Wilders lambasted for “Fake News” tactics in Netherlands election

Alexander Pechtold, D66D66 leader Alexander Pechtold

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold thinks that PVV leader Geert Wilders crossed a line by spreading a Photoshopped image of Pechtold protesting with what Wilders calls "Hamas terrorists". 

"Often I can laugh over people who are so creative wih pictures on he internet. But not this time", Pechtold writes on his Facebook page. "Because it can give people false ideas.That is clear from my Twitter timeline. So Wilders provokes his supporters."

The original photo comes from a 2009 protest against Wilders in the United Kingdom. He posted the photo on Twitter in response to D66 alderman in Amsterdam Simone Kukenheim saying that if Wilders becomes Prime Minister after the elections, Amsterdam should become a republic. "D66 wants Amsterdam to spilt off if the election results are disappointing. Pechtold demonstrates with Hamas terrorists. Is this the next step?" Wilders tweeted with the photo. 

In his response Pechtold referred to receiving death threats a few months ago. From a PVV supporter, he now revealed. The threats had a massive impact on his kids, he says. "My children also see this image. The unrest, the questions they have I can do away with. But in this time of fake news and alternative facts, the fact that such an image can have further consequences can not be ignored."

"Let us not accept this", Pechtold writes. "I draw the line today. And I hope many with me. From D66 voters to PVV ones."

Wilders responded to Pechtold's Facebook post on Twitter by calling the D66 leader a drama queen.

According to NOS, PvdA leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher said he agreed with Pechtold.

This "fake news" tactic by Wilders was well thought out, framing specialist Sara Gagestein said to BNR. "He wants to put down his own image, namely that Wilders stands for preserving 'our' Netherlands and that Pechtold for example throws the Netherlands on sale. That is his story and by showing such images, the association is once again reinforced." she said. "Wilders knows very well how it works: if you suggest something, the association becomes stronger. Regardless if we believe it, don't believe it or believe it a little bit. Tis is a new way for him to tell the same story and the more he says it, the stronger the image becomes."