The website The Last Line of Defense -- which acknowledges it publishes fake and satirical articles -- posted a fake story titled: "Pregnant Obama Mistress Revealed!"
The story opens:
The identity of former president Barack Obama's pregnant mistress has been revealed. Her name is Cassidy McLean from Montbleau, Colorado. Obama met her while on a ski trip to Aspen without his family in 2014. He hired her to be a receptionist in the West Wing and now, two years later, she is expecting his child.
This is a fake story intended to gain social media shares by appealing to anti-Obama readers who would be quick to share it.
How do we know it is fake. First, the photo of the alleged Obama mistress was actually lifted from this real article about female body image.
We also know because of the background of the website.
The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense is a fake news website that carries following disclaimer on its about page:
DISCLAIMER: The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don't necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real.
The site also tends to include nonsensical phrases or insults hints in the list of "categories" under the article titles:
According to Buzzfeed the site was originally meant to troll conservatives with over the top satirical articles but now appears to be used as a 'source' by a large network of actual fake news sites (not related to the original creator) that all repost the same articles mentioning it as the source but not acknowlediging the satire disclaimer. This causes many people to believe the fake stories especially when they are being shared on social media where all context is removed and only the title, image and description remain. Sites in the network appear to include:
- American News
- Conservative Info corner
- Conservative Army
- Open Magazines
- True Trumpers
- Blue Vision News
- Conservative Flash News
- Red Country
The click bait strategy is working. Unknowing readers are sharing it widely as you can see in the Trendolizer graph at the end of this article. If you notice anyone spreading the rumor around you can help by pointing them to this article here because nobody likes fake news.