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Internet meme tries shaming Trump into releasing tax returns

Engadget logo Engadget 9/08/2016 David Lumb
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Way back in the years and months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, a loudmouth businessman and reality TV star named Donald Trump continued to push a disproved and fallacious controversy asking Obama to reveal his birth certificate. The paranoid believed it would prove he was born in Kenya and thus ineligible for the office, but the White House released it in 2011 anyway, shutting them down. Still Trump clamored on, shoddily ventriloquizing that not he but others still believed Obama was a fake. Now it's 2016 and the outsider has somehow become the Republican presidential candidate — and a smattering of internet trolls have turned the tables, claiming that someone else told them he'd donated to the pedophilic North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).

To be clear, as The Daily Beast's Ben Collins writes, it is incredibly unlikely that Trump donated to an association promoting romantic and sexual relationships between adult men and young boys. Heck, we would never know since NAMBLA is not a non-profit organization and, given its private nature, can legally hide any and all donations, according toThe Washington Post. It's unclear if NAMBLA even really exists anymore, as VICEdrummed up only secondhand guesses to its far-dwindled membership. It had become so unknown that Jon Stewart used its acronym as a punchline on The Daily Show, given that most viewers would be clueless as to what it was.

No, the point of the pressure is to fling Trump's hearsay back at him. By couching his language as passing along the opinions of others, he refuses to take responsibility for his more volatile, aggressive and outlandish claims. By doing so, it stays in the public conversation. So somebody built a bot called AutoModerator and assigned it to post equally ridiculous things about the GOP candidate in the comment sections of the EnoughTrumpSpam subreddit. Here's an example that's cropped up in a few threads:

Sound familiar? The point is partially to hammer him into releasing his tax records, so that the world can see where his money is going, and if as much of it is going to charity as he claims. Every presidential candidate in the last four decades has done this, the Post points out.

But it's also to show how ridiculous his shady attack strategy is. Now Trump's name is linked with NAMBLA, a pro-contact pedophilia organization, in the national conversation (and in search results). Ideally, this gets everyone to wonder how a fake conspiracy could get this much attention — and then realize how similar it is to the baseless allegations spouted by the GOP candidate for the presidency. And perhaps people will sit up and finally hear what mainstream media has been saying about Trump for months: That he spouts baseless allegations that would get any other candidate booted, and the country lets him get away with it.

The Daily Beast

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