Fake News: Rep. Omar Did NOT Demand Capitol Tree Be Topped By Qo'Nos Crescent Moon

Hoax Alert

  • by: Eric Ferkenhoff

Did U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar demand that the Capitol tree be topped by a Qo'Nos crescent moon? 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 and that is exactly what happened with this one. 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 claim originated from an article published by BustaTroll.com on December 9, 2019, titled "Omar Demands Capitol Tree Be Topped By Qo'Nos Crescent Moon" (archived here) which opened:

The Christmas tree on Capitol Hill is a longstanding tradition in Washington. It has been placed in the same spot for decades and has been adorned in the same way year after year. A key feature of this has been its topper - a bright and shining gold star, seen for miles around and symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. It is a key element of the Christmas Story and it's one that Democrats, led by Ilhan Omar, want to do away with.

Omar has issued yet another demand, this time affecting our cherished tradition on The Hill. "In the interest of equal representation," she says, she wants to see that beautiful star removed and replaced with a celestial symbol more indicative of another culture. She and a pack of other leftists in government want the new crown to be the Crescent Moon of Qo'Nos, an ancient religious scholar of renown.

Screenshot of https://bustatroll.org/2019/12/08/omar-demands-capitol-tree-be-topped-by-qonos-crescent-moon/

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

Omar Demands Capitol Tree Be Topped By Qo'Nos Crescent Moon

The Christmas tree on Capitol Hill is a longstanding tradition in Washington. It has been placed in the same spot for decades and has been adorned in the same way year after year. A key feature of ...

The fake story - which uses Qo'Nos, which refers to the star Kronos in the Klingon language of Star Trek - goes on to make up a quote attributed to Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota and favorite target of conservatives:

"A star, a moon....what's the difference really? They're both just objects from the night sky. I would wager that nobody from the Christian community will even notice its gone but to those it matters to, the moon will be immediately noted. They will then know that they matter in America and that they are a part of our societal fabric."

BustaTroll.com is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-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":

sat·ire
ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
noun
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 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:

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  Eric Ferkenhoff

Managing Editor Eric Ferkenhoff has been a reporter, editor and professor for 27 years, working chiefly out of the Midwest and now the South. Focusing on the criminal and juvenile justice systems, education and politics, Ferkenhoff has won several journalistic and academic awards and helped start a fact-checking project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he continues to teach advanced reporting. Ferkenhoff also runs a news outlet for a former “news desert” in Chatham County, North Carolina, and he writes and edits for the juvenile justice site JJIE.org.

 

Read more about or contact Eric Ferkenhoff

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