Fake news king dies in Phoenix. But is he really dead?

Paul Horner on an occasion when, he says, he helped hand out hundreds of pairs of socks and over 300 burritos. /Photograph: sockitforward.com

By Maria L La Ganga | The Guardian

Paul Horner, the high-profile purveyor of fake news, died this month in much the way he lived – surrounded by questions, skepticism, uncertainty. The first words out of Jeffrey Augustine’s mouth, when asked about his friend’s demise, were: “Is he really dead?”

Brooke Binkowski, managing editor of the fact-checking website snopes.com, called Horner’s death “alleged”, adding she was only half joking. “I want to write an obituary,” she said, “but what if he’s not dead? Nothing’s true. Everything’s true. It’s amazing.”

Even responses to the Facebook tribute posted by Horner’s brother, JJ, were riddled with doubt: “Is this real?” posted one friend. “Under mostly all other circumstances, I would never even utter that question, let alone think it, but this is Paul we are talking about.”

The uncertainty surrounding Horner’s death is just the latest twist in the story of the shadowy figure who managed to leave his mark on the 2016 US presidential election. While to liberals Horner is a villain who may have helped swing the vote in favor of Trump, members of his family say he was a generous soul who created a charity that donated socks to homeless people.

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