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Hoax Alert

Fake News: George H.W. Bush NOT Dead at 93

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sat, 28 Apr 2018 08:40:37 Z)

Is former President George H.W. Bush dead again at 93? Nope, that's just a repeat from an older hoax run by a Ghana-based fake news network that was recently shut down after an investigation by Lead Stories. The new version of the hoax comes from an American site set up to troll conservatives and Republicans with false stories so they can be made fun of when they believe and share them.

The new version of the hoax appeared in an article published on April 28, 2018 on Daily World Update and titled "George H.W. Bush Dead at 93" (archived here) which opened:

It took less than a week for the loss of his soulmate and wife of 75 years to steal George H.W. Bush's will to live. Reports from Naranthan Timonson-Smith Medical Center in Houston are coming in from low-level interns and morgue workers that the Secret Service is guarding a body draped in an American flag in the basement of the hospital.

Bush had been in intensive care for an infection before his death, which we estimate to be at 10:15 PM Eastern.

Screenshot of https://dailyworldupdate.us/2018/04/27/george-h-w-bush-dead-at-93/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and might have taken the news for real:

George H.W. Bush Dead at 93

The Secret Service is standing watch over his body.

But there is no Naranthan Timonson-Smith Medical Center in Houston or anywhere else for that matter and Daily World Update comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:

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.
If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with "comedy," you should really just move along.

The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites, including potatriotpost.us, dailyworldupdate.us and nofakenewsonline.us. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll". A second man working on the sites is John Prager as revealed in this earlier story we wrote.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up and he keeps knocking them down.

If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.

We wrote about dailyworldupdate.us before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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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
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