Fake news has consequences.
Back in 2016, before the term was even part of our national vocabulary, it threw the government of Twin Falls, Idaho, into chaos.
Rumors of a government cover-up involving child molestation and Syrian refugees swirled. They soon leaped from the fringes of the Internet to kitchen tables and the mainstream media.
“Members of the local government, the mayor, the city council members, local judges, the county prosecutor, they were basically inundated for months on end with threats,” says Caitlin Dickerson, who covered the story for The New York Times. “Violent threats. Very visceral and descriptive threats from all over the world.”