Fake News: David Hogg, Protest Group NOT Blocking Washington Parade

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: David Hogg, Protest Group NOT Blocking Washington Parade

Did Parkland massacre survivor David Hogg announce that he would stage a sit-in to block a 4th of July parade in Washington? No, that's not true: This is a satirical report by a known satire site. Hogg, who has been waging a campaign against gun violence, did not say he was planning a Washington protest to disrupt the celebration at the nation's capital.

The story originated from an article published on July 4, 2019 titled "David Hogg, Protest Group to Block Washington Parade" (archived here) which opened:

Parkland survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg has made a name for himself after taking on the N.R.A. and other gun-rights advocates. Today, on the fourth of July, America's Holy birthday, he's stepping up his game. He and his newly-formed group, "The Children of Peace" plan to stage a sit-in to block President Trump's amazing military parade with their own bodies. Hogg claims the parade : "Is a childish uneccessary display of the sick and psychotic American gun culture infringing on a national holiday." Well, a liberal upset about the second amendment. Must be a Thursday.

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

David Hogg, Protest Group to Block Washington Parade

Liberals can't even be patriotic just for one day?

The satircal article offered more details about the fictional protest plan:

Hogg and his group plan to meet at the Washington Monument, where they will don blue T-shirts bearing peace signs, and blue caps with the slogan : "Move America's Guns Away." After a brief tea party and aerobic work-out to limber up, the party will then march down the parade route to the National Mall, where they intend to clasp hands and sit across the road, singing "Big Man With a Gun" by rock music artist Nine Inch Nails.

While Lead Stories loves great satire, we object when sites that do not have satire notices on their pages copy satirical content and republish it as if it is real. Many people actually believe it is true.

The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run byself-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. Blair has been in a feud with fact checking website Snopes for some time now and has also criticized other fact checkers in the past who labeled his work "fake news" instead of satire. In reaction to this he has recently rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages so they carry extremely visible disclaimers everywhere.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

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.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

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 tatersgonnatate.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 tatersgonnatate.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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