Author made $22K over fake news story claiming dummy ballots found in Ohio

Author made $22K over fake news story claiming dummy ballots found in Ohio. (Courtesy: The Birmingham Post/Christian Times Newspaper)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A Maryland man behind the “fake news masterpiece” that claimed thousands of fraudulent votes were found in a Columbus warehouse says he did it for the money.

Cameron Harris operated the ‘Christian Times’ fake news website that published a widely shared story about fraudulent ballots being found in Franklin County.

Harris told the New York Times that he bought an abandoned domain name for $5 and got to work.

The story claimed that an unnamed source said that a maintenance worker inspecting a warehouse found 12 sealed ballot boxes filled with thousands of votes for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming general election. The website asserted that the “likely goal was to slip the fake ballot boxes in with real ballot boxes.”

The story used a picture of ballot boxes taken from a 2015 Birmingham Post article showing ballot boxes.

Shortly after the article was published, WISH-TV’s sister station, WCMH, was inundated with social media posts asking why they weren’t covering the story.

The story was widely shared and prompted a response from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

“Given the severe distrust of the media among Trump supporters, anything that parroted Trump’s talking points people would click. Trump was saying ‘rigged election, rigged election.’ People were predisposed to believe Hillary Clinton could not win except by cheating,” Harris told the Times.

Harris told the New York Times that he made $22,000 from the fake news website during the 2016 election season. He had a chance to sell the website for more than $100,000 but didn’t take it.

The website became worthless after Google pulled advertising from fake news sites.

He told the Times that he spent much of the money on living expenses and student loans.

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