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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Trump 'MAGA' Hats NOT To Be Banned At Superbowl By Stadium Security

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:14:40 Z)

Will red MAGA hats be banned at the Superbowl? 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.

The story originated from an article published by Be Best Website on January 27, 2019 titled "Trump 'MAGA' Hats To Be Banned At Superbowl By Stadium Security" (archived here) which opened:

The National Football League seems to have little to no respect for Donald Trump or his supporters, even after being taught an expensive lesson by last year's boycott. This afternoon, representitives of the Silver Shamrock Security Team charged with providing service to Mercedez-Benz stadium for the Superbowl on February 3rd, announced that the bright red "MAGA" hats, signature wear of a Trump supporter, have been added to a list of banned apparel within the grounds. Security and safety officials feel they constitute an : "object of violence instigation and a threat to public welfare."

Screenshot of https://bebest.website/nomaga/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so they wouldn't have known this was not a reliable news site:

Trump 'MAGA' Hats To Be Banned At Superbowl By Stadium Security

I guess the NFL never learns. BOYCOTT.

The site carries a warning in the header that reads "Information you probably shouldn't trust to be best" and the story was pubished in the "AY PAPI IT'S SATIRE" category. In addition 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.

There are other hints: the Silver Shamrock security company is completely fictional too:

Urban Dictionary: Silver Shamrock

Fictitious mask company in the third instalment in the Hallowe'en franchise, "Season of the Witch" (the one without Mr. Myers). The masks are the colours of the Irish national flag (orange Jack-O-Lantern, white skull, green witch), and are made by a company in a weird all-Oirish town on the coast of California.

Red MAGA hats (or other pieces of clothing with political messages) are not forbidden according to NFL screening guidelines. Among the prohibited items actually listed are:

− Animals (except assistive animals) − Illegal substances
− Banners, signs (any object that obstructs the view of others)
− Battery operated clothing (socks, jackets, etc.)
− Mace / pepper spray
− Motorized scooters and skateboards
− Beach balls or inflatable devices (balloons) − Noisemakers and horns
− Bottles, cans, thermoses, cups and beverage containers of any kind
(unless purchased at an NFL venue)
− Poles, sticks, missile like objects of any kind
− Pom poms, shakers with stick handles
− Camcorders − Selfie sticks
− Cigarettes, e-cigarettes, all smoking devices (smoke-free stadium)
− Containers of any type (aerosol cans, coolers of any size, bottles)
− Chairs, stools or other seating devices
− Fireworks, pyrotechnics of any kind
− Frisbees
− Strollers
− Tripods
− Umbrella
− Firearms, weapons, knives and explosives
− Whistles

The owner and main writer of the site that posted the hoax 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 bebest.website 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 bebest.website 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

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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