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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Democrats Did NOT Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sun, 05 Jan 2020 23:22:41 Z)

Did Democrats call for flags to be flown at half-mast to grieve the death of Soleimani? No, that's not true: the story was put out by The Babylon Bee, a well-known and often quite funny satire website. So far, the story has received about half a million engagements on Facebook, many of them from smart people who understood it to be a joke.

But for the people who thought it was real - or who saw it being repeated on some foreign-run fake news site that stole it and presented it as real news - it is not true.

The claim originated from an article published by The Babylon Bee on January 3, 2020, titled "Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani" (archived here) which opened:

WASHINGTON, D.C.--At a press conference held on Capitol Hill Friday, mourning Democrat leaders called for flags to be flown half-mast to honor the death of Qasem Soleimani.

Flags were spotted flying at half-mast around the country, notably at The Washington Post, The New York Times, and in front of several celebrities' homes. The celebrities went out and bought an American flag for the first time just to fly it at half-mast for this important time of grief.

"The grieving process is painful but necessary," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "As a nation, we need to stop and grieve this great, austere, revered religious scholar. He was one of the good ones."

Screenshot of https://babylonbee.com/news/democrats-call-for-flags-to-be-flown-half-mast-to-grieve-death-of-soleimani

The "austere religious scholar" bit was mocking a Washington Post headline from a few weeks ago:

Backlash for US newspaper over Baghdadi headline

The Washington Post faced criticism on Sunday for calling Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group who had died the day before, an "austere religious scholar". The newspaper amended its headline to call him an "extremist leader".

The satirical story was stolen by at least two foreign-run fake news sites already:

Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani

WASHINGTON, D.C.-At a press соnfеrеnсе held on Cаріtоl Hіll Friday, mourning Dеmосrаt lеаdеrѕ саllеd for flаgѕ tо be flоwn hаlf-mаѕt tо hоnоr thе dеаth оf Qаѕеm Soleimani. Flags wеrе ѕроttеd flуіng аt hаlf-mаѕt аrоund thе соuntrу, nоtаblу аt Thе Wаѕhіngtоn Pоѕt, Thе New York Tіmеѕ, аnd іn frоnt оf several сеlеbrіtіеѕ' hоmеѕ.

Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani

WASHINGTON, D.C.-At a press соnfеrеnсе held on Cаріtоl Hіll Friday, mourning Dеmосrаt lеаdеrѕ саllеd for flаgѕ tо be flоwn hаlf-mаѕt tо hоnоr thе dеаth оf Qаѕеm Soleimani. Flags wеrе ѕроttеd flуіng аt hаlf-mаѕt аrоund thе соuntrу, nоtаblу аt Thе Wаѕhіngtоn Pоѕt, Thе New York Tіmеѕ, аnd іn frоnt оf several сеlеbrіtіеѕ' hоmеѕ.

"The Babylon Bee" comes with following dislaimer on the about page:

What is The Babylon Bee?
The Babylon Bee is the world's best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.

The Babylon Bee was created ex nihilo on the eighth day of the creation week, exactly 6,000 years ago. We have been the premier news source through every major world event, from the Tower of Babel and the Exodus to the Reformation and the War of 1812. We focus on just the facts, leaving spin and bias to other news sites like CNN and Fox News.

If you would like to complain about something on our site, take it up with God.

Unlike other satire sites, everything we post is 100% verified by Snopes.com.

We wrote about babylonbee.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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