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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Trump Approval Rating Did NOT Go Up 23 Points After Promising To Shut Down Government

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 12 Dec 2018 15:54:11 Z)

Did the approval rating of President Trump go up by 23 points after he promised a government shutdown if funding for his border wall project was not approved? No, that's not true: the fake approval rating numbers were made up by a liberal satire Facebook page. They are not real.

The story originated from a meme post published on December 12, 2018 by a Facebook page named "America's Last Line Of Defense " (archived here) with following text:

YES SHUT IT DOWN BEFORE THEY COME IN AND GET US ALL AND OUR JOBS!

The caption on the image itself read

President Trump's approval rating went up 23 points after promising to shut down the government! Share if your proud of your president!

Screenshot of https://www.facebook.com/thelastlineofdefense/posts/2225130617746366

In reality Trump's approval rating hovers somewhere around 40% depending on who you ask and there were no big jchanges after the announcement. The meme itself also had some small print that read:

Source unavailable and facts untrue

There was also a disclaimer on the Facebook page that published the meme which read:

Nothing on this page is real. Not a bit of it. Please don't use our page in conjunction with Google or the news, it will only serve to confuse you further.

The Facebook page is part of a larger network of sites and pages run by 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.

Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018 by Eli Saslow:

'Nothing on this page is real': How lies become truth in online America

November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.

If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:

The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.

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.

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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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About Lead Stories

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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