Fact Check: Computer Shop Owner Involved In Hunter Biden Laptop Story Was NOT Found Dead

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis
Fact Check: Computer Shop Owner Involved In Hunter Biden Laptop Story Was NOT Found Dead Satirical

Was the computer repair shop owner at the center of the Hunter Biden laptop story found dead? No, that's not true: This is a satirical claim published by a website that creates false content intended to trick conservatives into sharing. The repair shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, became the center of a major political controversy when he told reporters that a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden never picked up a laptop he dropped off at the store in the spring of 2019.

The claim originated from an article published by americaslastlineofdefense.com on November 28, 2020, titled "Computer Shop Owner Who Raised Alarm About Hunter Biden Laptop Found Dead" (archived here), which opened:

Hunter Biden certainly has had more than his fair share of strokes of luck lately.

First, despite all of the evidence found on his laptop, nothing has stuck to him.

Next, after John Isaac, the owner of the computer repair shop where Hunter Biden left his laptop gave it to Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Giuliani, in turn, provided it to the FBI as evidence.

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

Computer Shop Owner Who Raised Alarm About Hunter Biden Laptop Found Dead

John Isaac dies in a mysterious explosion in Colorado.

Mac Isaac closed down his Delaware computer shop and has been out of the public eye since soon after the alleged scandal broke. His lack of visibility, coupled with the trolling post from americaslastlineofdefense.com, led to the viral sharing of the claim he was dead.

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. 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, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.

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 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 americaslastlineofdefense.com as:

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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