Fake News: AOC Does NOT Suggest the Earth May Be Flat

Hoax Alert

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: AOC Does NOT Suggest the Earth May Be Flat

Did freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggest the Earth may be flat? No, that's not true: The New York representative did not make such a statement. It is a claim from an article published by a well-known satirical site that trolls conservatives. These stories are often copied by other websites that republish them without any satire labeling, presenting them as real news.

The claim originated from an article (archived here) where it was published by BustaTroll.com on January 16, 2020, under the title "AOC Suggests the Earth May Be Flat". It opened:

While talking to supporters outside Madam's Organ, the bar she used to work at, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seemed to suggest the earth my not be round. "I mean, I haven't personally seen it from space, so who am I to say it's round? I think we should gather more evidence before jumping to conclusions. We should start a mission to space to see for ourselves."

Screenshot of https://bustatroll.org/2020/01/16/flat-earth-aoc/?fbclid=IwAR1xYE17nLqZVhC2o91h9Jqrwyj7PLENgVeGf0jjBFE_KgjKJ6UzGWYWlHE

This is what social media users saw:

The outspoken Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, is a favorite target of conservatives - and a popular character among satirical websites like BustaTroll.com.

The site 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 rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages so they carry 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 that 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:

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:


  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion