Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Democrat Senator Stuart Boll Did NOT Switch Sides or Pledge To Vote With Trump

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 14 Feb 2019 08:03:29 Z)

Did a senator from Maine named Stuart Boll switch his affiliation from Democrat to Republican and did he pledge to vote with President Trump from now on? No, that's not true, the senator does not even exist. 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 America's Last Line of Defense on February 10, 2019 titled "BREAKING: Democrat Senator Switches Sides - Pledges To Vote With Trump" (archived here) which opened:

The Democrats have lost yet another of their rising stars to their own ignorance. Senator Stuart Boll, the freshman Senator from Maine, has decided to change his party affiliation to Republican.

Boll, whose platform was stricter gun laws and open borders, says he saw the light after spending a weekend at a Presidential retreat to welcome all new members of Congress:

"I knew the platform was wrong, but honestly, I just wanted to get to Washington where I can do some good. Being from Maine, I had never experienced the kind of welfare fraud and violence you see in big cities.

Screenshot of https://wearethellod.com/stuart-boll-is-an-anagram/

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

BREAKING: Democrat Senator Switches Sides - Pledges To Vote With Trump

He says he's 'had enough of the Democrat lies.'

There are several hints the story is not true:

  • It was posted in the category "SATIRICAL SENATORS THAT DON'T EXIST IN NATURE".
  • The site has a header that says "Information you probably shouldn't trust".
  • The URL "https://wearethellod.com/stuart-boll-is-an-anagram/" had a hint in it too: "Stuart Boll" is an anagram for "Busta Troll".
  • The link under the words Senator Stuart Boll goes to the Facebook page of Busta Troll, a notorious prankster: https://www.facebook.com/TheRealBustaTroll
  • The photo of the "senator" seems to be clipped from a stock video:

Vidéo libre de droit pour Smiling businessman with phone. Happy black guy indoors. I miss you too. sur Adobe Stock

Séquence libre de droit pour Smiling businessman with phone. Happy black guy indoors. I miss you too.. Découvrir des vidéos similaires sur Adobe Stock

If all that isn't enough, 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.

For the record, the current senators from Maine are Susan Collins and Angus King.

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 websites including wearethellod.com and conservativetears.com. 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 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

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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