Arizona Republican congressman Paul Gosar is no stranger to strange tweets and with just a week into the new year, he’s back at it again. This time tweeting a doctored image of President Obama meeting (and smiling with) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
The photo, which spread like wildfire, was captioned, “The world is a better place without these guys in power.”
The problem? That encounter never actually happened. And now he’s mad that he is being exposed for spreading his conspiracy-driven propaganda.
But let’s back up.
In November, Gosar posted a Jeffrey Epstein meme along with a tweet about the Trump impeachment hearings.
On Christmas Eve, he lit up the Twitter timeline with a pretty rough attack meant for the Clintons. So while this behavior is not new, it’s highly inappropriate – the doctored photo particularly so, given the recent dynamics with Iran.
The photo suggested that Obama and Rouhani were sharing a good-natured encounter, smiling and shaking hands. But some reporters noted that Obama never met Rouhani at any diplomatic event, let alone share a giggly picture with him.
Daniel Medina, a freelance reporter, also noted that even the caption was off-base because it implied that Rouhani was no longer in power. He is very much STILL the president of Iran.
That little bit of trivia seemed to evade Gosar’s thought process.
As soon as the image was released, attentive Twitter followers, many of whom are very informed and connected reporters, began to question the validity of the picture, and rightly so. And as soon as the criticism began, Gosar went on the defense.
He tweeted his reply, where he went straight after the “dim-witted” reporters, saying they misinterpreted his fake photo.
So, HE posted a fake pic and yet somehow it isn’t his fault. Classic.
In the current climate, in an important election year, with tensions on the rise with Iran, and in the wake of international concern over the real damage that can be done by spreading false news stories with little to no basis in truth, posts like this from leaders in our government are just unacceptable.
Cyber security experts have issued stern warnings about the dangers of misinformation campaigns as we roll into the election cycle and Gosar’s behavior is just exactly the kind of manipulation they are railing against.
We see this kind of trash behavior every day online from celebrities, but the entire country would do well to remember that these are ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.
Not only do Republicans not seem to be heeding the advice and warnings from top security experts, they actually now seem to be using misinformation to their advantage, hoping it actually gains support for their endeavors.
Just recently, VP Mike Pence claimed (FALSELY) that the recently slain general Soleimani was partially responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Our own VP is utilizing the tactic of spreading misinformation and Congressman Gosar seems to be following directly in his footsteps.