In both cases, the rumors passed on were sketchy at best and at worst, likely ginned up by activists obsessed with tearing down Confederate statues.
There was also sketchy reporting of both events.
Media in North Carolina downplayed the fact that the Durham Hoax spawned from a rumor tweeted by the attorney for the Communists who ripped down a Durham Confederate statue.
The NC media also pretty much blew off the fact that Durham Councilwoman Jillian Johnson retweeted that rumor moments later. Fun fact: Johnson is closely affiliated with groups that are tied to those who participated in the destruction of the Durham statue.
Read about the Durham Hoax in full: The #DurhamHoax or How a Rumor Shut Down a Major NC City
The UNC-Chapel Hill hoax is equally sketchy.
News and Observer reported that Kevin Guskiewicz, the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, sent out an email with concerns that “individuals not affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill” might be planning a “Rally for Nationalism.”
Not a single outlet has questioned Guskiewicz about where he got the information he based his email.
News and Observer did do a little indirect leg-work on that email, but they muddy the water pretty badly. Let me boil it down for you: The basis for Dean Guskiewicz’s email was likely fellow UNC professor, Redneck Revolt member and Antifa sympathizer, Dwayne Dixon.
So far, I’m the only one to ask Guskiewicz point blank.
News and Observer mention Dixon in their report as having “received an email on Friday from a man named Kevin Cormier with the subject line, “Rally for Nationalism.”
Dixon claims he got an email from a man named Kevin Cormier claiming to be the Vice President of “Kool Kekistani Kids.”
Specifically, Dixon claims the email said that “To protest the continuing employment of several radical left wing subversives by your department, my group (Kool Kekistani Kids) & Identity Evropa will be holding a rally this coming Wed. 21. outside your offices.”
According to the News and Observer, Dixon called the email a “psychological campaign of fear.”
Yeah, not so much as it turns out, Captain Myopia.
Dixon was basically was trolled and his colleague, the Dean, swallowed it hook, line and sinker. There is no such group called Kool Kekistani Kids.
“I wanted to prove that anyone could report anything to these organizations and the media would use it without any confirmation,” Cormier told an outlet called Populist Wire.
And that’s just what they did. Cormier has told other outlets that the News and Observer never contacted him to verify Dixon’s story.
By the way, Dixon is the man who brought a semi-automatic rifle to the Durham Hoax last year, was arrested and later had his charges dropped. The man defending Dixon was the same attorney who tweeted out the Durham hoax rumor – Scott Holmes.
Not to belabor the point, but…
Bonus tweet below: watch the video all the way to the end.
Funny how these protesters spontaneously show up with microphones and speakers and a string of activists with prepared speeches.