Fake News: Cohen NOT Charged With Collusion And Treason

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Cohen NOT Charged With Collusion And Treason

Was President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen charged with collusion and treason? No, that story originated on a site that is specialized in posting fake stories designed to wind up conservatives and Trump supporters, it is not true (yet?).

The fake story originated in an article published on April 26, 2018 by Daily World Update under the headline "BREAKING: Cohen Charged With Collusion And Treason-Still Won't Flip On Trump" (archived here) which opened:

An aide to Robert Mueller was seen running from Capitol Hill to the FBI building earlier today, confirming what a leaked email to the editor of the Ontario Tribune already told us: Michael Cohen will be charged with collusion and treason for facilitating meetings between high-powered Russian oligarchs, his staff and Vladimir Putin's legal counsel.

Cohen's attorney says he will continue to plead the 5th to these totally false charges and most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. He also reassured the public and trump's supporters in particular that there was no way Cohen would flip on the boss:

"Any knowledge Mr. Cohen has about President trump stays with Mr. Cohen as privileged. Until he's compelled by a court to throw his own rights in the toilet. President Trump should know that his darkest secrets are safely tucked away."

The social media summary was brief and seems to have been mainly designed to rile up certain people:

BREAKING: Cohen Charged With Collusion And Treason-Still Won't Flip On Trump

Mueller may have gone too far.

Of course there is no newspaper named the Ontario Tribune so there are no leaked emails either.

The site comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:

sat·ire ~ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with "comedy," you should really just move along.

The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites, including potatriotpost.us, dailyworldupdate.us and nofakenewsonline.us. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll". A second man working on the sites is John Prager as revealed in this earlier story we wrote.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up and he keeps knocking them down.

If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.

We wrote about dailyworldupdate.us before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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