Fake News: Obama Did NOT Tweet Al Baghdadi Was A Great Man, An Innocent Man & My Friend

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Obama Did NOT Tweet Al Baghdadi Was A Great Man, An Innocent Man & My Friend

Did former President Barack Obama send a tweet claiming Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was "Great Man, An Innocent Man, & My Friend"? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to misleadTrump 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 ObamaWatcher on October 28, 2019 titled "Obama Tweet On Al Baghdad:'A Great Man, An Innocent Man, & My Friend'" (archived here) which opened:

It's been widely speculated that Barack Obama is the man behind the formation of ISIS at the end of the twentieth century and that he has funded them and supplied them with arms and intelligence ever since. He has pubicly stated that he sympathized with their cause and even hinted that he would provide them with American resources should they be in need during his 2008 State of the Union address. These statements are irrefutable facts, captured on video and broadcast to the entire nation.

So it came as no surprise today when Obama used his Twitter account to send out words of sadness about the death of Abu Yasr Al Bigdadi, who he called a "dear friend," as seen below.

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

Obama Tweet On Al Baghdad:'A Great Man, An Innocent Man, & My Friend'

It's been widely speculated that Barack Obama is the man behind the formation of ISIS at the end of the twentieth century and that he has funded them and supplied them with arms and intellige...

The story was posted in a category named "Barack Obama Fan Fiction" and there were several satire disclaimers plastered all over the site.

The story also contained a fake tweet that supposedly read:

Michelle and I are heartbroken over the passing of our friend, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi


However that tweet seems to be an edited screenshot of this real Obama tweet mourning Elijah Cummings. The like and retweet counts are an almost exact match (at the time of publication):

The site that posted the fake tweet 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.

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

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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