What the hell is #Pizzagate?

Earlier this month, the Infowars crowd used a Wiki-leaked dinner invite to John Podesta from the artist Marina Abramovic as evidence the Democratic Party is run by depraved occultists whose favorite foods are FRESH SPERM MILK and NIGHTMARE DREAMS. Now that Satanic conspiracy theory has morphed into one called “Pizzagate” that exists at the intersection of fake news, right-wing hysteria, and the culture wars.

As far as anyone can tell, this story was forged, as all the best internet memes are, in the dark recesses of Reddit and 4chan. It soon crawled out of there to receive “coverage” on sites like Infowars and Vigilant Citizen, to the point where real newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post felt the need to — no joke — debunk it. So what is it?

According to Vigilant Citizen and Infowars, Washington D.C. is controlled by a ring of pedophiles who use symbols and code words to communicate their forbidden desires to each other. At the epicenter is Comet Ping Pong, a “cool” D.C. pizzeria owned by prominent Democrat James Alefantis, where people gather to eat, play ping pong, and (allegedly) engage in child sex trafficking. (Potentially relevant: Alefantis used to date David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog organization that combats fake news.)

For evidence, they point to a symbol on the Comet Ping Pong menu that bears a striking resemblance to the internationally recognized symbol for “ChildLove”…or, you know, two ping pong paddles. You decide. 

Via Vigilant Citizen:

pedo-symbol

Then there’s the nearby Besta Pizza, which, in addition to being culturally insensitive, decorates its menu with the symbol for “Boy Lover”…or possibly some snazzy clip art.

Via Infowars:

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 5.03.17 PM

Combing through Wikileaks’ treasure trove of emails, conspiracists decided the movers and shakers of Washington were using code words as an added security measure, namely: “pasta” for little boys and “cheese” for little girls. Suddenly, John Podesta’s risotto recipe doesn’t seem so innocent.

The rest of the evidence consists mainly of social media posts from Comet Ping Pong’s employees, including photos of children enjoying pizza. Plus: All the admittedly weird art collected by Washington lobbyist and confirmed Abramovic associate Tony Podesta, “it’s art ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” not being an explanation that carries much water with the tinfoil hat crowd.

This all might sound like a textbook case of how not to use Wikileaks, but enough people believed it that Alefantis and his employees have been dealing with angry phone calls, death threats, and attempts to shoot further fake news segments in the restaurant. Reddit recently banned the pizzagate subreddit in an effort to stop the spread of false information, but the social media posts keep on coming.

Is #pizzagate evidence of a vast left-wing conspiracy, or simply of the alarming mainstreaming of fake news? Does John Podesta really have the imagination to pull off something like this when he couldn’t even muster a reply to Marina Abramovic’s dinner invitation? Will Donald Trump be tricked into re-tweeting the story from the @POTUS Twitter account? One thing’s for certain: If these people put half as much energy into exposing Clinton and company’s actual misdeeds as they do into this gobbledygook, we might be looking forward to a Bernie Sanders presidency right now.

[h/t The New York Times | Photo: iStock]

Tags: pizzagate
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