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In-Depth Interview: Filmmaker Leslie Iwerks Reveals 2016 Fake News Sites Based in Macedonia

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Leslie Iwerks, a veteran documentary film producer, went to Macedonia to get the story from one town that sourced fake news on over 1,000 sites in 2016, with no connection to Russia.The half-hour film is called Selling Lies; visit her website to get info and free screenings through November 3.

Iwerks comes from a great Hollywood family.  Her grandfather co-created Mickey Mouse, and her father worked in the biz, too.

She went to Macedonia to get the low-down on a nest of website creators who generated fake news websites and fake content that was fed to Americans on social media in 2016.  Using American writers and ad services, they fed fake reports to millions of Americans, generating $50-60 million in revenues from their click-bait.  Iwerks explains that they initially ran real news on Hillary Clinton, and when that failed to generate clicks, they shifted to pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stories that scored big in America.  It appears that Pizzagate was dreamed up in Veles, Macedonia.

We discuss, and sometimes disagree on, the efforts to ban and suppress Alex Jones, Qanon, and most recently, the Hunter Biden stories.  PBC explains the Iwerks' film supports his belief that Russian influence efforts in 2016 were weak and amateurish, especially compared to the Macedonians.  And we agree that American players--from the Baltimore unemployed guy who made over $60,000 with the false viral post that the Pope had endorsed Trump to the pro-Democratic catnip served up by the Palmer Report--helped "sow division" in 2016.