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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Pence Did NOT Call Space Force Necessary to Protect U.S. from Gay Aliens

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 10 Aug 2018 18:49:25 Z)

Did U.S. Vice President Mike Pence call the Space Force necessary to protect the U.S. from "gay aliens"? No, that's not true: the story was invented by a satire column appearing in The New Yorker magazine, it is not true.

The story originated from an article published by Andy Borowitz on August 9, 2018 titled "Pence Calls Space Force Necessary to Protect U.S. from Gay Aliens" (archived here) which opened:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)--Making a major announcement at the Pentagon on Thursday, Vice-President Mike Pence said that the proposed United States Space Force was necessary to defend the U.S. from gay aliens.

"I stand before you today to say that this country is under attack from outer-space gays," Pence told the military gathering. "Only Space Force can protect us from their unimaginable evil."

Pence detailed a nightmare scenario in which "gay aliens by the thousands" land in the U.S. in "seemingly cute spacecraft" and "subvert life in America as we know it."

Screenshot of https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/pence-calls-space-force-necessary-to-protect-us-from-gay-aliens

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

Pence Calls Space Force Necessary to Protect U.S. from Gay Aliens

The Vice-President detailed a nightmare scenario in which "gay aliens by the thousands" land in the U.S. and "subvert life in America as we know it."

The story actually appeared in the satire column of The New Yorker ("The Borowitz Report" by Andy Borowitz) which was acquired in 2012 by the magazine. Although the section with the columns and all the articles in it are clearly marked as satire the stories frequently get confused for real news by people who only see the title and summary on social media and who assume it must be real because the link goes to the actual website of The New Yorker. To them it would look somewhat like this, with an easy to miss "Not the news" being the only indication it is not real:

In part to combat this the main page of The Borowitz Report comes with a clear heading that simply states:

Satire from the Borowitz Report

satirefromtheborowitzreport.jpg

To be safe, whenever you see a link that goes to any article on the "newyorker.com" website, always check if the rest of the link says "/humor/borowitz-report/" somewhere. If it does, don't believe a thing you read...

We wrote about newyorker.com 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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