It’s now the second week of transphobic hysteria inspired by Dylan Mulvaney’s ad campaign for Bud Light. Last week featured aging rockers shooting cases of the light lager, aging country music stars cutting it from their riders, and online calls for a boycott.
This week, people are being fooled by a satirical article about the chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch resigning over the controversy.
There are multiple clues that the piece is satire. The most obvious sign that it’s fake is that the photo isn’t even of Anheuser-Busch’s CEO, it’s of convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
Another clue is that the story was published by the Dunning-Kruger-Times. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that leads people who are ill-informed, inexperienced, or incompetent to overestimate their abilities or knowledge.
The author’s name, Flagg Eagleton, could also be seen as a red flag that the article might not be entirely factual.
The story also claims that Anheuser-Busch fired its entire marketing department over the ad campaign, which probably shouldn’t be taken at face value.
It’s also relevant that the purportedly ousted CEO, Augustus Anheuser III, doesn’t exist. The actual CEO of Anheuser-Busch is Brendan Whitworth. Whitworth has not resigned.
In spite of all these signs that people should do some additional research before uncritically sharing the story, and multiple stories debunking the rumor, it’s continuing to spread on social media. Some posts have racked up tens of thousands of impressions on Twitter.
“Good!!! Go woke go broke!!” wrote one person who was apparently fooled by the satirical story.
That tweet has been viewed over 100,000 times. Their follow-up tweet 13 hours later acknowledging that it is a parody only has 6,000 impressions.
Many others fell for the fake story.
Some copycat sites seem to have uncritically repeated the claims, including this fake quote by the supposed interim CEO Joe Barron, “Travis Tritt called for our demise. There are powerful voices at play. Between him and Kid Rock who knows if we’ll survive at all.”
The Dunning-Kruger-Times is a subsidiary of America’s Last Line of Defense, which runs a network of satirical sites that have repeatedly tricked conservatives.
Christopher Blair, who runs the sites, told PoliFact in 2017, “The good chunk of the population who believe aren’t based in reality. They’re the people who buy the National Enquirer. Tucker Carlson doesn’t just get killed, he gets murdered by a blacked-out Ford Explorer.”
He also said his goal was to trick gullible conservatives into believing things most people wouldn’t. It’s earned the site many fans and some detractors, including among leftists.
The About page of the Dunning-Kruger-Times includes a message for liberals who don’t take too kindly to Blair’s satire.
“I’m all done trying to justify to libtaters why my work is allowed to be profitable. My tater audience is a commodity,” it states.
“Keep your poutrage to yourself. I sleep just fine.”
Correction: Jerry Sandusky is currently incarcerated, not deceased.