Did Kamala Harris threaten to round up Trump supporters and did she hint she would put them in prison camps after President Trump was impeached? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to fool Trump supporters and Republicans into sharing made up stories that are clearly marked as satire when you actually click them. Articles from the site are frequently copied by foreign-run fake news websites. The people liking and sharing these stories are enriching foreign website operators (or a liberal from Maine) via the ad revenue generated with the content which is probably not what they expected or wanted.
The story originated from an article published by BustaTroll.org on August 7, 2019 titled "Kamala Harris:'After We Impeach, We Round Up The Trump Supporters'" (archived here) which opened:
Shocking words were heard at a Democrat fundraiser for criminal justice reform yesterday from presidential hopeful, Kamala Harris. While giving a speech on the effectiveness of zero punishment prosecutions, she veered off script to talk about impeaching our president and describe in detail one "crime" she would not hesitate to punish, to the absolute delight of the liberal crowd.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Kamala Harris:'After We Impeach, We Round Up The Trump Supporters'
Shocking words were heard at a Democrat fundraiser for criminal justice reform yesterday from presidential hopeful, Kamala Harris. While giving a speech on the effectiveness of zero punishment pros...
The image used with the story was actually taken in a North Korean prison camp:
REVEALED: North Korea prisoner's brutal 10 years in notorious 'death camp'
"If they survived their flesh was literally rotten" Kang Cheol-hwan The spotlight was put on North Korea's brutal regime after US prisoner Otto Warmbier died from his injuries sustained in the Hermit Kingdom's captivity. And now a man who survived 10 years in their most brutal camp, Yodok, has revealed he was forced to watch public hangings.
The story also contained part of a fictional Kamala Harris speech:
He's just bad and we will impeach! There is so much evidence against this guy, the mind boggles.
And once he's gone and we have regained our rightful place in the White House, look out if you supported him and endorsed his actions, because we'll be coming for you next. You will feel the vengeance of a nation. No stone will be left unturned as we seek you out in every corner of this great nation. For it is you who have betrayed us.
But the article was posted in a category named "Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction" and there were several disclaimers on the page indicating everything was made up.
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):
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.
Here is a BBC video of Blair explaining how his process works:
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:
- Fake News: Nancy Pelosi's Church Did NOT Ask Her To Leave Until She 'Finds God and Gets Help'
- Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Stop Bill to Make English the Official Language of the U.S.
- Fake News: Michael Jordan Did NOT Leave 'Kaepernick's Nike', Did NOT Take Air Jordans With Him
- Fake News: Michael Jordan Did NOT Rip Up His Democrat Party Card
- Fake News: NO Pelosi Letter to Iran: 'Trump Will Be Out By Next Year'