Jake Tapper's Alleged "Pizzagate" Messages Will Make You Like Him Even More

If you've been following the news recently — specifically, about the surging tide of conspiracy theories, propaganda, and outright disinformation currently being shorthanded by many outlets as "fake news" — then there's a good chance you heard what happened at the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. last week. And if so, then there's a good chance you and a certain CNN host might be in a similar place right now. Suffice to say, Jake Tapper's "Pizzagate" alleged direct messages on Twitter will make you like him even more.

In the event you're not familiar with what happened at Comet Ping Pong, the D.C. restaurant became the subject of a sprawling, utterly baseless conspiracy theory last month, alleging its involvement in a sex trafficking ring. It's entirely false, a prototypical example of how insinuation, paranoia, and confirmation bias can lead some overly credulous people to very dark places. And it had dire consequences last week, as Comet Ping Pong suffered a horrifying incident — an armed man entered the restaurant and fired his rifle.

Mercifully, nobody was hurt, and the gunman surrendered — reportedly, after ascertaining firsthand that the Pizzagate conspiracy theory was bunk. But some in high places have helped fan the flames of this unfounded conspiracy theory, such as incoming Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, and his son and adviser, Michael Flynn Jr. In fact, Michael Jr. continued pushing the Pizzagate falsehoods hours after the incident at Comet Ping Pong.

This is reportedly where Tapper came in. Possibly incensed by a figure of such relative power and influence spreading such irresponsible and dangerous muck, the CNN host allegedly slid into Michael Jr.'s DMs with some righteous indignation. The screenshots were later posted by pro-Trump activist Jack Posobiec, and followed up on by Michael Jr. himself. Bustle has reached out to Tapper for comment on whether the alleged messages were actually from him or not.

Needless to say, if you're not a conspiracy theorist of the Alex Jones bent, it's Tapper's reported messages that shine through here. Michael Jr.'s response, that he "hit a nerve," was also tweeted at Jones himself, along with one of his conspiracy website's editors.

Tapper, even if he didn't actually send the messages, has already paid a price for the alleged candor and personal plea to Michael Jr. to start behaving responsibly, as there are plenty of Pizzagate-obsessed Twitter trolls who've now concluded Tapper must be in on it, too. But that's the grisly reality with theories like these — nothing is exonerating, and everything is indicting.

For instance, many of the trolls now claim the gunman who entered Comet Ping Pong, hoping to find sex-trafficked children inside to confirm the theory, is actually an actor involved in a false-flag event — a development that must be quite a mind trip for the guy. This shouldn't come as much surprise; like 9/11 and Sandy Hook truthers before them, "false flag" is one of the reliable rallying cries of the conspiratorial far-right, and sometimes the far-left, too.

In simple terms, when someone gets an idea like this into their head, it can be almost impossible to convince them otherwise, assuming they're professing it in good faith. Hopefully someday the bubble will burst, but for now, the dangers posed by this particular theory don't seem to be over.