Politifact names conspiracies about Parkland students as 2018's 'lie of the year'

Politifact on Tuesday declared various false conspiracy theories and smears directed at the survivors of the February shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school as the publication's "lie of the year" for 2018.

The fact-checking website wrote that the false claims circulated about the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stood out because of how vicious they were.

"In another year of lament about the lack of truth in politics, the attacks against Parkland’s students stand out because of their sheer vitriol," Politifact said in announcing its choice.

"Together, the lies against the Parkland students in the wake of unspeakable tragedy were the most significant falsehoods of 2018. We name them PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year."

ADVERTISEMENT

The outlet cited a host of conspiracies about some of the survivors, including false claims from far-right personalities and a few politicians that David Hogg and other students were "crisis actors" who did not actually attend the school.

Politifact also cited a doctored photo that purported to show student Emma Gonzalez ripping up the Constitution. The real image, which appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue, showed Gonzalez ripping up a target for practice at a gun range.

"At least there was this," Politifact wrote on Tuesday. "During a time of so little bipartisanship, the attacks on the Parkland students set off a shared outrage in nearly all political corners."

The outlet cited tweets and comments from Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Lawmakers worry as 'deepfakes' spread | New intel strategy sees threats from emerging tech | Google fined M under EU data rules | WhatsApp moves to curb misinformation Tlaib: 'Right wing media is now targeting my little sister' Airbnb is doing the Democrats' dirty work MORE (R-Fla.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchDems demand answers following explosive new Cohen report Overnight Energy: Senators introduce bipartisan carbon tax bill | House climate panel unlikely to have subpoena power | Trump officials share plan to prevent lead poisoning Flake to co-introduce bipartisan climate bill MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell Ivanka Trump to help pick new World Bank president, but will not be one of the candidates Lieu donates contributions from Ed Buck after second man found dead in Dem donor's home MORE (D-Calif.) denouncing the conspiracies about the Parkland students.

The students were at the center of a renewed debate over gun laws this year after a former classmate opened fire at the high school on Feb. 14, killing 17 people and wounding several others.

The Parkland students organized the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington, D.C., which, along with rallies organized in cities across the country, drew hundreds of thousands of people calling for an end to gun violence.

Politifact also announced that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE's comments during the midterm campaign that Democrats wanted to welcome migrants into the country and offer them the benefits of citizenship was selected as the lie of the year for its readers' poll.