Date: November 29, 2016
“Days before the presidential election, James Alefantis, owner of a local pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong, noticed an unusual spike in the number of his Instagram followers.
Within hours, menacing messages like “we’re on to you” began appearing in his Instagram feed. In the ensuing days, hundreds of death threats — one read “I will kill you personally” — started arriving via texts, Facebook and Twitter. All of them alleged something that made Mr. Alefantis’s jaw drop: that Comet Ping Pong was the home base of a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John D. Podesta.
When Mr. Alefantis discovered that his employees were getting similar abusive messages, he looked online to unravel the accusations. He found dozens of made-up articles about Mrs. Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant’s back rooms. The articles appeared on Facebook and on websites such as The New Nationalist and The Vigilant Citizen, with one headline blaring: “Pizzagate: How 4Chan Uncovered the Sick World of Washington’s Occult Elite.”
“SOME OF the people can be fooled all of the time, and some seem plenty pleased about it when it gives them license to exercise their most malicious impulses. How else to explain the noxious torrent of vitriol, venom and threats trained recently against a popular upper Northwest Washington pizzeria, which has been the subject of ludicrous conspiracy theories alleging that it is the center of a child – abuse racket run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta?
The allegations against Comet Ping Pong, reported by the New York Times, are absurd on their face and detached from any gossamer thread of fact. They took root in the dark crevices of the Web and took flight thanks to social media platforms, whose witless “who, us?” posture in the face of misinformation and outright lunacy is a civic embarrassment.”