"Conservatives including Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity have shared misleading figures about arsonists igniting wildfires."
"Multiple Australian state police agencies have found limited evidence to suggest the major destructive wildfires in their states were ignited by arsonists, contradicting the international onslaught of misinformation suggesting otherwise.
A misleading figure shared by conservative media, apparent bots and trolls, and public figures ―including Donald Trump Jr. and veteran Fox News host Sean Hannity ― suggests that 183, or “nearly 200” arsonists have been arrested this bushfire season.
The Australian newspaper first reported 180 alleged arsonists were arrested “since the start of the bushfire season” in September but subsequently updated the story to reflect that these statistics were, in fact, covering the entirety of 2019. Trump Jr. and Hannity, among others, spread the initial inaccurate statistic."
Josephine Harvey reports for Huffpost January 8, 2020.
"The Viral False Claim That Nearly 200 Arsonists Are Behind The Australia Fires, Explained" (Vox)