Did Ilhan Omar spit on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to troll 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 Taters Gonna Tate on September 26, 2019 titled "Ilhan Omar Spits On The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" (archived here) which opened:
A small gathering of congress people took place at Arlington National Cemetery this past weekend as new unidentifiable remains returned from WWII Germany were interred and respects were to be paid at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The atmosphere was solemn. Each member of congress lined up one by one to offer their thoughts and prayers for the souls of the unnamed dead. All were quiet and respectful. All, that is, until Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar stepped up. That's when all hell broke loose.
Witnesses say they could tell something was wrong with her immediately, causing them to tense up. Even her democrat colleagues began to back away, themselves familiar with her erratic behavior and wanting to have distance before the storm hit. For when Omar approached the Tomb, her face screwed up into a vicious snarl and the profanities began to fly.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Ilhan Omar Spits On The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
This woman....this thing knows no shame. A small gathering of congress people took place at Arlington National Cemetery this past weekend as new unidentifiable remains returned from WWII German...
The story was published in a category named "Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction" and the photo showing the supposed spit on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is actually from an old blog post from 2009 about a disgusting roommate (archived here):
The Chronicles of Aurghville: Spreading the Plague
When I was 22(ish) I lived in a house with four 22(ish) year old boys. Disgusting, dirty, vile, inconsiderate 22(ish) boys. One of them played volleyball. He would come home from practice, take all his stinking, sweaty clothes off in the dining room and put them on the dining room table, then go upstairs to...
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 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 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:
- Fake News: Al Gore Did NOT Say Hurricane is Result Of Trump's Climate Change Denial
- Fake News: Malcolm X's Daughter Did NOT Say "My Dad Would Be Ashamed Obama Was Our President"
- Fake News: Rashida Tlaib NOT Overheard Saying "We Will Bring Jihhaad to America"
- Fake News: Muslamian Council Named ICE Did NOT Say 'If Pork Isn't Banned, We'll Have To Leave America'
- Fake News: Rashida Tlaib NOT Under Investigation For Election Fraud For Making Sure Her Name Was A Voting Option