Rumor Review

Satirical piece makes the rounds on clickbait sites

Plagiarized piece of satire regarding U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar's children.A “satirical” story  falsely claimed that two children of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, were arrested and charged with arson for a nonexistent fire at the nonexistent St. Christopher’s Church of Allod in Maine., one of a network of satire sites run by the self-proclaimed “liberal troll” Christopher Blair, originally published this piece in July. Blair frequently provokes incautious readers online. In this post, he uses the word “Allod” in the name of the non-existent church. “Allod” is an acronym for “America’s Last Line of Defense,” another of Blair’s sites.

The item about Omar’s children has been copied (and in some cases plagiarized) by a number of clickbait sites seeking ad revenue. Links to the stories continue to be shared online, and many of those sites do not label the item as satire.

For teachers

Blair publishes absurd falsehoods, which he prominently labels as satire, but does so to troll and mock conservatives. Is this a legitimate form of “satire”? Why or why not?

If Blair’s obviously labeled pieces get mistaken as actual news, who is at fault? Is it unethical for Blair to profit from his satire through ad placements on his websites? Is it unethical for digital ad brokers to place ads on Blair’s sites? On sites that plagiarize Blair’s work?