Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Trump DID NOT Order Removal Of Islamic Symbols, Practices In The White House

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 24 Jan 2017 10:15:06 Z)

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

A news story ostensibly written on January 23rd 2017 by somebody named Ike A. Offor on a site calling itself "The Republican News" claims President Donald Trump ordered the removal of all islamic symbols and practices from the White House. Some choice quotes from the article:

Obama was seen storming away from the West Wing after staffers from Donald Trump's transition team began preparing the executive offices for the new administration. On Trump's orders, one of Obama's most secretive rituals is being reversed and all signs of it removed from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
For the past 8 years, to appease any Muslims working at or visiting the White House, silence has been ordered during the 5 times of Islamic prayer each day. In addition, prayer rugs and crescent moon symbols are available in several areas of the executive mansion to make Muslims more comfortable.

It gets worse:

Jim Mergernerlerny, head of the team that will transform the White House from the Obama's home to the Trumps' second home, told MSNBC:
"Mr Trump doesn't see the need to provide prayer rugs and false idols in a house built by Christians. Washington, DC offers a diverse cultural centre for the worship of any kind. You won't find any special considerations for Judaism or crucifixes to appease Catholics, either. There is a simple chapel with a single cross on one wall that is suitable for prayer by anyone. Our government doesn't need to be forcing prayer rituals down people's throats just so we don't "offend" apologising people looking to blow us up.

The genius of this hoax article is that it manages to get a rise out of both sides of the political divide: liberals see it as a confirmation that their worst fears about Trump are coming true while conservatives are happy Trump is finally undoing the things they feared Obama had been doing...

But a quick Google search reveals that the story is mostly copy pasted from a 2016 article on another fake news website that bills itself as 'satire' in a well hidden disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don't necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real.

But that didn't stop over 30.000 people from sharing the new version of this fake story online as this graph from Trendolizer shows. Remember people: just because a site has 'Republican' in the title and the news it reports seems to confirm what you are already thinking doesn't mean it is actually true. Maybe you are just being played for advertising revenue by an obscure African 'journalist' looking to cash in on gullible people from both ends of the political spectrum...

Updates:

: The story seems to have gone viral again over a year after the inauguration of President Trump, on a site named DailyMDA. At the time of writing it has obtained over 3000 likes/shares/comments already on Facebook.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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