J.D. Vance Is Now Pushing False Conspiracy Theories About “Quarantine Camps”
It should be generally assumed when somebody starts talking about concentration or internment camps, outside of the historical context (Nazis, Japanese internment), their mind is beginning to unravel into a world of Wonkaesque pure conspiratorial imagination.
Ohio Senate hopeful J.D. Vance has reached this phase.
Retweeting Chris Buskirk, editor of openly racist blog America Greatness, Vance shared with his followers Buskirk’s posted screenshot of what is supposedly the official WhiteHouse.gov website announcing that the Biden administration plans to restrict travel across state lines, propose new booster requirements, and also open up “Quarantine Centers.”
Biden apparently wants to restrict travel and open concentration camps (“quarantine centers”).
Hmm…there’s an election next year. You thought 2020 election “exceptional measures” were one-time only?
This must stop. pic.twitter.com/N3ZxbluyMw
— Chris Buskirk (@thechrisbuskirk) December 20, 2021
This unsourced screenshot raises some red flags. It’s easy to modify webpages if you’re good at computers, all it takes is a basic knowledge of HTML and Microsoft Paint (or Photoshop, if you’re fancy.) Are “America’s New Quarantine Centers” really a thing?
Well. Kind of? Google “America’s New Quarantine Centers” and you get three results. One is a tweet from an anti-vaxx Trump-loving Twitter rando. (Or bot. Who can say.) The second is from the shitposting board 4Chan. The third is from the site GreatAwakening.win, which is the QAnon version of Reddit.
So maybe this “screenshot” from WhiteHouse.gov isn’t on the level?
There’s another clue baked in. In an attempt to give this bs the veneer of authenticity, shot has a “STG-INT” label in the top left corner, to suggest that it’s been leaked from an internal staging website, and a “Login.gov” logo on the right. Below “STG-INT” the shot reveals the name of the person whose account it supposedly came from. The supposed person’s name is “Tim Woods.” Which, while a common name, also happens to be the name of the secretary of Homeland Security in seasons 7 and 8 in the hit T.V. show 24.
And in case you thought that maybe this was all a big coincidence, I asked the White House about America’s New Quarantine Centers and the supposed WhiteHouse.gov screenshot. Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates wrote back: “That’s a complete lie.”
You wouldn’t necessarily expect the editor of American Greatness to be able to tell the difference between the truth and some QAdjacent bro getting some lulz. (Even if he is an official “contributor” to the New York Times!)
But a third-place candidate for the U.S. Senate? He probably should have known better.
Update: Vance now appears to have un-retweeted this false disinformation.