Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy August 3, 2018

Was a Massachusetts man targeted in a hit-and-run because of a Trump bumper sticker?

A headline attracting clicks on social media said a Massachusetts hit-and-run victim was targeted by a "left wing extremist" because of a campaign bumper sticker for President Donald Trump on his car.

"Chloe Wright — left wing extremist, chases down, rams car over Trump bumper sticker," said an Aug. 1 headline from the Pacific Pundit, a conservative blog.

This headline was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

"Another left wing extremist loses their s--- over a Trump bumper sticker," the story said. "Chloe Wright a left wing extremist in Massachusetts got triggered over an SUV with a Trump bumper sticker."

"The liberal loon Chloe Wright was so triggered, she chased down and rammed the car with the bumper sticker," the story continued, before quoting directly from a CBS Boston article.

But CBS Boston, the Cape Cod Times and other credible local reports wrote their stories without the same type of loaded language.

On June 30, a man contacted police in Barnstable, Mass., to report a hit-and-run. According to a police report cited by the Cape Cod Times, the man told responding officers he was stopped for a red light when Wright, the driver of the car behind him, started honking.

The man told police that Wright trailed his car as he drove off and continued honking. At the next red light, he said she also started yelling.

The man said he stepped into the road to inspect the back of his own vehicle for any problems, at which point Wright began yelling specifically about a campaign bumper sticker for Trump that he had positioned above a spare tire on his car’s rear window.

Featured Fact-check

"She said, ‘You voted for Trump?’" the man reportedly wrote in a statement. "I said yes. She called me a racist and several other names."

The man began recording the incident, and Wright rolled her car in his direction. He said he retreated toward the opening of his driver’s side door just as Wright drove at him and struck the door with her car. CBS Boston reported that she came inches from hitting the man.

Wright then sped off down the street, according to the man’s statement to police as cited in the police report.

The man’s girlfriend, seated in the passenger seat throughout the incident, reportedly confirmed the man’s account of events. The man’s recording of the altercation shows Wright's gray Honda Civic collide with the open driver’s-side door.

Wright pleaded not guilty July 30 to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon and will return to court on Aug. 28 for a pretrial hearing. She also faces charges of vandalizing property and leaving the scene of property damage.

By the victim’s account, Wright intentionally rammed her car into his at least in part because she was outraged over his bumper sticker. On the other hand, Wright's version of events has not yet been reported or vetted in court.

Judging from what has already been reported, we cannot conclude with certainty that Wright is a "left wing extremist" or that she acted out solely because of the victim’s Trump bumper sticker. Until further details emerge in court, a more precise headline is needed to reflect what allegedly occurred.

For example, the Cape Cod Times headline read, "Woman accused of hitting car in Hyannis after confrontation over Trump bumper sticker."

Our ruling

A headline from Pacific Pundit said a "left wing extremist, chases down, rams car over Trump bumper sticker."

The details laid out in the story were mostly in line with what has been reported in other credible outlets. Until we hear more from the case, the story and headline should be more precise. We rate this statement Mostly True.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Bill McCarthy

Was a Massachusetts man targeted in a hit-and-run because of a Trump bumper sticker?

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up