Moral of this story?
Recognizing the power of networks and nodes and understanding why certain messages become more wide-spread than others (whether by merit, messenger, or manipulation) are important media literacy skills.
Sort of a uniquely 21st century skill, no? (Or, the 21st century version of ballot-stuffing)...
One way or another, this is the sort of thing our students have to deal with; so we should be educated in it as well.