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Published On: Mon, Nov 6th, 2017

Fake News: Media misreports Chris Ward as Texas shooter, Sam Hyde meme fools Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

The media circus after a mass shooting or terrorist attack create a culture ripe with false reports and bogus details. The tragic Texas church shooting yesterday was no exception as many media sources misreported Chris Ward as the shooter or fell for the Sam Hyde joke. In fact, the Sam Hyde meme fooled Texas Congressman Vicente Gonzalez who pronounced Sam Hyde the shooter on CNN.

“It was reported to me that [the shooter is] actually not from this community,” Gonzalez said on CNN. “Apparently, his name was released as ‘Sam Hyde.’ That’s the name I was given.”

The Democratic leader was fooled by a meme involving alt-right figures and other internet trolls posting pictures of “Sam Hyde” — a white man with glasses and blonde hair — holding a gun, typically with the caption, “BREAKING: Shooter confirmed to be Sam Hyde.”

The meme originated several years ago as shootings began to garner more and more media attention, leading outlets to rely on unreliable internet sources for information, so as to be the first to report the gunman’s name.

Hyde is one-third of a sketch comedy group that briefly had its own series on Adult Swim, a show which was canceled after six episodes.

Sam Hyde photos used in memes to create false and misleading reports

Los Angeles Times led the parade of false reports with Chris Ward’s name as the shooter. The rumors as formed after Ward’s family friend, Gracie Crews, told the Los Angeles Times that Ward’s wife and three children are among the victims of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

Another rumor involving Ward’s name is linked to CBS who ran a report quoting a woman who works at a store near the church said she had heard the gunman was Chris Ward.

Sadly, Ward’s family were victims in the shooting.

photo/ Gordon Johnson

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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