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Fake News: Protesters Did NOT Vandalize Kavanaugh's House, NO $11,000 Damage

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 01 Oct 2018 14:17:40 Z)

Did protesters damage the family home of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the tune of $11,000? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a liberal satire website which aims to get conservatives and Trump supporters so angry they don't realize they are sharing fake news, even though the site is plastered full of disclaimers. Nothing about the story is real.

The story went viral via an article published on October 1, 2018 by a website pretending to be ABC News (using the domain abcnews.live instead of abcnews.com) titled "Protesters Vandalize Kavanaugh's House, $11,000 Damage. - ABC NEWS" (archived here) which opened:

The family home of Judge Brett Kavanaugh was a scene right out of a frat party gone wrong yesterday, as over 200 left-wing protesters, many wearing masks, shouted profane slogans, waved signs, and threw calendars, bricks, and bottles at the property. Kavanaugh himself was not in the residence, as he is currently in Washington for a symposium on anger management. His wife and children vacated the premisis and are currently housed in an unknown location for their own safety.

The Judge's home, located at 1512 Whiteman Street in Mayo Lake, PA, was deluged early in the morning, at the 9:00 hour, as the protesters arrived by van and poured out onto the sidewalk and lawn areas. Neighbors and witnesses reported screaming and loud "jungle drum-like" noises and local police were notified. Officers were shown protest permits, most signed by Diane Fienstien and Kamala Harris, and chose to remain at the scene in a public-safety capacity. No charges were filed, and the authorities left the area by noon. It was then that the crowd became riotous, and caused upwards of $11,000 worth of damage.

Screenshot of http://www.abcnews.live/2018/10/01/protesters-vandalize-kavanaughs-house-11000-damage/

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

Protesters Vandalize Kavanaugh's House, $11,000 Damage. - ABC NEWS

The family home of Judge Brett Kavanaugh was a scene right out of a frat party gone wrong yesterday, as over 200 left-wing protesters, many wearing masks, shouted profane slogans, waved signs, and threw calendars, bricks, and bottles at the property. Kavanaugh himself was not in the residence, as he is currently in Washington for ...

First clue the story is fake: there is no town called "Mayo Lake", not in Pennsylvania nor anywhere else. Second clue: the story first appeared on the website trumpbetrayed.us, which is the latest URL for America's Last Line of Defense. The site currently seems to be unavailable due to server difficulties but it 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 abcnews.live 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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