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Hoax Alert

Fake News: RNC Office That Held Clinton Evidence NOT Burned To The Ground

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 22 Feb 2019 12:49:58 Z)

Did an office building used by the Republican National Committee which contained evicence against Hillary Clinton burn down? 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 on February 18, 2019 titled "BREAKING: RNC Office That Held Clinton Evidence 'Burned To The Ground'" (archived here) which opened:

On Friday, news broke that major Clinton evidence had been uncovered by employees at a Republican National Committee investigative office in Stepford, Connecticut. According to leaked information, the evidence included "documents related to the sale of Uranium to Russia" and "additional emails that may have been hidden from the public."

The documents were stored in a secure room in the back of the office on both hard drives and as a hard copy. The only way to get to them would be to burn the office to the ground -- and that's apparently what happened early Sunday morning.

According to the Stepford Register:

The fire appears to have began at 4:22 a.m. in the copy room. It then spread to other parts of the building, including the records room, the employee lounge, and the back office where important documents not kept in the records room are located, as well as the security office where camera recordings are kept.

Screenshot of http://wearethellod.com/breaking-rnc-office-that-held-clinton-evidence-burned-to-the-ground/

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

BREAKING: RNC Office That Held Clinton Evidence 'Burned To The Ground'

On Friday, news broke that major Clinton evidence had been uncovered by employees at a Republican National Committee investigative office in Stepford, Connecticut. According to leaked information, ...

But there is no publication named the "Stepford Register" and the article was posted under the category "Clinton Satire For Chelsea to Tweet About". And the photo of the fire was actually taken in South Africa in 2017:

Building on fire at Braampark Office park VIDEO | South Africa Today - Media

Building on fire at Braampark Office park in Braamfontein. Building is said to house SA National Blood Service and Nedbank. Posted by Intelligence Bureau SA on‎ 18 April 2017. Braampark Office park Geplaatst door Intelligence Bureau SA op dinsdag 18 april 2017 Geplaatst door Intelligence Bureau SA op dinsdag 18 april 2017 Related Post Edenvale ...

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 wearethellod.com, bustatroll.org or bebest.website. 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.

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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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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