Fact Check: Military Did NOT Arrest Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on April 26, 2022

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Military Did NOT Arrest Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on April 26, 2022 Not Arrested

Did U.S. military "White Hats" arrest Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on April 26, 2022? No, that's not true: The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Secretary of Defense told Lead Stories that Vilsack was not arrested. Vilsack also made public appearances on the day of the alleged arrest and in the days afterward. The only source for the claim was a website that says in its disclaimer it "contains humor, parody, and satire."

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) titled "Military Arrests Biden's Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack" and published by Real Raw News on April 29, 2022. The article opened:

White Hats on Tuesday arrested the criminal Biden regime's secretary of agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack, after connecting him to the calculated destruction of a dozen agricultural processing facilities across the United States, JAG sources told Real Raw News

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

Military Arrests Biden's Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack | Real Raw News

In an email sent to Lead Stories on May 2, 2022, Paige Blanchard, a press assistant for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told us that the claim was false. Tim Gorman, a spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, also told us that the claim was false in an email sent on May 2, 2022.

Images featured on Vilsack's official Twitter account showed him making public appearances on April 26, 2022 -- the day the article claimed he was arrested -- and after that day (here and here).

The Real Raw News article also described a series of "inexplicable 'accidents'" that were "plaguing food processing plants throughout the country" and were supposedly connected to Vilsack. While fires did affect agricultural and food businesses in Maine, Arizona, Texas and New Hampshire during March and April 2022, reports of the incidents did not point to any connection in any way, much less to Vilsack.

The "White Hat" movement is described in another article by Real Raw News as:

... a term that, generally speaking, applies to military forces and conservative politicians that have forsaken corruption in favor of fighting alongside patriotic armies.

A Google search for the two exact terms "White Hat movement" "military" did not generate any credible results pointing to a legitimate movement as described in the Real Raw News article quoted above.

Real Raw News has a long history of publishing false claims in mock news stories, many of them about convictions and executions of various public figures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For example, the site reported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hanged (she wasn't); former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was executed (he wasn't); and that "the military" convicted former Attorney General William Barr on charges of treason (it didn't).

The website for Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that warns readers not to take its content too seriously. Specifically, it says:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

Real Raw snip.jpg

(Source: RealRawNews.com screenshot taken Tue Aug 3 16:39:48 UTC 2021)

Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items is collected here.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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