The last few days have seen Donald Trump add a new trick to his campaign rally repertoire. He's taken to holding up foam-board charts with ominously downturned trend lines and cartoonish graphics of dollar bills.
Of course, any sixth grade social studies teacher will tell you that when it comes to classroom presentations like these, it's important to show your sources—something the Trump campaign has struggled with in the past. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that Donald's newfound love of charts has raised some questions about just where he's getting the information he tells his millions of supporters is the gospel truth.
On Sunday's episode of CNN's appropriately named "Reliable Sources," host Brian Stelter took Trump spokesperson Jason Miller to task over one chart in particular which Trump used at a rally in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to illustrate an alleged link between Middle Eastern nations and the Clinton Foundation.
The graphic, as Stelter pointed out, seems to have come from a story on a site called beforeitsnews.com, where it was used in a piece alleging Clinton is somehow embroiled in international terrorism by way of Mexican drug cartel money, EBT cards, and shoplifted steaks. Seriously.
Described by The Washington Post as "unabashedly unhinged" in 2014, Before Its News is a crowdsourced, conspiracy-minded publication that, among other things, features UFO sightings, miraculous religious phenomena, and other general kookiness. In other words, it's not the sort of place a major party presidential candidate should be using as a source.
Of course, Donald Trump isn't just any candidate, which means that it's not inconceivable that we might see more Before Its News news popping up at his rallies in the not-too-distant future. Here are just some of the hot scoops Trump could easily start peddling (note: all misspellings from the original posts have been left in):
The existence of biblical giants known as "Nephilim" living on a South Pacific island.
We humans aren’t the only “intelligent beings” inhabiting this planet. The Powers-That-Be know about and work along-side these Giant People. Could it be that this “Society Of Giants” lives in cities within the Earth but have access to numerous secluded, above ground, areas such as these islands?
President Obama is leading the charge toward eventually microchipping every elderly American in an attempt to kill them with death rays.
This seems to be a test, to soon require that every citizen have a cell phone, remember Obama’s free cell phone program for those on public assistance. The cell phone is the first stage of a microchipped population; just as Direct Deposit is the first stage of the cashless society, and why you must use Direct Deposit if employed by the government or a government contractor.
In my opinon the cell phone push, has many purposes. First, the ability to track every citizen using the GPS capabilities of the phone, should make it easier to round you up for FEMA camp. Second, the ability to access and eventually seize your funds, by identifying the credit card or checking account that pays your cell phone bill. Third, the ability to capture the biometric information the feds desparately desire, your voice or image. Lastly, one very diabolical element is we have recently been seeing more stories about death through cellular waves and the emerging 5G network. Getting the elderly to carry and use a cellular phone, allows them to target their death rays directly at the elderly for population reduction goals.
A congregation in Mexico experienced a miracle when, earlier this month, a statue of Jesus affixed to a church wall was caught on film opening its eyes.
A UFO researcher Dr. Frank Stranges (Book, Stranger In The Pentagon) who was a priest who met the US president back in the 1960s, said that he talked to Val Valiant Thor from Venus and Val told him Jesus was not only real, but a close personal friend of his on Venus. So, Jesus is mixed in with our alien beliefs.
As an unnamed Before Its News editor explained when asked about the high volume of obviously bogus stories on the site, it's best to think of BIN as less like a newspaper and more like the "YouTube of news." In other words, anyone can post anything, no matter how outrageous or unverifiable, and it'll be published under the BIN banner, all in the hopes of "get[ing] people to THINK and figure out for themselves what is true."
Gizmodo points out that the graphic itself seems to have based some of its data on a 2015 investigation by the International Business Times, with various iterations of its main conceit—that Muslim countries traded foundation donations for favorable arms deals—having floated around the right-wing blogosphere for some time.
As BuzzFeed's Nathaniel Meyersohn noted, white supremacist leader David Duke tweeted virtually the same image, with a minor, antisemitic adjustment, just over one month before the graphic appeared onstage with Trump.
When confronted with the image, and its dubious lineage by CNN's Stelter, Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller claimed that he "[hadn't] seen that particular chart before," and declined to comment on its source.