In a political season, people want to promote their candidate and hurt the opposition. Jeffrey Epstein was the perfect weapon. He not only knew the Clintons, but the influential billionaire had claimed to have co-founded the Clinton Global Initiative (Fox News) and regularly let Bill Clinton use his private aircraft for personal travel. (Daily Caller)
He was also a pedophile. In 2007, he was found guilty of soliciting prostitution of minors (Palm Beach Post). He also, immediately after taking what has been described as a sweetheart deal to avoid more significant charges, began fighting to avoid paying even the smaller penalties associated with the deal, which prosecutors are on record as saying was offered not on his behalf but because many of the victims were too traumatized or afraid of retribution to risk taking to the public witness stand.
He was a perfect political weapon to use against Bill and, by extension, Hillary Clinton. There was only one problem. He was also an old friend of Donald Trump. (Daily Caller)
How to solve this problem? The answer lay in something that many turn to as an answer… calling out for pizza.
The original Pizzagate Facebook post appeared on the evening of October 29th, 2016. (A) user named Carmen Katz wrote, “My NYPD source said its much more vile and serious than classified material on Weiner’s device. The email DETAIL the trips made by Weiner, Bill and Hillary on their pedophile billionaire friend’s plane, the Lolita Express. Yup, Hillary has a well documented predilection for underage girls. . . . We’re talking an international child enslavement and sex ring.”
Rolling Stone could not find any evidence of Carmen Katz’s existence, but did trace associated materials to a 60 year old attorney named Cynthia Campbell. Neither Cynthia Campbell nor the nonexistent Carmen Katz could reasonably lay claim to any valid sources for the information in the Pizzagate post, however. What Ms. Campbell could have had was access to 4chan, where earlier a person with the handle FBIAnon who claimed to be associated with, of course, the FBI wrote:
“Bill and Hillary love foreign donors so much. They get paid in children as well as money.”
Ultimately, though, it was clever use of psychology and social media that promoted pizzagate, through Facebook posts and Tweets. It was a way to focus on the connections between the Clintons and Epstein while studiously bypassing the Trump connection, and that enabled people to promote their candidate and simultaneously support decency and the law.
At this time, Pizzagate was still referring primarily to the then-candidate’s penchant for eating food oddly, as noted in this mocking piece from the Guardian that compiles Trump’s taco bowl moment, his KFC-with-a-knife-and-fork photo, and his pizza-with-a-knife-and-fork photo. #Pizzagate indeed, for a New Yorker to not handle the pizza; the only real controversy there is the “fold” vs. “don’t fold” battle when eating your single slice (the NY foodie equivalent of the Crips and the Bloods)
Then came John Podesta’s e-mails. Leaked, people were expecting great revelations… that generally didn’t materialize. Truth be told, the day-to-day e-mail of the influential is much like the day-to-day e-mail of everyone else. There were a few bombshells that could be found within the leaked e-mails, but for the most part they were mundane.
It was time for the “researchers” to explain what the e-mails truly meant. Innocuous words were interpreted as meaning other things, and from there the extrapolations developed into “proof”. For example, the most famous of them, “”c”heese “p”izza actually meant “c”hild “p”ornography, and “office workers” was code for high-dollar donors.
Anyone familiar with an office organization, particularly political offices, know that the standard dinner purchase for a group is a bunch of pizzas. It’s cheap, most people enjoy it, and if you really want to get on the good side of your workers, you order it from a better pizza place. Suddenly, a regular series of e-mails associated with getting food for the workers in Democrat campaigns translates to buying kids for their high-dollar donors like… Jeffrey Epstein.
The notion that Epstein had his own island and had a history of procuring his own victims was conveniently ignored. Occam’s Razor is not beloved by most conspiracists.
Many people who would not have considered believing something like this if they were looking at it themselves were willing to broadcast it when it was framed in the proper way. “Order 12 cheese pizzas from Comet Pizza for office workers” is hard to believe as “Order 12 children from Comet Pizza for secret donors.” On the other hand, “John Podesta’s e-mails revealed codes proving child pornography”, particularly from a trusted source, sounds believable… Podesta is already known to be associated with people who are known criminals, and the e-mails were leaked for a reason, and besides, they say it’s proven.”
The more times people see the same message sent from different sources, even if the origin is the same rumor or source, the more believed it is.
The rumors were fueled further when Doug Hagmann went on Infowars on November 2, 2016 and promoted the pizzagate conspiracy. (Sorry for this, but if you want to verify… go to the 2 hour, 10 minute mark to at least minimize your pain. (Infowars, via Youtube.)
The rumors continued to grow. People grew more concerned, even as traditional news sources presented the conspiracy as false.
This all led to one man from North Carolina wanting to discover for himself what was true. He went to Comet Pizza and demanded to investigate the location, firing shots in the process. The Washington Post reported on the attack on December 4th.
Of course, he could have simply watched Food Network, where Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives had already visited Comet years before. Because Guy Fieri had not reported on the secret goings-on, some conspiracy theorists insisted he was in on the cover-up. Of course, in the video shot the floors and walls of Comet are quite visible, making it obvious there were no back rooms or tunnel entrances.
Rather than believe their own eyes, however, the conspiracists preferred to bank on “C”heese “P”izza having a secret meaning. Also the changing from an initial-based code to a codeword-based code within the same message didn’t seem odd to them. The sourcing of images of abused children that were forwarded with the social media postings was unquestioned. The actual connection of Hillary to Epstein via Bill Clinton was enough proof to jump to any conclusion.
This is how conspiracies work. A grain of truth, often barely related to the actual conspiracy, is used to support massive quantities of theoretical and unsubstantiated “evidence”.
In this case, people say, at least nobody was hurt. That’s not quite true.
Edgar Maddison Welch, the shooter, was sentenced to four years because he believed what his friends and the information sources he trusted were telling him. He’s losing years of his life because he was gullible and foolish. He has two very young daughters who are losing four years of their father being present in their childhood.
There are always victims.