Just read this BBC blog post attempting to debunk the entirety of the PizzaGate scandal, by Mike Wendling (@mwendling). The only conclusion I reached at the end of this read was that "This guy obviously didn't care enough to do his own homework."
I have done my own homework, however. Dismantling this was rather simple. Here's why:
And physical evidence? That doesn't exist either.
Sooooo.. emails aren't 'physical' you mean? Pretty sure they hold up in a courtroom. Pretty sure text messages, carrier pigeon, and telepathy (soon ^tm) would hold up as well. I would love to have the authority of a detective to have some questions from the community asked.
Unfortunately, since there is no media to speak of, we're left to do what we can with the tools available.
"But thousands of people are convinced that a paedophilia ring involving people at the highest levels of the Democratic Party..."
Only a fool would assume, or even accept the assumption, that "the highest levels of the Democratic Party" would ONLY be operating out of a small pizza place in D.C. Hah! The only claims on Comet is that its connected in some way.
Also -- due to the Podesta emails, the Democrats are only in the spotlight because they're the closest to the story. Only fools would assume this sort of conspiracy would be some partisan issue.
Quick Pro Tip: When you're doing a link analysis and all the lines make a hub around one person or location, you can make some pretty easy guesses as to their role in the bigger picture.
"...is operating out of a Washington pizza restaurant."
Had you spent a moment or two doing your own homework, you would have realized that where its 'run' is only conjecture. The evidence points to involvement. If you actually did your research, then this is a subtle strawman argument. Nicely done. Unless you didn't do your homework and don't really know what is being claimed.
"So how did this fake story take hold amongst alt-right Trump supporters and other Hillary Clinton opponents?"
Good thing we did away with the silly pretense of objectivity by the 4th paragraph. I guess this is an editorial, but its certainly not presented that way.
"In early November, as Wikileaks steadily released piles of emails from Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, one contact caught the attention of prankster sites and people on the paranoid fringes."
You completely ignored the ONLY tangible piece of evidence in this entire equation: Podesta's communications. In an article I wrote a week ago, I point out that without the Podesta emails, there would be no PizzaGate, or Spirit Cooking. This investigation would never have began. To ignore that element shows a high degree of dishonesty, or more likely, you didn't care enough to do your own homework. Either way, that's a big no-go.
Eyebrows tend to raise when high ranking officials are discussing 'pizza-related handkerchiefs'
and 'dominoes on pizza or pasta'. Or perhaps you're more interested in dreaming about 'hot-dog stands in Hawaii'.
Maybe they're just talking about black market Pepe cards.
"They trawled Alefantis' Instagram feed for pictures of children and the modern art..."
Wow... again, if you actually did your homework and reached the conclusion that he was being 'trawled for pictures of children and modern art', I don't know what to say. Or more likely, you didn't even do that 'journalist' thing where you investigate before rolling your face on the keyboard.
More worrisome than the images were the comments next to them. That's what really got people raising eyebrows with this.
"... dreamt up a paedophile sex ring involving prominent politicians and political donors."
I like the use of the phrase 'dreamt-up'. For the casual observer (who hasn't done their own homework), it would certainly seem like this was 'dreamt-up'. However, if you actually read the Podesta emails using a coded language related to 'pizza', 'pasta', and 'dominoes', you should at least recognize that there is something rotten in that fridge.
Perhaps they're dealing in stolen Pepe cards... but I doubt it.
"We don't even have a basement."
Hmm... if you speak with Mr. Alefantis again, please ask him where he keeps his cans of tomatoes. He said they are stored in his basement during an interview back in 2015. So, he either lied about having a basement, he was talking about storing tomatoes in another basement, or forgot that he had a basement. Do that journalism thing where you ask questions and get answers based on existing evidence and missing pieces of a puzzle.
Oh -- there's also this property assessment saying he has two stories. So... there's that. Does Jimmy have an upstairs?
""Sometimes an innocent picture of a child in a basket is just an innocent picture of a child in a basket and not proof of a child sex trafficking ring," he says."
How about an innocent picture of a baby chewing on stacks of foreign currency? What about an innocent picture of a girl with her arms taped to a table? How about an innocent picture with a small girl playing with PVC tape? Don't worry about what is written beside the images in the comments, either. That's as unimportant as Podestas emails, which started this rabbit hole vortex.
"Despite the complete lack of physical evidence or victim testimony..."
... If you were committing these sorts of crimes as speculated, why would you leave victims to give testimony?
The Jimmy Saville scandal in the UK has featured in speculation as an example of a serial child abuser getting away with his crimes.
Nice of you to throw in some historical context, at least! More than the New York Times did. Understandable though, since their CEO defended and blocked reports on Saville while working at the BBC.
"There is some evidence that presenting critical information can reduce belief in a theory, but only among people who have not made up their minds yet," Swami says. "For the people who have already made up their minds, it probably won't change anything."
I would be ecstatic if someone could provide credible evidence to explain the meaning behind the code words in Podestas emails and for James Alefantis to explain his 'pedophilic sense of humor'. Never thought I would write that phrase.
Meanwhile, on 4chan, where the whole saga started, while some users continued to promote the rumours, others were lamenting what had happened.
So, the same 4chan that lacks credibility a few paragraphs above is now used as anecdotal evidence of a collapsing hoax. Well played.
Hey Mike Wendell... I think I figured out the problem with most media outlets. All of us that have been living on the internet for years are slowly realizing we can pretty much do our own journalism now, and do it more objectively than relying on being spoon fed from folks such as yourself.
What's the lesson of today? DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK.
Read my previous post on PizzaGate: Simple PizzaGate Thought Experiment
Check out pizza-it.org