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A fake news article that said then-candidate Donald Trump would reinstitute the military draft should he be elected president was actually posted on a parody site early in 2016.
An April 29, 2016, article on the website RealNewsRightNow.com with the headline "Trump on revamping the military: We’re bringing back the draft" has enjoyed something of a resurgence on Facebook.
Users recently reported the story as possibly being fabricated, as part of Facebook’s efforts to cut down on fake news.
The post includes bogus quotes of Trump at a campaign rally in Costa Mesa, Calif., telling a crowd that he wants to re-establish conscription, which ended in the United States in 1973.
"We’re bringing back the draft, OK? We’re going to bring it back, and we’re going to make America as strong as we were in the Sixties," he’s quoted. He also goes on to say "was a very big supporter of the Vietnam war and, of course, the troops."
Except Trump never said those things (although he was in Costa Mesa for a rally that day). RealNewsRightNow.com is a parody site attempting to write for comedic effect.
Their About Us page doesn’t carry any sort of disclaimer, but it’s apparent from the absurd biography written for alleged founder R. Hobbus J.D that the site is a joke.
Besides multiple Pulitzer Prizes and Nobel Peace Prize nominations, Hobbus apparently won the fictional Stephen Glass Distinction in Journalistic Integrity, for example. Glass was a notorious fabricator of scads of people and quotes in stories he wrote for The New Republic. He was exposed back in 1998, before we used the trendy term "fake news."
It’s also clear from the other stories on the site that the news is fake. More recent headlines included "TSA to give complimentary massages to select travelers during security screenings" and "CNN report: 1 in 5 American voters spoke to Russian ambassador before U.S. election."
We reached out to the site via its contact form but did not hear back. The site is registered through a hosting service with a Los Angeles address.
Trump has been criticized in the past for receiving five draft deferments from 1964 to 1968. Four were educational deferments for attending college and one was a medical deferment for heel spurs. Some opponents labeled Trump a "draft dodger."
The goal of the story was obviously to play off this issue. For whatever reason, social media seemed to recently rediscover the story, which many must have thought was real.
But it’s fake, so we rate it Pants On Fire!
RealNewsRightNow.com, "Trump on Revamping the Military: We’re Bringing Back the Draft," April 29, 2016
Vanity Fair, "Shattered Glass," September 1998
PunditFact, "Was Trump a 'draft dodger'?," July 21, 2015
New York Times, "Donald Trump’s Draft Deferments: Four for College, One for Bad Feet," Aug. 1, 2016
NPR, "Trump Rally In Southern California Is Scene Of Large Counterprotest, Arrests," April 29, 2016
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