Was liberal activist Fiona Dourif arrested after causing a series of explosions in Massachusetts yesterday by burning stolen Trump campaign signs? No, that's not true: a liberal satire website is once again using the name of a popular actress in a fake story designed to get conservatives and Trump supporters angry enough so they share it without checking (or even reading the full article). The explosions did happen but the whole story about the liberal activist is completely made up.
The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on September 14, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Crazed Liberal Burning Trump Signs Caused Massachusetts Explosions" (archived here) which opened:
Police have identified the cause of the massive explosions that rocked Massachusetts on Thursday night. Firefighters bravely fought fires at 40 homes and businesses as a result of a gas explosion. But the massive explosions weren't an accident. They were caused by the gross criminal negligence of an anti-Trump liberal.
Fiona Dourif, 22, was arrested Thursday night after police discovered the source of the explosions: a pile of burned Trump signs the well-known liberal activist and former Clinton campaign volunteer had collected and lit ablaze.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so they may have confused it for real news:
Police have identified the cause of the massive explosions that rocked Massachusetts on Thursday night. Firefighters bravely fought fires at 40 homes and businesses as a result of a gas explosion. But the massive explosions
However the woman in the mugshot is not actress Fiona Dourif:
Michelle Watson's mug shot went viral after the Smoking Gun posted details of her recent arrest. Cops witnessed Watson driving recklessly near Prescott College on Grove Avenue before pulling her over, says the report. Once out of the vehicle, she began dropping f-bombs and screaming at the officers, then resisted their efforst to cuff her, kneeing one officer in the groin as he grabbed her purse.
You can read more about Dourif here:
Fiona Dourif, Actress: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Fiona Dourif is an American actress and producer. She began her career in 2004 working for Kaos productions, producing documentaries for The History Channel and TLC.
The website that pushed the hoax used Dourif's name as a character in other hoax stories before. This is the third story featuring her that we've debunked so far.
The hoax story also provided incorrect numbers on the number of dead and injured, but it did link to this (real) CNN report about the explosion:
Explosions and fires that rocked nearly 40 homes and businesses in three Massachusetts towns on Thursday may have resulted from an issue with gas service, officials said.
The site comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:
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.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes trumpbetrayed.us as:
A website claiming to be satirical that publishes fabricated stories, run by Christopher Blair, a known purveyor of disinformation, that published fake stories about Senator John McCain after he passed away.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about trumpbetrayed.us before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: NC Clerk Did NOT Refuse To Sell Gas To Man Fleeing Hurricane Over Trump Bumper Sticker
- Fake News: Patriot Volunteers Did NOT Arrive To Guard Hurricane Areas From Looting Thugs
- Fake News: 5,000 People Did NOT Dump Shoes In Front Of Nike Headquarters
- Fake News: Nike Did NOT Fire Colin Kaepernick After Arrest (Which Did NOT Happen Either)
- Fake News: Benghazi Wife Did NOT File Wrongful Death Suit Against Clinton