Fake News Site National Report Admits to Setting Traps to Damage Conservatives

Sites like National Report and Christwire are successfully fooling conservatives into spreading their articles.

By Rachel Alexander Published on September 14, 2016

The left is actively planting fake news to trick conservatives into sharing the stories so they can ridicule them. I covered this previously, but there is much more to the story.

The publisher of the fake news site National Report, “Allen Montgomery” (a pseudonym), brazenly admitted to Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune, “We have been targeting Tea Party types recently as they are the most gullible and are willing to spread misinformation across the internet with little/no research.” Conservative Headlines, which has compiled a list of sites that “troll conservatives,” observed, “The site NationalReport.net seems to be actively trying to embarrass conservatives on social media.”

People think it is a mainstream conservative/Tea Party site because they have a picture of Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz in their top banner. When a conservative website falls for one of their hoaxes and syndicates the story, left-wing websites then mock them. NationalReport.net has become a source of entertainment for the Left.” Vice News agreed in an article about the site: “The hoaxes more frequently target the right wing territory dominated by Glenn Beck and Alex Jones.”

Anna Kooiman tweetOne article on National Report fooled a Fox News host in 2013. During the Democrat-induced government shutdown, broadcaster Anna Kooiman repeated the hoax that Obama was offering his own personal money to keep a Muslim museum open, “President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture,” she said.* She apologized later for the error, but Media Matters and other lefty sites like Huffington Post pounced on her mistake.

Montgomery has no sympathy for National Report‘s victims, telling the Tribune, “It is our opinion that if a person is too lazy to check for multiple references [or at least one other source] … and they spread misinformation around as fact, then they are to blame for their own stupidity, not us.”

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley pushed back in a post about National Report’s tactics. “These stories dance dangerously on the line of false light in torts,” he said, and added, “For the life of me, I cannot imagine why adults want to spend their time trying to victimize people who feel strongly about public issues and act on those feelings.”

Destroying Conservatives

Neal Larson, a radio talk show host in Idaho, quit his job as a conservative columnist for The Twin Falls Times-News last month after being viciously savaged on the internet for referencing a fake news story. In his article, Larson accused the famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson of attacking a nine-year-old girl on Twitter. Unfortunately, the article he cited was from the fake news site Clickhole.

Tyson was furious and publicly debunked Larson in a rebuttal in the Times-News. Larson wrote in his farewell column about how the mistake devastated him. “I had no recourse, no comparable media platform at my disposal. It was as terrible and as helpless as you can imagine,” he said. “Even more disappointing, a few people that I honestly thought were friends, shared online my unfortunate story with glee.”

Ridiculing Christian Conservatives

Another site that ridicules the right is Christwire. It features fake articles that put conservative Christians in an unflattering light, which is also reflected in its fire-and-brimstone mission statement. Splitsider describes it as “a played-extremely-straight satire of the religious far right,” which is “designed to be sexist, racist and homophobic.”

Co-founder Bryan Butvidas told New York Magazine that the site’s basic concept is to “see what Glenn Beck is talking about and then make it ten times worse.” The Casper Star-Tribune opined, “Many of the articles assume an ironically fanatical conservative tone.” Not surprisingly, The New York Times reports, “Neither of the two founders is a conservative Christian.”

Fox News Takes the Bait

Two Fox News hosts were sued recently over repeating a fake news story on air. A school superintendent sued Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade for repeating fake quotes by him regarding a school prank. Although the judge eventually threw the lawsuit out, Media Matters ran an article about it with the headline, “‘Gullible’ Fox & Friends escape lawsuit for repeating yet another false news story.”

Other Fox News hosts were fooled into repeating a fake quote attributed to an Occupy Toronto protester, including Stuart Varney. The satire piece ran on The Globe and Mail’s site, a respected newspaper in Canada.

fake Schweikert TwitterDishonest Twitter Accounts

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) has gotten three fake Twitter accounts shut down for pretending to be him. A fourth one, which tries to give the appearance that Schweikert is running on a joint platform with Donald Trump, is so poorly done that the “gear” it is selling has Schweikert’s name spelled wrong, as “Scheweikert.” Likely created by Democrats in Arizona or the Democratic National Congressional Committee, the account sends out tweets that make it appear Schweikert is both praising and criticizing Trump, with a dual purpose of associating Schweikert with anything negative about Trump.

The Left Traps Itself

Ironically, although these sites ridicule conservatives in the hopes of getting them to share the articles, gullible liberals eager to believe the worst about the right have also been tricked. Left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow fell for a Christwire story that said Sarah Palin wanted to invade Egypt.

Even the biggest newspapers in the country, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, have fallen for fake news. Twitter accounts pretending to be offensive Republican congressmen (but who do not exist) have fooled the left. The journalist Christine Amanpour responded seriously to conservative “Rep. Steve Smith of Georgia” when he criticized Germany. Two journalists at MSNBC fell for the fake racist tweets of  conservative “Rep. Jim Hankle of Arkansas.”

Megyn Kelly for Hillary?!

The site Conservative 101 may be another fake conservative news site meant to trap conservatives. Two of their fake articles have gone viral and caused great embarrassment.

One story alleged that the actor Tom Hanks was backing Donald Trump (he’s actually backing Hillary Clinton). The other one, a fake report that Megyn Kelly was leaving Fox News because she supports Clinton, even went viral on Facebook as one of its trending news stories.

Conservative 101 has no identifying or contact information, likely an indication the owner(s) realize they are spreading harmful information.

How to Stop the Damage

All of these traps mean that it’s more dangerous than ever to share or cite an article without first researching it. If someone shares an article on your FB page or emails you something, do not comment on or share it until you have verified it for accuracy. This means checking all articles with a myth-debunking site and investigating whether legitimate, larger news publications have covered the topic.

One trick the fake news sites use is to open a story somewhat legitimately, because most people don’t bother reading past the headline or first couple of paragraphs. Paul Horner of National Report bragged to Vice News, “All it takes is a semi-plausible headline and two quick paragraphs to provoke outrage.” So read all the way to the end.

One sign a story may be fake is when the headline doesn’t match the video or story.

This is becoming a serious problem as these sites multiply, and 30 percent of adults now get news from Facebook. While Snopes is the best known myth-debunking site on the internet, it leans to the left. Fortunately, Fake News Watch has compiled a list of fake news sites.

But beware, more fake sites are surely in the offing. Proceed with caution.

*This article has been corrected to reflect that the Democrats induced the 2013 government shut down, not the Republicans.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Charles Burge

    While disturbing, this trend does say a lot about the sad state of American journalism these days. Isn’t proper fact-checking one of the first things people learn in journalism school?

    • My guess, the first things their “liberal” professors teach is: Democrats good, Republicans Evil. Lesson 2: Communism wonderful; you get free tuition, free lunch, and lots of other free stuff for everyone.

      • honeybadger

        And how to spin lies

  • Right up front, the author of this piece falls into a trap herself when she writes,. “During the Republican-led government shutdown,…” I understand that leftists always report it that way, but it’s a lie. Apparently, “right wing” journalists don’t know any better than leftists. They just “report” what the leftists have accused their opponents of supporting. Here’s what really happens, almost every time.

    The Republicans present a budget. The president vetoes it and he will immediately be responsible for any shutdown. Yet, he unfortunately, successfully, reprhensibly blames and berates his opponents. Honest, intelligent journalists would report with the headlline: President shuts down government with a budget veto.

    Regrettably, the main stream (drain stream!) leftist media are in cahoots and the wimpy RINOs are either cowards or happy to be “forced” to increase spending.
    And politicians of all stripes have no idea why a non-politician is even running much less why he’s getting more popular every day. Voters know why.

    • honeybadger

      RIght, it was the Democrat led government shut down..

  • honeybadger

    The left is ruthless. They are atheists, they have no moral boundries except whats the fad of the day. They are marxists.

    I am sick of pretending that the Left: All the media, all the universities (except for literally 10) all hollywood (except for that delightful Kelsey Grammer) are patriotic. Ooo, they just have different ideas of how to get things done. NONSENSE>

    THe marxists have completely taken over and they want to destroy America and take it down to size.

    They cannot be “worked with” we cannot compromise with them, we should not reach accross the aisle. They want boys and girls to shower together, they want men to marry men.

    These are not reasonable people. They are a suicide cult and they want anarchy. STOP PRETENDING THEY CAN BE REASONED WITH.

    They simply must be destroyed. Mocked, called out.

    And Alinsky tactics IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE USING ”

    and people wonder why trump is popular.

    My stars.

  • Gail Finke

    It’s hard to make up fake liberal news because “real” liberal news is already so crazy it’s hard to tell what’s parody and what’s not. When Princeton students demand “safe spaces” because of micro aggressions, it’s a real challenge to come up with even crazier pretend news. Liberals speak fluent sarcasm, they make fake news for entertainment — it’s a genre for cable television. Conservative people usually look at news because they want to read news. They need to be less trusting of things that sound true but don’t come from a source they trust.

  • “Journalist” opines: “It is our opinion that if a person is too lazy to check for multiple references [or at least one other source] … and they spread misinformation around as fact, then they are to blame for their own stupidity, not us.”

    “Reader opines back: “It is my opinion that if a journalist is too lazy to check for multiple references [or at least one other source] … and she spreads misinformation around as fact, then her readers are not to blame for the journalist’s stupidity, although Ms. Rachael Alexander has sure tried hard to pass the buck.”

    Also, a “person” is singular not to be referenced by the plural pronoun “they.” Reference: my elementary school English class.

    • Teresa Lyn

      Ted Duke: It appears that you, O lazy reader, missed reading comprehension during your schooling. That quote was not from Ms Rachael Alexander but the publisher of the fake news site National Report, “Allen Montgomery” (a pseudonym). “Montgomery has no sympathy for National Report‘s victims, telling the Tribune, “It is our opinion that if a person is too lazy to check for multiple references [or at least one other source] … and they spread misinformation around as fact, then they are to blame for their own stupidity, not us.”
      Spew your ire at “Montgomery” not the writer of this article.

Inspiration
The Son of Man
Charles Spurgeon
More from The Stream
Connect with Us