A fake story circulating online this week claims that President Obama’s teenage daughter Malia is pregnant.
The false story was published by the so-called “satire” website Empire News, which is known to post fictional, outlandish stories such as this. Internet readers are often unaware of the fictional nature of Empire News, and often share the false stories with the assumption that they are real.
The post came on the heels of a real report in which a congressional aide criticized the Obama daughters for seeming uninterested during a Thanksgiving appearance. That aide has since resigned in the wake of the scandal.
Satire watchdog Bad Satire Today was the first to call out the fake story by Empire News, which appeared around November 28. The story began circulating heavily throughout the weekend, and Bad Satire Today reported the false story on November 30, noting that no legitimate sources or corroborating links were cited.
Satire Disguised as News
Empire News is one of several fake news website which have been responsible for viral false news in recent months. In September, a viral story by Empire News circulated which claimed MTV had started production of a series entitled “12 and Pregnant.”
In its About/Disclaimer section, Empire News notes that it is a “satirical and entertainment website.”
Fake news disguised as satire has become big business, and such low-quality tabloid-like articles as these are churned out in high volume by a growing number of similar websites. The fake news articles rely on the shock value and knee-jerk sharing to achieve viral status for many of these types of posts.
President Obama’s daughter Malia is not pregnant. That story was published by the fake news website Empire News in the name of satire.