Did Ilhan Omar host a flag burning party? No, that's not true: The story about the Minnesota congresswoman originated as satire on a website that publishes fake stories designed to trick and embarass Trump supporters who believe and share them. There was no such flag burning party.
The invitations went out to one and all in her community:
"Saturday Night At Ilhan's! Bring Your Flags And Throw Them Into The Bonfire! Burgers, Shawarma, and Tea For All!"
And they came in droves. Hundreds of Ilhan Omar's Democrat friends showed up at the door of her palatial estate, American flags in hand, to attend the "First Annual Flag Discard Bonfire and Barbeque". The backyard fire was massive and it only grew larger as more and more arrived to fuel it with fabric. With the Stars and Stripes. It was a disgusting display of absence of patriotism and possible treason.
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 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: Omar Is NOT Legally Married In Somalia, NOT Voiding Her Citizenship
- Fake News: Walmart Did NOT Lose $1.2 Billion In One Day After Banning Guns
- Fake News: Kathy Griffin Did NOT Announce Run For Senate
- Fake News: Alabama Did NOT Become the First State to Ban 'Radical Islam'
- Fake News: Nancy Pelosi NOT Asked To Leave Children's Benefit After Drunken Outburst