Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Donald Trump (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images); Marianne Williamson (Michael Kovac/Getty Images); Charles Manson (Bettman/Getty Images

Is it within the realm of possibility that President Trump would offer a pardon to deceased cult leader Charles Manson? Sure! He’s pardoned war criminals and, you know, it would probably trigger the libs or something. But maybe dig a little bit deeper if you see a headline claiming as much, especially if you’re angling to occupy the White House yourself. Marianne Williamson, the self-help author and political hopeful, learned that the hard way when, on Sunday night, she took a break from calling vaccines “Orwellian” to call out our president for his posthumous pardon of Manson...which never happened.

“There is something deeply sinister about Trump pardoning Charles Manson, even posthumously,” Williamson declared to her 2.8 million followers in a now-deleted tweet. “Dog whistles of the very worst possible kind …”

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Her followers were quick to point out that Trump did no such thing, speculating that the Democratic presidential candidate was likely responding to a satirical article from something called the Moron Majority that, in mid-November, was shared by the Daily Kos. It’s hard to call it “fake news” since it’s so clearly satire, but Rudy Giuliani was waving around print-outs from a conspiracy website and calling them “affidavits” on Fox News a few months ago, so this is just reality now.

Williamson posted a retraction shortly thereafter, saying she was “Glad To have been wrong,” but ended up deleting that, too, because, well, this is all just extremely embarrassing. 

[via Washington Post]

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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