Fact Check: Daughters Of The Confederacy Group Did NOT Sue NASCAR For 'Violating First Amendment'

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis
Fact Check: Daughters Of The Confederacy Group Did NOT Sue NASCAR For 'Violating First Amendment' Trolling

Did the Daughters of the Confederacy sue NASCAR for violating the First Amendment? No, that's not true: This claim is from a satirical article written by a known network of satire websites. Once the user clicks on the story -- instead of just sharing the thumbnail and headline -- they will find a website littered in satire disclaimers. Other websites, however, steal the story and republish without the satire labels.

The claim originated from an article published by bustatroll.org on June 13, 2020 titled "'Daughters of the Confederacy' Sues Nascar for Violating 1st Amendment" (archived here). It opened:

The First Amendment is listed first for a reason, and that reason is simple. It is because it is the most important freedom that all other freedoms stem from. Without the ability to speak your mind, you would not have any freedom at all. This greatest amendment prevents companies from telling you what you can or can't say, which is precisely why they are being sued by the Daughters of the Confederacy organization.

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

'Daughters of the Confederacy' Sues Nascar for Violating 1st Amendment

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 9.47.00 AM.png

The United Daughters of the Confederacy was founded in 1894, at which point its members committed themselves to erecting Confederate monuments in the United States. In more recent years, they have fought to keep Confederate monuments remain standing. This satire article about the organization comes of the heels of NASCAR banning Confederate flags at all its races.

Although the United Daughters of the Confederacy remains a functioning organization, the group did not sue NASCAR for banning Confederate flags.

Not only is it false that the Daughters of the Confederacy sued NASCAR, it's also false that NASCAR is in violation of spectator's First Amendment rights. When spectators purchase a ticket, they're actually purchasing a license. Because NASCAR is a private enterprise administering the license, it can decide what can and cannot be done at their events, according to a report by The Charlotte Observer.

The bustatroll.org 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. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article.

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":

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 omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake. One of the most persistent networks of such sites is run by a man from Pakistan named Kashif Shahzad Khokhar (aka "DashiKashi") who has spammed hundreds of such stolen stories into conservative and right-wing Facebook pages in order to profit from the ad revenue.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes bustatroll.org as:

One in a network of sites that publish false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, 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.

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  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

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