Updated November 18, 2016
After the 2016 general election, the left has decided that people need to be alerted to the danger of fake news websites. A liberal professor has collected a list of over one hundred such websites. However, it includes many serious conservative websites. This list is being promoted around the country. It was originally posted at WTVM in Georgia and was running at KMOV in St. Louis.
The GatewayPundit details this at BREAKING: Liberals Create List of “Fake” News Websites Including: Breitbart, Infowars, Zerohedge, Twitchy, The Blaze.
It would be nice if there were impartial fact-checkers to analyze this list. Too bad Snopes.com does not qualify. Yes, I know Snopes is often considered the gold standard for verification of accuracy, and in most cases, it is. However, when it comes to political fact-checking, it has been showed to be problematic. Their “main political fact-checker” is Kim Lacapria. “Lacapria has manufactured, nuanced, and spun facts about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, Omar Mateem not “really being” a Democrat despite his official party registration, and Facebook being an above-board and non-manipulative news source,” from EXPOSED – Guess Who is REALLY Behind Snopes.com?
Questioning the credibility of fact-checkers is not a recent issue. Who’s Checking the Fact Checkers? was published in 2013.
This post was originally created in October 2015 and has been updated since. It is a compilation of fake, hoax, and satirical websites from several sources (listed at the bottom of this article.) Some websites are malicious and some innocuous, but all of them can and do regularly fool many into believing their “news” is real. This is not intended to be a complete list of all fake news websites. All of these websites are aimed at conservatives, and designed to get them to believe and then promulgate false information.
One of the leading publishers of fake viral news acknowledged to the Washington Post that he specifically targeted Trump supporters during the election because he felt they were more willing to accept fake news as real if it coalesced with their world view. Details at Purveyor of Fake News Says He Targeted Trump Supporters, Influenced Election. He did not think Trump supporters would fact check outrageous claims. Alas, in some cases, he was not wrong.
An example I found recently showed a story about a major Presidential candidate wanting to relocate a highly disgruntled and violent group of people in the Middle East to an American territory. (I deliberately do not use the actual names here.) The story might seem to provide an attractive option for those who are concerned about the area. This website actually appeared on the first page of a Google search. People who do not check out these stories are often tempted to share such “good news” with their friends. As Jonathan Swift wrote in 1710: “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”
Did you think that this quote was reminiscent of a similar famous quote attributed to Mark Twain? So did I. However, there is no source that can link Twain to “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” How do I know this? I checked it out on Quote Investigator, an excellent website that researches the origins of famous quotations. Just as fake news stories can harm our credibility, falsely attributed quotations can have a similar effect.
How many people think Sarah Palin said “I can see Russia from my house.” It was actually comedian Tina Fey, who was impersonating Ms. Palin on the television program Saturday Night Live, and spoke the line that is now widely attributed to the former Alaska governor. According to a 2008 Zogby poll, almost 87 percent of those polled believed that it was Sarah Palin who made that comment and not Tina Fey. It is politically damaging to allow a false impression to take hold of the electorate.
I have grouped the websites into several areas of interest: Political, Religious, News, and Miscellaneous. News websites often do include political fake news but also have much non-political content. The details for each website can be found on the links at the end of the article.
This article includes only websites that are from the United States of America, to the best of our knowledge. While there are plenty of non-American satirical websites (some in English), fewer of those are likely to dupe Americans.
- Disclaimers located on a separate page or at the footer of the homepage (if you’re lucky and the site actually has one);
- The number (and sometimes type) of ads on the site;
- Images for the articles.
Rather than having to take the time to investigate each new source, we offer a list of many fake news websites in this post. It was compiled from the sources found at the end of the article combined with additional original research. This list is not comprehensive for all fake news sites. It was designed to include only websites that target conservatives and religious people.
There is a very large list of satire websites at Real or Satire? You can search their database or submit a URL to them to evaluate whether it is real or satire. They seem to be a great resource to identify unreliable websites. Still, I found one website that had a story that would appeal to many, so I checked and verified it was a fake news website. It was not listed in Real or Satire? at all, so I submitted this website to them.
Fake News Watch is another good place to check if you do not see the website on our lists. They have three categories:
- Fake/Hoax news websites are satire sites that are not funny. They are an attempt to play on gullible people who do not check sources and will just pass the news on as if it were really true.
- Satire websites are sites that make fun of the news. The stories are typically over the top and meant to be funny. The most famous satire site is The Onion.
- Clickbait websites are sites that take bits of true stories but insinuate and make up other details to sow fear. Most of these are conspiratorial in nature are very unreliable. Here is a list of hundreds of websites that are designed to look like real local newspapers.
If you discover other websites that seems to target conservatives with fake stories, please send us a comment or email with the URL so we can investigate it and add it to this list, if need be.
Bookmark this site for convenient access to the updated list in the future.
Please be careful about what you re-post. If you check the source first you can avoid losing credibility by using quasi-realistic but fake articles. While our cherished President Ronald Reagan once said “trust, but verify,” in our case we must take it one step further. Verify, then trust.
I encourage you to pass this on to all your friends on social media and let them be aware as well.
The following are fake websites. The purpose of these websites is to make money. They create fake headlines that people want to believe. This prompts readers to share the headlines on Facebook. Often these sites get tens of thousands of Facebook shares for their fake articles. This generates ad revenue for the site.
The following fake news site either prey of conservatives specifically or at least tend run headlines that conservatives would like to believe are true. Some of these site generate huge amounts of traffic due to viral Facebook sharing. The owners are laughing all the way to the bank.
- NationalReport.net (100% fake political stories)
- The site NationalReport.net seems to be actively trying to embarrass conservative on social media. People think it is a mainline 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.
- “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,” National Report publisher “Allen Montgomery” told the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune in 2014.
- “In general, people are eager to suspend critical thinking if what they are reading confirms their viewpoint,” Montgomery told The Daily Banter in a 2014 interview, where he also described fooling people as “a public service” intended to make them think more critically about the media.
- RealNewRightNow.com (100% fake news and political stories)
- DailyCurrant.com (100% fake political stories)
- TheMidEastBeast.com (100% fake Middle East news and political stories)
- DrudgeReport.com.co (not affiliated with the real news source The Drudge Report.)
- Huzlers.com (100% fake news and political stories)
- LibertyTalk.fm (clickbait)
- lightlybraisedturnip.com (clickbait)
- The Borowitz Report (political)
- theuspatriot.com (political)
- elelephantintheroom.blogspot.com (political)
- FreeWoodPost.com (100% fake news and political stories)
- facebook.com/C4MB10.0 (Michelle Bachmann)
Biblical and Religious
- Lark News (100% fake religious news)
Specializing in local church-related news, Lark News’ satirizing of evangelicalism may have a limited appeal to audiences familiar to the group.
- Christwire.org (100% fake religious news)
Christ Wire, a fake religious news site, isn’t likely to fool anyone into thinking their reading something true with its biting brand of conservative satire. Instead of just lampooning media coverage of current events, the site targets conservative Christian stereotypes. … One of the site owners told New York Magazine, “We write to see how far we can get people to believe our nonsense. People believe anything they read on the Internet.”
- WeeklyWorldNews.com (an oldie but a goodie)
- WorldNewsDailyReport.com (100% fake archaeology news)
- TribuneHerald.net (100% fake news)
- AmericanNews.com (Articles are half fake. Takes real stories and adds a fake twist.)
- Usatoday.com.co (it is not USA Today)
- Cnnnext.com (it is not CNN)
- CityWorldNews.com (news)
- The Racket Report (100% fake news)
- NewsWatch33 (100% fake news)
- DeathAndTaxesMag.com (op-ed, some real, some satire)
- Stuppid.com (sic)(news and photos)
- Reductress.com (first satirical women’s magazine)
A person’s reputation for seriousness and truth can be damaged by inadvertently posting fake stories as real ones. Even though these websites do not necessarily target conservatives and some are truly innocuous and humorous, you should still be aware of them and be careful about reposting their stories without noting they are clearly satires or hoaxes.
- Snopes.com Yes, I know Snopes is usually the gold standard for verification of accuracy, and in most cases, it is. However, when it comes to political fact-checking, it has been showed to be problematic when it involves conservative issues.
- VeteransToday.com (Dubious sources and fake twists.)
VeteransToday targets the conspiracy crowd. Some of the content is syndicated from Russian and Iranian news sources. However, these are sources that routinely run fake content themselves. The owner of Veterans Today confessed that “40% of the content” is fake.
- Celebtricity.com (100% fake celebrity news)
- The News Nerd (100% fake celebrity news)
Frequently tinged with a mean-spirited celebrity bashing, News Nerd stories are really more hoaxes than satire. Many of the “articles” just seem like they’ve been written to juke unsuspecting social media users who’ve stumbled on a headline. … One of their “satirical” stories, claiming Patti Labelle was arrested for fighting Aretha Franklin, ended up getting them sued for $10 million by Franklin, who told the Detroit News through her publicist, “The stories were not presented as satire or humor. It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way—defamation of character.”
- Duffelblog.com (military)
- Callthecops.net (Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical work)
- Clickhole (100% spoof of clickbait websites)
The Onion’s new sister-site isn’t exactly a spoof of actual news, but its takedown of the Buzzfeed/Upworthy clickbait that shows up in your Facebook newsfeed makes fun of what often passes for real news in the social media era. Like The Onion, it’s also consistently funny and pokes fun at our bored, linkbait crazed culture.
- The Onion (100% satire and humor)
You would think at this point that “America’s finest news source” has become such a prominent part of Internet culture that people would stop getting faked out by their ridiculous headlines. But they still do—literally, all of the time. The thing that sets The Onion apart from many of the web’s other fake news sites is that it’s almost always funny, and for the most part, is clearly satirizing the news media, pop culture and current events—often proving a sound point in the process.
- Daily Buzz Live (70+% fake, 100% clickbait)
- [Jen] Stuart, who started the site in 2013, has the same philosophy about “creative material” (in other words, the made-up stuff) that National Report’s Allen Montgomery takes toward his political “satire”: Fake stories are a public service because they remind people not to believe everything they read.
- Stuart is also one of the few site owners willing. “two writers, a graphic designer, web developer, social media manager and two editors,” and also pays writers on eLance.