Corporate media’s efforts to bend over backward to protect the reputations of their favored public figures led some outlets to make themselves the punchline Friday when they saw fit to fact-check a meme that mused a potential connection between the recent assassination of the former prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and the former secretary of state.
Hillary Clinton’s renowned link to mysterious deaths is unsurpassed in the morbid circles of social media humor, and while many would have considered a joke about Abe having dirt on her to fall into the category of “too soon,” the Associated Press demonstrated their stance that the former first lady’s reputation demands protection.
At least, that’s the impression the AP presented when a meme began circulating that attributed the statement “I have information that will lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton,” to the late PM.
— Michael Malice (@michaelmalice) July 8, 2022
To seal the link between the believed nefarious disappearances of known associates of the Clintons and the assassination of Abe, the meme included a timestamp shortly before a suspect fatally shot him. Chances are more people would see the meme than the AP’s post about it, but that didn’t stop them from offering a clinically serious analysis breaking down the evidence as to how they made certain the post did not come from the deceased PM.
“False. Abe did not tweet this statement,” the AP’s assessment read, “which is a reference to a long-running internet meme. A screenshot purporting to show the tweet has been fabricated. Abe’s verified Twitter account uses a different username and profile picture than the ones shown in the altered image. The Japanese text in the altered image does not mention Clinton, either.”
The fact check goes on to note the “low-quality” of the screenshot that is “blurry” and has “slight discoloration” with a translation of the Japanese text reportedly saying “to repeat, I.” While acknowledging the understanding of the meme that had in the past been used to link Clinton to the deaths of people like Kobe Bryant, Anthony Bourdain, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (all fact-checked), the outlet attributed reactions of “Makes you wonder, no???” and “Should have known” to being legitimate and serious despite not verifying the users thought the meme was real.
“This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation,” the outlet claimed, “including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online.”
For what it’s worth, Clinton did respond to the assassination to call Abe’s death a “loss for Japan and our world.”
Prime Minister Abe was a champion of democracy and a firm believer that no economy, society, or country can achieve its full potential if women are left behind. I am shocked and devastated by his assassination—a loss for Japan and our world.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 8, 2022
The swift response from the Associated Press to disprove a joke naturally led to ridicule from social media over the reports that go overlooked such as the White House covering up for President Joe Biden’s teleprompter flubs by insisting the public didn’t hear what was plainly heard.
Amazing how easily and quickly they can check facts when they really want to.
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) July 9, 2022
No good meme can go unchecked, sir. End of quote. Repeat the line.
— Vapid Surplus (@VapidSurplus) July 9, 2022
— Dennis (Redacted) ¯\_( ツ)_/¯ (@grumpy_veteran) July 9, 2022
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