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It’s become a familiar pattern that mass shootings are often exploited by the right to scapegoat marginalized groups. The tragedy in Uvalade, Tex., is no exception. Within hours of the news of the school shooting, trolls on social media were fabricating a story that the shooter was trans, a fiction that was picked up by at least one Republican politician.

Parker Molloy, who followed this story in the newsletter The Present Age, joins this week’s episode of The Time of Monsters to talk about this fabrication and the wider problem of sorting fact from fiction in a news story. We also take up the issue of police dishonesty, as displayed in shifting stories and the too credulous acceptance of other social media reports.