Dumb Racists Eagerly Share Hoax Article Claiming Malia Obama Arrested For Dogfighting
Lo this past week, an article has been making the rounds on social media claiming that Malia Obama was arrested "with a gang of thugs" in Chicago. For dogfighting. It came from a site called America's Last Line Of Defense, which reported:
Malia Obama may have done irreparable harm to her career this morning when she decided to join a gang of thugs in Chicago for a day of drinking, drugs and dogfighting at a public park in Chicago. Malia was arrested along with seven others and charged with wanton endangerment of animals, public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance.
Included was this very realistic looking Malia Obama mugshot along with the 7 "thugs" she was supposedly arrested with. You know, because they always let people look to the side in a mugshot.
Thousands of racists excitedly shared and commented on the article with sly quips about how of course the mainstream media won't report this!
And they were right! The mainstream news sure didn't report this -- not because they are so madly in love with the Obamas -- but rather because it's not true. America's Last Line of Defense is a satirical news site, as noted on their "About Us" page:
DISCLAIMER: The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real.
This is the same site, by the way, responsible for another widely-debunked but viral article about Malia Obama supposedly being kicked out of Harvard.
Looking at the site itself, as well as its Facebook page, it clearly exists explicitly for the purpose of trolling Republicans and Trump supporters to see what dumb shit they will believe. And, admittedly, some of it is comedy gold.
People believed that article, too. Many responders were half in tears at the beautiful thing they thought Donald Trump wanted to do for them, at no taxpayer expense (on Air Force One?). One lady even took it extra far and insisted that Trump actually uses his own plane for trips rather than Air Force One!
hes a very giving man,,he gives his all even when people like you put him down,he has his own plane,he does charge the american people nor do we pay for his trips.
Also rather delightful were the reactions to this post about how the 9th Circuit declared Christianity illegal."They thought The Onion was real!" moment more than I do. It is maybe one of my favorite things in life. I could probably spend hours sifting through the comments on this Facebook page. People believing dumb shit PLUS conservatives not knowing what satire is? Sign me up! Hell, as I type I am in the thralls of a gigglefit over the fact that alt-right douchebag Mike Cernovich and all his minions are retweeting a Tweet I wrote making fun of him:
A few of them have even followed me!
However, as delightful and honestly kind of satisfying as it is to see how truly, truly stupid Trump supporters are, their stupidity is dangerous. Their stupidity affects elections. As tempting as it is, those of us who know better cannot go around encouraging this.
The plain fact is, this shit makes them worse. As I clicked on the shares of each of these posts, there were only a handful of times in which any of the thousands of people who shared them were told "HEY, you just fell for some fake news! That is not real!" For the most part, there were either zero comments or comments from those who also believed it. So it's not like these people are sharing these stories, finding out they're fake and feeling embarrassed and being more careful about what they share next time. Most of them just go on believing them.
In the case of the Malia articles -- as well as several other of their articles specifically intended to bait racists, they're contributing to making people more racist. And that's not only not funny, it could cause real and actual harm to black people.
These people come up with enough dumb shit on their own. They come up with enough racist bullshit on their own. They don't need any help.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse