Did NBC cancel its "Saturday Night Live" comedy series? No, the popular long-running late night show has not been cancelled -- despite tweets from President Trump that the show is unfunny and unfair. A report published by a website that bills itself as "America's Last Line of Defense" is a work of satire, although that distinction may escape many readers who share it on social media.
The future of SNL is a question after President Trump recently tweeted that the network should face "retribution" for the "hit jobs" delivered by the show.
Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
The story originated from an article published on February 24, 2019 titled "Fake News NBC Finally Pulls The Plug - Saturday Night Live Canceled" (archived here) which opened:
After pressure from the White House, the FCC, and millions of angry fans demanding they stop disrespecting our President to no avail, NBC has finally shut down the lame show Saturday Night Live.
Fist, they canceled last nights live performance in favor of a re-run that barely talked about politics. Then, afterward, Lorne Michaels made the announcement that NBC had ended production and that his show was dead in the water:
"I think I blame myself, mostly. When Trump was elected we should have known that the giant man-baby would stomp his feet until the adults stopped making fun of him. He's a turd and a gift to satire and parody. unfortunately, he's also a child stuck in a man's body."
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Fake News NBC Finally Pulls The Plug - Saturday Night Live Canceled
S and L is no longer.
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 wearethellod.com, bustatroll.org or bebest.website. 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.
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 bustatroll.org 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 bustatroll.org before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site: