Did thousands of young supporters of President Trump show up at local military recruiting stations to volunteer for active duty after the U.S. killing of Iran's Soleimani? No, this isn't true: This claim is from a satirical website run by a Maine liberal who trolls conservatives with phony stories to rile up their base. But the danger lies in real fake news websites that steal the content and remove all satirical references, which was the case here as copies of the fake news are already ciriculating the web. It is false.
The claim originated from an article published by Taters Gonna Tate on January 4, 2020, titled "Thousands of Young Trump Supporters Show Up At Local Recruiters To Volunteer For Duty" (archived here) which opened:
While liberals cry over a dead Iranian general, young Trump supporters are stepping up by the thousands to help the cause and serve their country. Recruiters from coast to coast are reporting that they have lines out the door and around the block full of young men and women, proudly wearing their Make America Great Again hats, ready to enlist to go to war against Iran.
One Naval recruiter called it the greatest display of patriotism he's ever seen:
'These kids are amazing. Only about half of them will be able to pass the psychological exam and another 30 or 40 percent won't pass the aptitude test, but their loyalty and willingness to do whatever it takes to support their president is just astounding.'
This claim came one day after the U.S. struck and killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani of Iran's Revoluntionary Guards, and three days before the January 7, 2020, strikes by Iran on U.S. bases in Iraq, where American troops were based. But it never happened, as no long lines were ever formed outside of recruiting stations to sign up in support of Trump's military moves against Iran.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Liberals are busy crying over a dead Iranian general. Trump supporters are busy making sure their country is safe.
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: Trump-Owned Property In Agrabah NOT Burned To The Ground By Terrorists
- Fake News: Nancy Pelosi Did NOT Say Trump Must Apologize To Iran 'Or Else'
- Fake News: NOT Caught On Tape: Pelosi NOT Exposed Offering Bribes For Votes Against Trump
- Fake News: CA Gov. Newsom Did NOT Pardon 1342 Prisoners So ICE Couldn't Deport Them
- Fake News: RGB Did NOT Call Impeachment 'Illegal BS'