Fake News: Chevy Chase NOT Dead at 89, Did NOT Donate Estate to Wall Fund

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Chevy Chase NOT Dead at 89, Did NOT Donate Estate to Wall Fund

Did actor and comedian Chevy Chase die and did he leave his estate to a fund to build a border wall? 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. Chase is not dead and most of the details in the article are made up.

The story originated from an article published by Be Best Website on January 9, 2019 titled "Chevy Chase Dead at 89 : Donates Estate to Wall Fund" (archived here) which opened:

Funnyman - actor - father of 4, grandfather of 27. Classic star Cheverton Chase passed away this morning at his mansion in Laguna Beach at age 89. Chase, an ardent supporter of President Trump and a lifelong conservative Republican, reportedly changed his will just a week ago to have his entire fortune donated to the fund to build a border wall. His children are expected to challenge the court.

Chase was discovered inert at 6:30 a.m. by housekeeper Lupita Del Puta. Cause of death, as determined by the state coroner, was "a severe abdominal explosive event", caused by toxic ingestion. Laguna Beach police say the beloved actor had eaten a 35- year old candy bar, specifically a Baby Ruth, kept from his movie : "Caddyshack" sometime during the night. The bar, covered in countless molds and bacteria reacted with his immune system, causing his stomach and adjacent organs to inflate and burst. Foul play is not suspected.

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

Chevy Chase Dead at 89 : Donates Estate to Wall Fund

After "being the ball"...he's building the wall.

First of all, Chase's full name is "Cornelius Crane Chase" and he is currently 75 years old, not 89. He is also known as a lifelong liberal. He is also not the founder of the Chase bank, as the article suggested (that bank was formed in 1955 after a merger involving the Chase National Bank founded in 1877, Chevy Chase would have been twelve years old at the time of the merger). The rest of the article continues in the same vein.

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.

Sites in the network it is part of have published other hoax stories about celebrities passing away and donating their estate to President Trump's re-election or similar causes before.

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:

'Nothing on this page is real': How lies become truth in online America

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:

The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories

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 bebest.website 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 bebest.website before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an 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.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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