Fake News: Trump Did NOT Delete Nine Tweets While Attempting to Spell "Subpoena"

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Trump Did NOT Delete Nine Tweets While Attempting to Spell "Subpoena"

Did President Donald Trump delete nine tweets while attempting to spell the word "subpoena" correctly? No, that's not true: it was an invented by a satire website, the 'news' was not real.

The "subpoena" tweet story originated from an article published on May 2, 2018 by The Borowitz Report that was titled "Trump Deletes Nine Tweets While Attempting to Spell "Subpoena"" (archived here) and which opened:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)--Donald J. Trump deleted nine tweets early Wednesday morning in a failed attempt to spell the word "subpoena," a White House source confirmed.

According to the source, Trump spent more than an hour angrily trying to spell the legal term before giving up in disgust.

"I've never seen him so enraged," the source said. "He hates the word 'subpoena' more than the E.P.A. hates the words 'climate' and 'change.' "

People could be forgiven for thinking this bit of satire was real because in the past Trump actually needed three attempts to use "hereby" correctly in a tweet:

Best Tweets About Donald Trump Needing Three Attempts to Spell Hereby | Lead Stories

Politics President Donald Trump had a little bit of trouble trying to get following tweet out: I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it. https://t.co/qCDljfF3wN -- Donald J.

Add that to the fact that the story came from The New Yorker and it seems logical many people would fall for it. But it actually appeared in the satire column of The New Yorker ("The Borowitz Report" by Andy Borowitz) which was acquired in 2012 by the magazine. Although the section with the columns and all the articles in it are clearly marked as satire the stories frequently get confused for real news by people who only see the title and summary on social media and who assume it must be real because the link goes to the actual website of The New Yorker. To them it would look somewhat like this, with an easy to miss "Not the news" being the only indication it is not real:

In part to combat this the main page of The Borowitz Report comes with a clear heading that simply states:

Satire from the Borowitz Report


To be safe, whenever you see a link that goes to any article on the "newyorker.com" website, always check if the rest of the link says "/humor/borowitz-report/" somewhere. If it does, don't believe a thing you read...

We wrote about newyorker.com 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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