The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

People can’t stop being inspired by this fake clip of a little girl insulting Trump

(Comedy Central via Twitter)

Who is she, this little girl defying President Trump?

Who cares! Just do like a quarter-million other people have done since Sunday afternoon: Watch these five seconds of context-free footage on Twitter and have an emotional reaction:

Cute kid at a rally somewhere, minding her business, and here comes Trump in his big, baggy suit, sidling up to her, leaning down for the photo op and — BOOM.

The girl spins away. She scowls up at the president, purses her lips and channels the rage of the disaffected millions:

“You’re a disgrace to the world!”

But Trump even tries again, reaching out, suit sleeve on her tiny shoulder. But this girl, she just shoves her phone in his face and grins, like he’s no one important at all.

So, who is she?

“SHE IS THE REAL DEAL.” She’s “the Light of the World.”  Etc. Etc.

“She’s our future,” wrote one viewer in an ever-lengthening comment thread.

Yep, basically: Our future of fake news, because this is a clip from last week’s episode of “The President Show.” And it’s obviously fake. The video was debunked almost immediately, in the same thread where — as of late Friday morning — people continued to praise the girl’s heroism.

Anthony Atamanuik, the actor who impersonates Trump in the footage, even explained the clip’s origins three hours after someone posted a blurry version of it on Twitter.

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In the full segment from last week’s episode of “The President Show,” Atamanuik-as-Trump drives past the rally and is dismayed to hear people protesting him. So he gets out of the car with fake security guards and wanders into spectacle, as a light crowd laughs and takes photos.

“What a wonderful little girl,” he says to the girl dubbed Light of the World. “You want to take a picture with me?”

The girl says her thing. Fake Trump agrees: “I am a disgrace to the world,” and wanders away to do a bit about his tax returns.

There have been many explanations of the video. And yet, it doesn’t seem to matter. At all.

“I will follow her into hell,” Kaitlyn Plyley wrote Monday morning — after Atamanuik, BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Keith Olbermann had all explained the truth about the scene.

Not that this should surprise anyone, at this point.

Did you hear how a student with a handgun stopped last week’s knife attack at the University of Texas? Debunked. But it’s still spreading, even when people point out that it’s been debunked.

Doesn’t that new GOP health bill make rape a preexisting condition? Yeah, no.

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We don’t even need to get into the real Trump’s shaky relationship with fake news to make the point — our new fake world is boundless and bipartisan.

“Many people don’t look for something they like to be debunked,” said Brooke Binkowski, an editor for Snopes, which debunked the rally video late Monday morning, as it approached 200,000 retweets. “It continued to make the rounds until we showed up to ruin it for everybody.”

As for that girl at the rally who called Trump a disgrace to the world: “She said that if [sic] her own volition,” Atamanuik wrote on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Comedy Central told The Washington Post on Monday: “The girl in the segment was not a paid actor and she was not scripted in any way. It was a true reaction captured during the filming of a man on the street field piece.”

But the girl said her piece during the actor’s obviously staged intrusion at last month’s (real) Tax Day protests at the Capitol.

Atamanuik’s show debuted last month, and no episode has gone nearly as viral as the five-second bootleg posted last night by a third party, with all attribution removed.

The co-star of that scene, however, seems to know a good thing when he sees it. Fake Trump is all about the girl now, too.

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