There has been much speculation about Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who crashed a Germanwings airliner into a French mountainside last week.
Questions have been raised about his motivations and mental stability.
The Washington Post reported Lubitz had told Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, about a "previous episode of severe depression" in 2009. ABC News reported that Lubitz was recently hospitalized, possibly for depression (video below).
Beyond his mental state, the conservative web site The Gateway Pundit screamed the headline, "GERMAN NEWS REPORT: Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus Was MUSLIM CONVERT …’Hero of Islamic State’?"
The story was copied and pasted around the web.
However, The New York Times reported, "The German investigators said they had not found a suicide note or 'any indication of a political or religious' nature among the documents from Mr. Lubitz’s apartment in Düsseldorf."
For its source, The Gateway Pundit linked to Spelsa.com, which linked to PI-News.net writer Michael Mannheimer's blog, however, that blog page has since been removed.
Gawker notes Mannheimer's blog claimed that Lubitz did pilot training in Bremen, Germany where a mosque was investigated for alleged supporting ISIS, and that Lubitz took a leave of absence from work for a few months. While both claims are true, they doesn't prove that Lubitz was a Muslim or crashed the plane as a terrorist act.
Psychologist Warren Throckmorton and Grove City College psychology major Megan Hurst cited claims about a fake Facebook page that was set up to supposedly prove that Lubitz was Muslim.
Throckmorton and Hurst added: "Unfortunately, belief perseverance and confirmation bias work together to create a sense of certainty which is unwarranted by the evidence. People often stick to their original beliefs and choose to discard useful facts and opinions that don’t closely match their preconceptions."