Late Thursday night and Friday morning as people were waking up, a new hashtag was making the rounds on social media. The #BowlingGreenMassacre sounds like a terrible thing to wake up to, and many were likely clicking on the hashtag with trepidation about what they' would learn, but were resigned to being informed. So just what is the Bowling Green massacre? As it turns out, it's nothing, because it never actually happened.
During an interview Thursday with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Conway, an adviser to the president, defended President Donald Trump’s travel ban involving seven majority-Muslim countries. During the segment, Conway made a reference to two Iraqi refugees she described as the "masterminds" behind “the Bowling Green massacre.” That sounds like an awful thing, except it's not a thing that actually occurred.
Fact check: there were two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green who were arrested in 2011, and later sentenced to federal prison, for making attempts to send weapons and money to al-Qaeda back in Iraq which were intended for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers, according to a statement from the Justice Department and the Washington Post piece linked above. The two men, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan, were sentenced to life in federal prison, and 31 to 40 years in federal prison followed by a life term of supervised release, respectively. Both men pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges.
Conway’s remarks during the interview are likely just a way to politicize the arrests to drum up support for blocking refugees from reaching the United States. The temporary ban, imposed by an executive order by President Trump, has been controversial, to say the least, and has produced outcry not just from protests, but also in the business world and amongst foreign leaders as well.
Users on Twitter and other social media outlets are having a bit of a field day with the "alternative fact" Conway provided in the interview, with the #BowlingGreenMassacre hashtag offering plenty of funny reactions, jokes, and memes in response to her remarks.
Comments previously made by Trump in regards to Frederick Douglass, which social media also poked fun at, were mocked in some of the responses.
"Saddened and sickened by Frederick Douglass' silence surrounding the Bowling Green Massacre," Natasha Rothwell tweeted.
"One still shudders to think how bad the Bowling Green massacre would've been if not for the heroic intervention of Fred Douglass," Alec MacGillis said.
Internet celebrity and blogger Chris Crocker got in on the fun, too, in an "interview" where he acted out both Conway and someone interviewing her.
Some made up their own alternative facts about the fictional attack.
"So sad to hear about The Bowling Green Massacre," @bourgeoisalien tweeted, "15 ewoks, the entire Smurf village, and Mike & Carol Brady all killed. Thoughts & prayers."
And CNN admitted to the lapse in reporting Conway claimed of the media following the "massacre," tweeting, "Kellyanne Conway is right. We did not cover the Bowling Green massacre — because it never happened"
Twitter user Natasha Konczak welcomed others to join in on the viral hashtag. "retweet if you died in the Bowling Green Massacre," she posted.
And others, like writer Shaun King, made sure to remind us of the real failure on the part of the administration's coverage and response to real, actual terrorist attacks.
"Donald Trump & the White House have now talked more about the fake Bowling Green Massacre than the bigot who murdered 6 Muslims this weekend," he tweeted this morning.
This is one story the internet is not likely to let Conway forget anytime soon.