Fake News: Dearborn Did NOT Join California In Canceling President's Day

Fact Check

  • by: Jessica Ravitz
Fake News: Dearborn Did NOT Join California In Canceling President's Day

Did the city of Dearborn, Michigan, decide to join California in cancelng President's Day? No, that's not true: This story was a piece of satire published on a liberal website that intentionally sets out to mislead conservative supporters.

The claim originated from an article published by Potatriot's Unite on February 17, 2020. It was titled "Dearborn Joins California in Canceling President's Day" (archived here) and opened:

The city of Dearborn has once again shown why Sharian Law doesn't work in America. In a show of disrespect, their Moon God-worshipping City Council has decided to cancel President's Day. The move follows a similar stunt by the California legislature.

According to the official register, Dearborn citizens supported the measure by a margin of 72 percent. Coincidentally, Dearborn's Muslammical population is near 72 percent.

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

Dearborn Joins California in Canceling President's Day

The Dearborners have joined forces with the Commiefornians.

The fictional story about Dearborn featured quotes from made-up characters, including "Arturi al Tubolsi, spokesman for the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce," a play on the nom de plume of the head satirical network of websites, Christopher Blair.

in the story, Tubolsi supposedly had this to say to critics:

"Of course it's a political statement. Donald Trump is a turd. We won't celebrate this day until he's long gone. We also won't lose any sleep over it. Maybe he can go to another public event where people will undoubtably cheer for him, like Nascar, an Alabama football game, or a nice public lynching somewhere.

"Nobody here cares. Buh bye."

Also, the link in the first paragraph of the story takes readers to another satirical piece about California supposedly canceling President's Day. It never happened in either case.

The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by Blair, a self-professed liberal troll 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 visible disclaimers.

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 that 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.

This made-up story about Dearborn, for example, was picked up and shared -- without the satire disclaimer -- on a blog called "Fresno press."

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 journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes potatriotsunite.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 potatriotsunite.com before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Jessica Ravitz

Jessica Ravitz, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former senior writer at CNN Digital. For more than a decade, she wrote longform narratives and profiles on topics ranging from gun violence, sexual assault and suicide to women’s health, spirituality and race.

 

Read more about or contact Jessica Ravitz

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