by Chris White
A former CIA analyst and cyber disinformation researcher said people are sharing satirical content suggesting Democrats are calling for the American flag to be at half-mast for Gen. Qasem Soleimani “like it’s legit.”
“Some family members just called bc their Republican friends on FB are circulating it like it’s legit. We have a lot of work to do, all,” Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst who specialized in European and Middle East issues, told her Twitter followers Sunday.
Otis was referring to a Jan. 3 article from the Babylon Bee titled: “Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani.”
The satirical article published what the author said was a quote from former President Barack Obama that said: “To think, this all could have been prevented with a few pallets of cash. If only Trump had targeted a U.S. citizen with a drone strike instead.”
A post from a satirical website has been shared more than 500k times saying the DNC called for the flag to be at half-mast because of Soleimani. Some family members just called bc their Republican friends on FB are circulating it like it's legit. We have a lot of work to do, all.
— Cindy Otis (Pre-order TRUE OR FALSE now!) (@CindyOtis_) January 5, 2020
Babylon Bee was apparently mocking liberal activists who reacted after President Donald Trump’s orchestrated a Jan. 2 airstrike against Iranian Gen. Soleimani, who U.S. analysts believe is responsible for a series of attacks against the U.S. and its allies.
Hollywood actress Rose McGowan, for one, apologized to Iran in a Jan. 3 tweet for the death of Soleimani.
“Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize,” McGowan wrote on Twitter. “We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani.”
Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani pic.twitter.com/YE54CqGCdr
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) January 3, 2020
Otis suggested the article is confusing people.
“You’ll see it’s also circulating on Twitter. Many accounts sharing it as funny satire, some sharing it because they say it’s satire but still close to the truth, and others that appear to not know at all that it’s satire,” Otis wrote Sunday. She also suggested that someday she’ll write a “screed” on satirical websites.
CNN tech reporter Donnie O’Sullivan commented on Otis’s concerns as well. “A lot of people sharing this ‘satirical’ story on Facebook don’t know it is satire,” he told his Twitter followers Sunday while retweeting the analyst.
Media analysts have hammered Babylon Bee in the past. Snopes, for instance, created a fact-check label in August for satire and published a study that month suggesting that such content is a “problem for democracy.” Otis has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
– – –
Chris White is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.