Within 24 hours of the deaths of a New Jersey couple, dubious web sites seized on the tragedy as fodder for their latest round of conspiracy theory-driven content.
On 7 July 2018, 72-year-old Carole Paladino and her 73-year-old husband Jon Paladino were killed when their Newfield, New Jersey, home exploded.
The next day conspiracy-minded sites, citing “4Chan and 8Chan users,” published stories promoting the claim that Carole Paladino, a retired school nurse, was “due to testify” in a grand jury investigation against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
The dubious alleged connection here is a two-year old controversy over Mylan Pharmaceuticals (who donated somewhere between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation) having increased the price of EpiPens by more than 400% over the course of several years — something Hillary Clinton herself criticized the company over:
“Over the last several years, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has increased the price of EpiPens by more than 400%. They’re now charging up to $600 for a two-EpiPen set that must be replaced every 12-18 months. This both increases out-of-pocket costs for families and first responders, and contributes to higher premiums for all Americans and their employers,” Clinton said in a statement released to reporters by her campaign.
“That’s outrageous — and it’s just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers … [I]t’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them
Given that John Paladino worked at a funeral home and Carole Paladino was a retired school nurse, it’s unlikely that either of them would have been testifying before a grand jury about the operations of a large pharmaceutical company. Moreover, prosecutors in Gloucester County have told news outlets (and reiterated to us) that foul play is not suspected in the Paladinos’ deaths, so any “news” story attempting to link their demise to a deliberate and furtive criminal plot to keep the couple from testifying against Hillary Clinton is merely another iteration of the “Clinton body bag” rumor that has been disseminated online since Clinton’s husband, Bill, was president back in the 1990s.