Were 13 ISIS members arrested after the 'migrant caravan' arrived in Santa Recto? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to educate gullible Trump supporters and Republicans about the need to actually click and read links before sharing or liking them in order to avoid being embarrassed by fans of the site later. All the events described in the article are not real.
The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on December 10, 2018 titled "BREAKING: 13 ISIS Members Arrested As Migrant Caravan Hits Santa Recto" (archived here) which opened:
Liberals love to tell us that the caravan of more than 5,000 illegals is completely safe. But we know the truth. We know that they are an army coming to invade our sovereign nation. And we also know that among the members of the caravan are dangerous people who want to destroy us.
How do we know this? Because authorities in the small coastal nation of Santa Recto managed to bust a baker's dozen of terrorists who were plotting a bombing in San Jose, California.
According to Santa Rectan authorities, a group of ISIS terrorists led by Safihat Jabn, who is wanted in 6 countries for acts of terrorism, were plotting to use the caravan as cover to enter America to kill thousands of people by blowing up a roller coaster at the California's Great America theme park.
According to Breitbart, the Caravan will reach our borders by the end of this month, so the attack was planned for early January.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so people who shared it based on just this would not have known the entire story was ridiculous:
STOP THEM NOW!
Besides the fact that "Santa Recto" is a fictional place and that the links present in the original article went to unrelated stories about conservative fears and inbreeding in Kentucky there are several other hints the story is fake. For example the categories the article was posted under: ""Caravan Satire Stories to Tell Your Grandchildren" and "Satirical Scandals That Sound Real".
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.
Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018 by Eli Saslow:
November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
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 wearethellod.com as:
A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about wearethellod.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Colin Kaepernick NOT Arrested For Domestic Violence
- Fake News: Clinton Foundation NOT Ordered To Cease Operations - Chelsea NOT Charged With Fraud
- Fake News: Kid Rock, Ted Nugent Did NOT Raise More Than $10 Million to Fight the War on Christmas
- Fake News: Bush, Clinton, Obama Funeral Party Did NOT Trash Air Force One