Are the first indictments from a Barr investigation into Democrats coming tomorrow? No, that's not true. The story was first published on June 7, 2019 and no indictments materialized on June 8 or any day since. The reason is that the story was made up by a liberal satire website that tries to mislead Trump supporters and Republicans into sharing fictional 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 (archived here) published by Taters Gonna Tate on June 7, 2019 under the title "First Round of Democrat Indictments From Barr Investigation Coming Tomorrow". It opened:
When President Trump directed Attorney General Gay Barr to start an investigation into the corruption of the Obama administration, the world held its collective breath. What would be revealed? Who would go to prison? How high will it show the corruption went? Will Obama himself go down? The vengeful anticipation was enormous.
Well at least some answers have begun to flow in. A source in the Justice Department has revealed that 29 sealed indictments will be delivered tomorrow to over a dozen high ranking members of both the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign team.
The story was posted under a category named "Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction" on a page that contained several satire disclaimers and logos. The Democrats supposedly getting indicted in the story all had names that were clearly puns and we were unable to find any real persons with those names:
- Al Phukenny Wun (= "I'll f*ck anyone")
- Andy Waywego (= "Any way we go")
- Anita Bath (= "I need a bath")
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:
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: Federal Warrants NOT Issued For Kathy Griffin, DeNiro, & Streisand
- Fake News: Ilhan Omar Did NOT Spit On The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- 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"