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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Michelle Did NOT Slam Melania: Did NOT Say, "She's A Terrible Role Model For America's Women"

  • by: Ryan Cooper
  • (Wed, 22 Jan 2020 21:20:45 Z)

Did Michelle Obama slam First Lady Melania Trump, saying, "She's a terrible role model for America's women?" No, that's not true: The quote is fabricated and part of a satirical site that trolls conservative readers into believing the stories are true.

The claim originated from an article (archived here) published by Obama Watcher on November 26, 2019, under the title "Michelle Slams Melania:'She's A Terrible Role Model For America's Women.' It opened:

Speaking at a recent Planned Parenthood fundraiser, Michelle Obama once again proved that she has absolutely no class. For reasons unknown to anybody, Obama was invited to speak for the 'wonderful example she has set for the women of today.' Rather than provide any such examples, however, she decided to use her time at the podium to malign our First Lady in every way she could. She shouted:

'Our First Lady is no lady at all. She, through her support of her husband's policies, is spitting in the face of real women like you and I on a daily basis.

Screenshot of https://obamawatcher.com/2019/11/michelle-slams-melaniashes-a-terrible-role-model-for-americas-women/

Users on social media saw this:

The article is a work of satire. At the top under the headline, it says in small print, "Michelle Obama Fan Fiction," a clue that the story is made-up. The former first lady never made any such statement. Regardless, the article has been copied "word-for-word" by other sites, which fail to include the satirical labeling and present the story as real.

The Obama Watcher site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satirical websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair. The Maine resident works with a loose confederation of friends and allies. Blair has been in a feud with fact-checking website Snopes, and he has also criticized other fact-checkers who labeled his work "fake news" instead of satire. In reaction, he has recently rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages, so they carry prominent disclaimers everywhere.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

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.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

Here is a video of Blair explaining how his process works:

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 journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes obamawatcher.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 obamawatcher.com before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Ryan Cooper.jpeg

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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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