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Hoax Alert

Fake News: ABC Did NOT Cancel Monday Night Football After Worst Ratings Ever

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 18 Sep 2018 21:03:20 Z)

Is ABC cancelling monday night football on ESPN? No, that's not true: the entire story was made up by a liberal satire weblog that likes to invent fake stories that are just outrageous enough that conservatives and Trump supportes like and share them without reading the full article. Fans of the site then mock them for it online. The story is not real.

The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on September 18, 2018 titled "BREAKING: ABC Cancels Monday Night Football After Worst Ratings Ever" (archived here) which opened:

Monday Night Football will stay alive -- on small local station in the home team's town. The rest of us will now see the reboot of Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing" headlining what ABC calls "A night for conservative Americans."

ABC Executive Director of Media Relations and Sushi Inspection (the two are unrelated but warrant mention), Art Tubolls, told Fox News:

"The NFL is just finished on Monday Nights. Real Americans have jobs and don't stay up that late. Rather than wait until 9 PM for a game to start, Allen's show will go on at 8. After that we're testing a new show with Mike Rowe and Larry the Cable Guy doing a tandem thing, kinda like Dual Survival but with more of a political leaning.

The final hour will be the new Jeopardy, starring Drew Carey, followed by re-runs of Happy Days, to honor the recently deceased Henry Winkler. We believe the average conservative will be asleep and dreaming about what they'll be angry at tomorrow long before halftime."

Screenshot of https://trumpbetrayed.us/all/breaking-abc-cancels-monday-night-football-after-worst-ratings-ever/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail, with a short description designed to get people angry:

BREAKING: ABC Cancels Monday Night Football After Worst Ratings Ever

The games will go on, just not on TV.

However "Art Tubbols" is an anagram for "Busta Troll", the nickname of the owner of the hoax website. He likes sushi.

The reference to "Happy Days" and the "deceased" Henry Winkler is a callback to an earlier death hoax from the same site:

Fake News: Henry Winkler Did NOT Die, Did NOT Donate Half Of His Estate To MAGA 2020 | Lead Stories

Did actor Henry Winkler just die and did he leave half of his estate to Donald Trump's MAGA 2020 campaign? No, that's not true: the death hoax was published by a liberal website that posts fake news with satire disclaimers and hopes to trick conservatives and Trump supporters into sharing it online so other people can then mock them for it.

The site 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.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes trumpbetrayed.us as:

A website claiming to be satirical that publishes fabricated stories, run by Christopher Blair, a known purveyor of disinformation, that published fake stories about Senator John McCain after he passed away.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about trumpbetrayed.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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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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