Are three leading Democrats facing indictment for orchestrating a coup d'etat? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to mislead 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 Daily World Update on October 22, 2019 titled "Three Leading Democrats Facing Indictment for Orchestrating a Coup d'etat" (archived here) which opened:
Inside sources at Justice say there are three prominent Democrats under investigation for orchestrating a coup d'etat against the President. If you're not certain what the law considers a coup, here it is:
Coup D'Etat (v) from the Latin "to overthrow" - A Coup d'etat occurs when anyone from an opposing political party plans to oust the opposing party's leader through means other than those prescribed by the US Constitution. A coup doesn't have to include violence; it can also come in the form of false charges of crimes they may or may not have committed or through deriding a person's character by exposing their personal shortcomings.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
The truth is right there in front of you.
The story was published in a category named "Satire Guaranteed to Enrage the Common Tater" and there were several satire logos and disclaimers on the page. It even predicted this fact check with a (fake) Nancy Pelosi quote:
"This sounds like another conspiracy theory. We've contacted our friends at the fact-checking sites and they assure us that any story about this topic will be quickly debunked as false."
And if you clicked the words "Coup d'etat" you would be taken to a Google Translation of the phrase: "Prepare to read the dumbest shit imaginable."
The site that originally posted the story 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:
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 dailyworldupdate.us as:
A news site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news. The site is part of a network 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 dailyworldupdate.us before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Kamala Harris Did NOT Say "Our Military Are Soulless Cowards. Their Budget Must Be Cut."
- Fake News: NO FBI Surveillance, Malia Obama NOT Seen Leaving Antifa Meeting In Baltimore
- Fake News: Trump Did NOT File Lawsuit To Deport George Soros
- Fake News: Ihlan Omar Did NOT Propose Nationwide Ban on 'Unhealthy and Immoral' Bacon
- Fake News: Malia Obama NOT Arrested Again, NO Complete Media Blackout