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Las Vegas shooting: Site with White House press credentials falsely brands Trump foe as gunman

The Gateway Pundit, a conservative site that has had White House press credentials, accused an Arkansas man with likes for liberal causes on his Facebook page of being the Las Vegas gunman.
The Gateway Pundit, a conservative site that has had White House press credentials, accused an Arkansas man with likes for liberal causes on his Facebook page of being the Las Vegas gunman. ARCHIVE.IS

The Gateway Pundit, a right-wing site with a reputation for fake news – and White House press credentials – accused an elderly Arkansas man early today of being the Las Vegas shooter.

In the now-deleted post (visible here) Gateway Pundit named Geary Danley as the gunman, citing the open-source site everipedia.com. Danley’s Facebook page says he lives in Fayetteville, Ark., and has pictures of at least one of his grandchildren.

He has also liked a number of liberal causes on Facebook, and someone with the same name (but in a different state) had been registered to vote as a Democrat.

At least 58 people died and more than 500 were injured Sunday night when Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Casino hotel on an open-air concert in Las Vegas.

Paddock was found dead in the hotel room.

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READ MORE: Las Vegas shooting: What we know about Stephen Paddock, the suspected gunman

Everipedia, in turn, seems to have sourced its information from multiple threads on the 4chan discussion board accusing Danley of having carried out the attack. 4chan has been a centre of alt-right troll culture.

Early Tuesday afternoon, the Everipedia page on Geary Danley had passed 116,000 page views.

The only link, such as it was, between Geary Danley and the massacre was that he shares a surname with Marilou Danley, 62, named early this morning as a person of interest in the case by Las Vegas police.

Marilou Danley shared a house with Paddock, the Associated Press reported Monday. Police don’t suspect her of involvement in the killings.

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It’s not clear what, if any, relationship there is between the two. Buzzfeed reported today that Geary Danley had been friends with somebody named Marilou Danley on Facebook, but Global News has not been able to independently verify this.

Attempts to reach Geary Danley through publicly listed numbers were not successful.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge man Jordan McIldoon killed in Las Vegas shooting

The false report spread as far as sites in the Philippines, a Swiss-based fake news site publishing in French, and the Free Republic discussion board.

Google, in turn, picked up the false reports from 4chan implicating Geary Danley as the gunman as top stories in searches for his name. This is how a search looked Monday morning:

 

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A Google search now looks quite different, linking prominently to reports from mainstream sources pointing out that the accusation is false.

In a statement today, Google said the placement had happened ‘briefly,’ but didn’t address why its algorithm was allowed to draw top story results from 4chan in the first place: