That certainly seemed to be the case in a story I wrote about in June, involving a group of alt-right activists who rallied against anarchists they believed were seeking to tear down a statue of Sam Houston in Houston’s Hermann Park. The problem was that there were no anti-statue activists, and the story appears to have been made up by a right-winger trying to rile up his own compatriots. But even after being told that the report that had them so irate was false, alt-righters rallied anyway, alternately denying that the news was fake or claiming that it didn’t matter. Ultimately, it became clear that the factual truth of the story was irrelevant. The whole fake-news moment, as Ryan says, was just a vehicle for folks to express an otherwise socially unacceptable enthusiasm for 19th-century slaveholders.