Fake News: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Will NOT Take Over McCain's Seat In The Senate

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Will NOT Take Over McCain's Seat In The Senate

Is Sheriff Joe Arpaio replacing John McCain in the senate now the senator passed away? No, that's not true, the story was published by a website that is part of a network of satirical fake news sites that make it a sport to get conservatives and Trump supporters to share unlikely and over the top fake news so fans of the site can mock them for it. The story is not real.

The story originated from an article published on the website trumpbetrayed.us on August 26, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Will Take Over McCain's Seat In The Senate" (archived here) which opened:

John McCain's death has left a vacancy on the US Senate. The good news for the GOP is that Governor Jaleel White, a Republican like Bobby Jindal, has decided to appoint a man who will vote with Donald Trump.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned by President Trump for refusing to listen to some liberal judge, will take McCain's seat and defend it in 2020. The news comes just as another prominent political figure, Hillary Clinton, filed in court to initiate a special election, with her facing Arpaio in a one-on-one showdown.

Unfortunately, Clinton may have a case. Although the filing deadline was May 20th for a special election, McCain was still alive. A judge could definitely extend the deadline and allow the pair to square off, even if it didn't happen until November.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

BREAKING: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Will Take Over McCain's Seat In The Senate

The news just came down from the Arizona State House.

But the governor of Arizona is Doug Ducey, not "Jaleel White":

Arizona governor, a Republican, to appoint McCain successor

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will be tasked with appointing a successor to John McCain, the six-term Republican senator who died Saturday at age 81. As McCain battled brain cancer, Ducey, a Republican, did not speculate publicly about who he might tap to replace him.

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 site is part of a larger network of sites run by 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.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  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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