The brains behind one of the most influential fake news sites is none other than a married gay couple, according to a recent profile in The Hollywood Reporter.
Sean Adl-Tabatabai and his husband, Sinclair Treadway, were one of the first couples to tie the knot when the United Kingdom passed marriage equality in 2014. Around the same time, Adl-Tabatabai launched Your News Wire, a competitor to websites like InfoWars, The Blaze, and American News. THR calls it “Breitbart for liberals.”
Treadway, a disenchanted Bernie Sanders supporter, says that the website’s mission is nonpartisan. It hopes to report the news “people aren’t focusing on the information that the public isn’t already being told.”
Your News Wire came to prominence following the Pizzagate scandal in 2016. Fake news sites spread false allegations that Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, was running an underage sex trafficking ring out of a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. One post on the scandal was shared 28,000 times on Facebook.
— Gary Baum (@garymbaum) September 21, 2017
Some of Your News Wire’s more widely circulated stories include a fictitious post claiming the U.K. government knew about the attack on Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert in advance and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in Benghazi. Sean Hannity was forced to apologize last year after circulating a false report from the website that Michelle and Barack Obama unfollowed Clinton on Twitter after news about her email scandal broke.
Your News Website recently claimed that Lady Gaga’s fibromyalgia diagnosis is “punishment” for being a member of the Illuminati.
Your News Wire’s strategy is simple: Take a small detail of an existing story, distort it, and then blow it up to well past its furthest logical extreme. This has earned the website a dedicated following on Facebook and Twitter, where a respective 26,000 and 18,000 people are fed their posts every day. But it’s also run afoul of Google, who dropped the site from its AdSense last year for its role in disseminating propaganda.
Its coverage is frequently targeted by Snopes, who claims Your News Wire has a “track record of promoting false information.” The fact-checking site has already debunked 16 of its articles this year.
“Reality is how you perceive it,” says Adl-Tabatabai. “You can change that perception of realitydictate it.”
When it comes to the King of Fake News, the couple sees common ground.
“[Trump] may be a buffoon, and he may make some really bad mistakes during his presidency, but he’s still an anti-establishment figure,” claims Adl-Tabatabai. “A vote for him was a vote to smash the system.”