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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Jeff Sessions NOT Resigning Over 'Health Issues'

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 08 Jun 2018 19:33:20 Z)

Is U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigning due to health issues and have several statements he made to his therapist been leaked to the dark web? No, that's not true: the entire thing was invented by a website specializing in satirical news that will get conservatives and Republicans excited enough to share it without thinking so fans of the site can then mock them for it. It did not happen and the recording does not exist.

The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on June 8, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Jeff Sessions Resigning Over 'Health Issues'" (archived here) which opened:

Jeff Sessions told his private therapist that since accepting the nomination for Attorney General, his life has been turned upside-down. According to a clip being circulated on the Dark web, Jeff Sessions is angry, depressed and nearly suicidal:

"I haven't slept in months. That orange asshole haunts my every f*cking moment"

"I can't live like this anymore. Today someone sent a fake lawsuit from the Keebler Elves for copyright infringement. I sent it to my lawyer and the f*cking Washington Post ended up with it. I'm just done."

"I'm lucky if I live out this f*cker's term. I need to resign."

Screenshot of https://americaslastlineofdefense.org/breaking-jeff-sessions-resigning-over-health-issues/

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

BREAKING: Jeff Sessions Resigning Over 'Health Issues'

He's asking for privacy in this 'difficult time.'

The site comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:

sat·ire ~ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
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 header of the site also has a disclaimer that reads:

Information you probably shouldn't trust

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 americaslastlineofdefense.org 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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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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