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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Colin Kaepernick NOT Found Dead -- Several Fake News Sites Copy Satirical Article

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 15 Oct 2018 22:08:31 Z)

Was Colin Kaepernick found dead after a hit-and-run in San Francisco? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a liberal satire website that produces fake stories designed to get Trump supporters and conservatives to share them without thinking so fans of the site can later mock them for it online. The story is not real. However at least two Macedonian fake news websites copied the story without the satire disclaimers or obvious hints the story was not true.

The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on October 14, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Colin Kaepernick Found Dead" (archived here) which opened:

Traitor Colin Kaepernick won't be causing any more problems for the NFL or Nike. While riding his bicycle to Candlestick Park, most likely to disrespect some veterans, Kaepernick was struck and killed by an unknown driver.

San Fransisco Police say they're looking to find a "rusty-brown pickup truck" from the 1970s with a Confederate flag in the rear window and "Impeach Obama" painted on the tailgate. The man driving it is described as "in his 60s and very angry."

Screenshot of https://trumpbetrayed.us/breaking-colin-kaepernick-found-dead/

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

BREAKING: Colin Kaepernick Found Dead

Police suspect a hit and run.

However the image used with the story is actually from a 2017 terror attack in New York city where an islamist terrorist killed several people:

New York mayor: 8 dead on bike path near World Trade Center in 'an act of terror'

NEW YORK (AP) A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial Tuesday, killing at least eight and injuring 11 others in what the mayor called a particularly cowardly act of ter

Another hint the story was not real was the category the article was published under: "DEAD PEOPLE AND GRILLED CHEESE WITH SATIRE MUSTARD SAUCE". And the header of the site had a subtitle that read "Information you probably shouldn't trust".

The site also 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 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:

At least two "real" fake news sites have since copied the article, omitting all satire disclaimers.

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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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