Did Sheryl Crow say on television that she won't let her kids watch TV when President Trump is on, and that she prefers "classy people like Hillary Clinton"? No, that's not true: This clickbait headline has been circulating since 2017.
And while the first part about Trump is fairly accurate, the second part - "I prefer classy people like Hillary Clinton," was fabricated by a web publisher who had a formula for manipulating certain audiences with headlines that would trigger anger or happiness.
The full-quote iteration of the story originated from an article (archived here) published by politicodailynews.com on January 26, 2020, under the title "Singer Sheryl Crow: 'I Forbid My Kids To Watch TV When Trump Is On, I Prefer Classy People Like Hillary Clinton. Do You Support Her?" It opened:
As of late on ABC's 'The View,' vocalist and Hillary Clinton fan Sheryl Crow expressed that she doesn't give her youngsters a chance to see President Donald Trump on television since she is 'humiliated.'
Crow expressed, 'I traveled with Mrs. Clinton. I went to Bosnia. She has completed a great deal of work for, similar to, 30 years for ladies and kids. Also, I couldn't care less--you know, I saw what occurred with President Obama.'
'It made me wiped out. I think he drew out some genuine bias in the nation by the righteousness of the way that he was the primary dark president.
'I'm simply my psyche here.
I'm seeing it with the principal female president and it sickens me.'
Some users on social media saw this post:
The jumbled (but fake) quote is the entirety of what Politicodailynews.com published. This spun text is much shorter than earlier versions that have been changing as they have been republished by at least 30 different websites since 2017. Another website, bollywoodmasaladay.xyz, republished this story (archived here) with the identical abbreviated article on the same day as Politicodailynews. (Politicodailynews.com is based in Macedonia and is not associated with Politico, the Washington D.C.-based publisher.) The publisher of Bollywoodmasaladay.xyz is from Pakistan.
The origin on this dates to early October of 2016, when Crow appeared on "The View" talk show. There were four main talking points that were covered in her interview: her battle with breast cancer, a petition she supported to shorten the U.S. presidential election cycle, new recordings and the question that prompted the alleged quote.
The show's Jedediah Bila asked Crow: "Because you spent some time with both of these candidates - which is so interesting - how did that come about, and what was your perception of each of them, having met them in person?
At that, Crow groaned a little and jokingly asked: "Really?" and "Let's talk about it at commercial." (Below is a screenshot of the face she made when asked the question.)
After Sheryl Crow's appearance on the talk show, Breitbart's Pam Key wrote a short intro to a video that was headlined, "Sheryl Crow: 'I'm Embarrassed,' I Don't Let My Kids Watch TV When Trump Is On."
This is not a full article; it's just a caption for a video. Key summarized:
"Monday on ABC's "The View," musician and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supporter Sheryl Crow said she doesn't let her children watch Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on television because she is "embarrassed."
This summary does put a spin on her words in that Crow didn't exactly say the words, "I'm Embarrassed,' I Don't Let My Kids Watch TV When Trump Is On." Her actual words were,
I'm Embarrassed... I can't... my kids... I... I... I don't wanna go too far into it...but I don't let my kids watch TV when he's on."
That could be read various ways, but the clear takeaway is that she never uttered the words, "I prefer classy people like Hillary Clinton." That is a fabrication. Here, crowarchive8 has the Sheryl Crow segment of that episode of The View:
Two months before she appeared on The View, Crow did an interview with Nicole Pajer for Yahoo! Lifestyle. The headline offers more information about how TV time is managed in the family's household. The headline reads: "Sheryl Crow Doesn't Let Her Kids Watch the News: 'There's Too Much of Everything'"
We're all watching how our lives are unfolding with technology and the presence of all-consuming 24-hour-a-day news, constantly being bombarded with negativity and with stressful situations. My kids have never seen the news. If it's on in the house, I make sure that they're not in the room.
On The View, did single out then-candidate Trump. But at that time, during the 2016 campaign, it appears that she was limiting all news - not just news featuring Trump.
The day after Breitbart published the clip, Popculture published a small piece loosely rehashing what Breitbart had presented.
Then the story died - until November 25, 2017, when InternationalViralNews.blogspot.com and WideWiseDirection.com both published the story and added to the original quote in the headline: Singer Sheryl Crow: 'I Forbid My Kids To Watch TV When Trump Is On, I Prefer Classy People Like Hillary Or...'
Crow never made such a statement. It appears to be a headline engineered for outrage. Judging by the activity on Facebook, it did very well as more clickbait websites snapped it up.
By December 2, 2017, "Methodman" from USDEPLORABLESNEWS to balance out the embellished Sheryl Crow, published: "Singer Sheryl Crow: 'I Forbid My Kids To Watch TV When Trump Is On, I Prefer Classy People Like Hillary Clinton. Do You Support Her?"
This is not an unusual headline for USDEPLORABLESNEWS. Here are a few more:
Actress Julia Roberts: 'I Forbid My Kids To Watch TV When Obama Is On, I Prefer Classy People Like Trump Or Mike Pence, They Are Real Patriots And Not Traitors Like Obama.
Uma Thurman Says : 'Trump In One Year Is Already Better Than 16 Years' of Bush, Obama 'Put Together'. Do You Support Her?
Actress Sandra Bullock Says:"Donald Trump Is The Best Of The Best. No One Would Do All This Effort For Our Nation. Thank You Mr. President!". Do You Support Her?
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio: "President Trump is the best choice for our nation, We need to make certain to vote him into a 2nd term and boycott against all anti trump websites." Do you agree him ?
George Clooney: 'Trump Supporters Are Destroying My Career, They Are Trying To Boycott My Movies. But, I Don't Care - I Will Never Stop The Fight Against This Dictator. He Is Not My President And I Hope That People Will Wake Up And Join My Fight."Are You With Him?
(Lead Stories published an article about USDEPLORABLESNEWS that same month. It has a list of domain names associated with the same publisher.)
By the end of January 2018, a website registered in the nation of Georgia, world-daynews.com, presented the Sheryl Crow/ Julia Roberts paired articles, with a promise of a poll on the Sheryl Crow article.
Do people really fall for this engagement bait? The quick answer: clearly. The site world-daynews was banned from Facebook and all of their posts were wiped from the record. In fact, if a user tries to post one of its links to Facebook, users will get the following notice:
On June 18, 2018, POTUSNEWZ published a new step in the evolution of the Cheryl Crow story. That website's profiteering formula typically involved promising a video or a poll, and delivering lots of ads on each page while doling out just a paragraph or two of story per page. The visitor is encouraged to keep clicking to the next page to get to the video. Half the time there isn't even a video, but this time there was. If you recall, the original Breitbart "clip" no longer has a video, so POTUSNEWZ used a year old video of Sheryl Crow talking politics in a May 2017 appearance on "Good Morning Britain." The video didn't have anything to do with the old headline, but that didn't really matter. The point was just to get people to jump through the POTUSNEWZ hoops.
POTUSNEWZ.BLOGSPOT.COM, like world-daynews.com, is now banned from the Facebook platform and all traces of their activity are erased. POTUSNEWZ was run by a man from Morocco, Abdel Mounail Darkaoui. You can read what he says about himself on another website he runs, Visacanada.us. (it has the same template format as POTUSNEWZ)
Darkaoui was not put out of the clickbait business by the takedown of his website links, Facebook page, and the fake accounts he used to push his links into groups. He still has an active group on Facebook with over 2000 members and a new profile to use as an administrator. There is also a Twitter account working to build up an American following, GLORY OF USA. Currently POTUSNEWZ redirects to GAMERTWIN.COM. Another site pushed with the Twitter account is GENIRPET.COM with the same familiar website template and the same formula for baiting engagement, frequently advertising a POLL or VIDEO which requires clicking through multiple pages of the website to find. There is also a Tumblr account that is hosting links to GENIRPET and GAMERTWIN.
Another formula you can see Darkaoui using on the Twitter account is the willingness to play either side's outrage for engagement. This is especially evident when you view the tweets and replies coming from the account.
The addition of the video from "Good Morning Britain" was not the only mark Darkaoui made on the gradual transformation of this clickbait classic. A few paragraphs were added to the story transcribed from the new video, and then all of the text was run through an article spinner.
Article spinning is an automated plagiarist's helper tool that substitutes words and phrases so that plagiarism detectors can't recognize the article as a duplicate. This can allow a clickbaiter to better monetize an article that might be suppressed by a search engine, and it can evade detection from a web crawler looking for duplicates on behalf of the copyright holder.
Many people assume the unusual phrasing in a spun article is from a foreigner trying to write in English. Chances are those articles began with proper English syntax and then became garbled once the article was stolen and spun. It is also interesting to see how few people in Facebook comments ever remark about the odd writing, even when it is incomprehensible. It's pretty clear that most commenters are reacting to headlines without reading the stories. If you encounter a spun article, there is a good chance you can reverse engineer your way back to the original story and publisher with careful searching.
Here is a quote from the "Good Morning Britain" video, how it appeared, spun on the fourth page of the POTUSNEWZ article, and the transcription of Sheryl Crow's actual words.
This screenshot below captures several issues beyond the clickbait content. This link was placed in a group by a profile belonging to a woman from Soweto. Her face and name have been blurred. It is unlikely she is a willing participant in this scheme. There is a small chance she has rented her account or is paid to post, but it's more likely, through an app permission, that she unwittingly has allowed an auto-poster to post from her account or that her account has been hacked. The pesky spamming coming all the way from the account of a real woman in South Africa injects links targeted at American conservative audiences into Facebook groups. This account handles five domains, Conservativesviral.site, Dansnews.com, Ajuana.com, APKdownloading.com and Chicagodaily.pro. All of these websites are coming from DashiKashi, a man from Pakistan who was featured in a recent Politifact article by Daniel Funke. Other websites from Pakistan, like bollywoodmasaladay.xyz, are included in the list of Sheryl Crow duplicates, but have not been promoted by this specific profile.
The grey circle with a while slash through it (visible next to her blurred name) indicates that this profile has been removed from the group where this post was made, although the posts have been allowed to stand.
Notice the link displayed here: CHICAGODAILY.CREATEDACARD.ME
This is a tactic that became very popular with spammers in mid 2019. They use other web services to redirect Facebook traffic to their website. By bouncing off a middleman they don't need to put their links directly on the Facebook platform. Blogspot, Createdacard,me, Justsharedthis, Rebrandly.com, Tumblr, and even Pinterest are frequently abused to redirect links to shady websites.
Here are two more websites run by DashiKashi of Pakistan, using one of his favorite templates. TheCubeNews has a poll displayed that came from "Online Quizmaker" Although these polls can be used to gather information about an audience or even actually conduct polls, this poll is a ruse to trick a click out of the visitor. When they click yes or no on the poll, a pop up will take over the whole screen. Typically it is advertising a download of a file converter. You don't need to take the poll to trigger the pop up, the whole page is activated, clicking anywhere will trigger it.
Pakistan, South Africa, Morocco, Philippines. Defferentstuff.com originated in Veles, Macedonia, USAforTrumponline.com is registered and hosted in Denmark, Widewisedirection.com is hosted in the Virgin Islands. The last screenshot here, PinsFitness.com, who recently published a version of the story on January 16, 2020, is registered in Delhi India but hosted from France. Why would the default language of the website be in Russian then?
By the way- this U.S./Mexico border poll? It is a real ad from Townhall Media, served with Google Ads.
As you can see, none of these are real news sources you should put any trust in: they are clearly foreign-run and intended to deceive people into clicking ads. Don't fall for it!