Fake news writer in 2016 presidential election found dead

A writer of fake political news who previously said he felt responsible for President Trump's election has died near Phoenix, police said Tuesday.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Mark Casey told The Associated Press that Paul Horner was found dead in his bed earlier this month.

Casey said there was "evidence at the scene" that "suggested this could be an accidental overdose."

The cause of Horner's death has not yet been finalized.

ADVERTISEMENT
Horner, whose fake news stories often went viral on Facebook and Twitter, told The Intersect, a Washington Post blog, last year that Trump supporters were especially susceptible to being fooled.

“My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time,” Horner said. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. 

“His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

Horner also said at the time he published his hoax stories to make Trump supporters look bad.

“I thought they’d fact-check it, and it’d make them look worse,” Horner said. “I mean, that’s how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots. 

“But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now he’s in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad].”

He also said at the time he was surprised by how popular his articles were.