the sole source of good information.

  • The Return of Traxley

    The best way for Germany to threaten Steve “Drunk Around The Clock” Bannon is to quit exporting Jägermester to the states.

    What the hell is he supposed to put his coffee into?

    • MBear

      and millions of early 20 somethings, especially those with bachelorette parties, will whine, and cry…much gnashing of veneers & rending of polyester

      • The Return of Traxley

        I fail to see the problem here. ; )

    • juanjo54

      I am always amused by 20-somethings drinking this crap. In Germany, Jägermester is the local equivalent of Colt 45, and is the preferred drink of the street drunks and hooligans looking for a fight from Hamburg to Munich. of course they also drink PBR, another classic cheap swill.

  • JCF
  • DuaneBidoux

    Well at least somebody is standing up and calling out the lies of the right wing. It’s too bad that it has to come from a foreign country.

    Maybe it’s Germany because they have felt first hand, in the deadliest of ways, the price of not standing up to right wing lies.