Did a woman in Columbia, South Carolina (or anywhere else) stab her husband (named Paul Houston or something else) to death for leaving skid marks in the toilet? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a site that is part of a larger network of websites all set up to resemble local or national news websites but which only publish invented stories usually set in small towns and cities in America. The story is not real.
The story originated from an article published by News Insider on January 3, 2019 titled "Columbia, SC: Woman stabs husband to death after he kept leaving skid marks in the toilet" (archived here) which opened:
A 53-year old Columbia, South Carolina man has been murdered in a violent attack by his 47-year old wife after he reportedly ignored her continued pleas to 'stop leaving skid marks in the toilet'.
Paul Houston was found dead of multiple stab wounds at the property he shared with his wife, Valerie Houston. Neighbors heard a violent dispute from the residence and alerted authorities, who were soon on the scene.
"There was nothing we could do for the victim, he had already passed away from blood loss prior to our arrival," said one of the paramedics who responded to the scene.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so it wouldn't immediately have been obvious the story was not from a legitimate news outlet:
A 53-year old Columbia, South Carolina man has been murdered in a violent attack by his 47-year old wife after he reportedly ignored her continued pleas to 'stop leaving skid marks in the toilet'.Paul Houston was found dead of multiple stab wounds at
the website newsinsider-us.com was only registered a few days ago and has nothing to do with the real CBS News:
The site is part of a larger network of sites all designed to look like news sites from real U.S. news and entertainment brands. Older sites we identified as being part of this network include:
The current site shares several advertising network ID codes with other sites in this network.
The website newsinsider-us.com also carries a satire disclaimer at the bottom of the page, a relatively new development for sits in this network:
News Insider is the second most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it's disturbingly funny, you will find it here. © 2019 - News Insider. All Rights Reserved.
Stories published by the network are often copied or inspired by older hoaxes from other satire or fake news sites but the quality of the writing is usually markedly better. The setting of the events is often some small town somewhere in the United States and in many cases the main illustration used is a picture found on the internet showing a police car from the local police force or a sign with the town's name on it. The same story is often re-used by changing the location and/or names of the people involved.
We wrote about newsinsider-us.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site: