Right-wing Breitbart has become a national embarrassment.
The media platform of the alt-right is under some serious German wrath after it reported, falsely of course, that a mob of fanatic Muslims, unacquainted with Western values and hostile to its culture, had set fire to a "historic" church in Germany.
In a news item titled, “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”, the writer, Virginia Hale, claimed the crowd chanted in Arabic before torching the church.
This was a familiar narrative, mirroring President-elect Donald Trump’s account of purportedly jubilant Muslims reacting to the 9/11 attack.
The message is clear with this rhetoric: Muslims are a menace and have no place in the Western society. They are a threat that needs to be banished.
The rhetoric also sits well with many in America who use Trump’s voice to validate their own views.
In Germany, however, facts matter a lot more.
In an interview to local newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten, the German police plundered Breitbart for its untruthful reporting. The officials also revealed the fire originated from fireworks and was controlled within 12 minutes. The roof never caught fire, there were no Muslims involved, and the church is certainly not historic.
The local police also derided Breitbart for its “fake news, hate and propaganda.”
Referring to the "fake news" story, the justice minister of the Hesse State remarked that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own."
Breitbart is owned by Trump's anti-Semite and Islamophobic adviser, Steve Bannon.
As of yet, no change has been made to the original story on Breitbart.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri