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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Trump Did NOT Step In by Executive Order to Restore Christmas to Dearborn (Because It Was Never Abolished)

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sun, 16 Dec 2018 09:01:29 Z)

Did president Donald Trump step in via an executive order to restore Christmas in Dearborn, Michigan after it had been allegedly abolished by muslims? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to educate gullible Trump supporters and Republicans about the need to actually click and read links before sharing or liking them in order to avoid being embarrassed by fans of the site later. All the events described in the article are not real. That didn't stop thousands of people from liking, sharing or commenting on it through.

The story originated from an article published on December 16, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Trump Steps In by Executive Order-Restores Christmas to Dearborn" (archived here) which opened:

Christmas has been saved in Dearborn, Michigan, and it didn't take much to do so. President Trump's spokesman for the Office of Information and Propaganda, Art Tubolls, says Rudy Giuliani discovered just how easy it was during a brainstorming session with Alan Dershowitz on how to improperly or properly or possibly not at all bother to interpret constitutional law in a realistic or credible manner:

"It's simple. The 1st Amendment and the 22nd Amendment both ensure Freedom of Religion, as do the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Magna Carta. The city has been held hostage by a government of Muslamic Fallahs, elected by the slim, 61 percent Islamafied population, who thought they could remove the right for an entire city to celebrate a holiday.

Mr. Giuliani found that a simple Executive Order under the Restorative Clause of the 16th Amendment resets the 1st Amendment, superceding any local, county, or state ordinances or laws in effect. Basically, America is a Christian Nation, and the Muslamic Moon God does not reign supreme here. we do not speak in Allahu or offer goats for sacrifice, unless it's for a really sweet page."

Screenshot of https://wearethellod.com/breaking-trump-steps-in-by-executive-order-restores-christmas-to-dearborn/

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

BREAKING: Trump Steps In by Executive Order-Restores Christmas to Dearborn

Crowds applaud as the city tree is restored in Dearborn, Michigan

What can we say? Nearly everything in the story is complete legal gibberish without any real meaning. Not even the picture of the tree is real. It is a Christmas tree in Natchez, Mississippi as can be seen in this gallery:

The Best Christmas Tree in Every State

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There are several other hints in the article. For example the header of the site reads "Information you probably shouldn't trust" and the category the article was posted under read "Muslamic is a Word Now in Satire". "Art Tubbols" is just an anagram for "Busta Troll", the nickname of the owner of the site, and it links to his Facebook profile.

You can also check Trump's list of executive orders at The Federal Register to see there is not one related to Christmas in Dearborn.

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.

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.

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

A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.

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

We wrote about wearethellod.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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