This is how the rumors and lies spread

The Internet was abuzz Thursday morning with rumors that Chief Justice John Roberts would resign for personal reasons—a report that was later proven to be false. Where did it originate? Above the Law says it started in Professor Peter Tague’s criminal-law class at Georgetown University Law Center. Apparently, Tague taught a lesson today on what one student calls “the validity of informants not explaining their sources.” He started the 9 a.m. class by telling his students that, they couldn’t tell anyone, but he had heard from unnamed sources that Roberts would be stepping down. At 9:30, he told them he was joking, but by that point the rumor had already taken off online, notably on, which published its first report at 9:10 a.m. EST.

How many people never hear the retraction and continue to spread the rumors and lies?  How much does this phenomena contribute to our political disconnect?


Filed under Conspiracies, The Internet

2 responses to “This is how the rumors and lies spread

  1. indypendent

    Without gossip and innuendo, some of these so-called news networks and their talking heads would be notably silent. And in all these cases – their silence is preferable to their talking.

  2. Journalism got sloppy a long time ago. It used to be a matter of pride that a journalist would confirm facts in a story before he would submit it. And it used to be part of an editor’s job to make sure that the facts were confirmed before he sent the story to print. Now it is all about speed.

    People have always loved gossip, some more than others, and I believe they always will. But the phenomenon of “mainstream” news sources picking up a story from blogs and less-than-credible sources is relatively new and sadly what is destroying journalism.