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This story originated on The Dunning-Kruger Times, a website that publishes what it describes as satirical articles.
Country music star Garth Brooks may sing about beer chasing his blues away, but did his support for Anheuser Busch chase hordes of his fans away?
That’s what one headline on a satirical website said. "Typically Sold-Out Garth Brooks Plays to a Half-Empty Arena: ‘It Was Embarrassing,’" read the Dunning-Kruger Times story published in late June.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller shared the story June 25 with his Facebook followers as though it were legitimate news, with the caption: "OMGosh! This is EPIC! America SPEAKS! WOW!"
"Good! He deserves it," one commenter responded.
"Hopefully lesson learned," wrote another.
(Screengrab from Facebook)
This was not the only Dunning-Kruger Times article about Brooks that caught politicians’ attention. On June 25, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a Dunning-Kruger article about Brooks allegedly being booed off a Texas stage, as if it were a real news story. Abbott appeared to realize his mistake and quickly deleted the tweet.
To people familiar with America’s Last Line of Defense, a network of sites known for producing content that is often shared as misinformation, the Dunning-Kruger Times url may have been tipoff enough that this was intended as parody.
On its About Us page, the website says, "Dunning-Kruger-Times.com is a subsidiary of the ‘America’s Last Line of Defense’ network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery, or as Snopes called it before they lost their war on satire: Junk News." At the bottom of every webpage, it describes itself as "Paid Liberal Trolls of America."
A click on the link was another giveaway.
Brooks, the piece said, played at "Geico Memorial Arena in Jostenberg, Illinois," and was considering canceling an upcoming date at "Haremfeather Norfolk Amphitheater in East Chicago."
Neither are real venues, as the story acknowledges: "Considering there’s a good chance that town doesn’t exist, will they miss me?" Brooks is quoted as saying.
The parody and fictionalized outrage refer to Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Mulvaney is known for documenting her gender transition on TikTok, where she has nearly 11 million followers. In April, she announced a Bud Light contest on her Instagram account during the NCAA basketball tournament.
Bud Light has since faced calls for boycotts, including by singers Travis Tritt and Kid Rock.
Brooks, meanwhile, is a longtime proponent of LGBTQ+ rights. In mid-June, he said that he planned to sell "every brand of beer" at a bar he is opening in Nashville, Tennessee.
Brooks’ hasn’t had a scheduled performance since he made that announcement. His remaining 2023 concerts are all in Las Vegas, where he's doing a residency at Caesars Palace.
Miller did not respond to PolitiFact’s requests for comment. But after PolitiFact reached out to his team June 29, Miller corrected the post, adding the line, "(This is a satirical post folks! Watch this come true, most Garth fans ain't woke!)"
The claim that Brooks recently played to a half-empty arena in Illinois was fabricated. We rate it Pants on Fire!
Dunning-Kruger Times, Typically Sold-Out Garth Brooks Plays to a Half-Empty Arena: "It Was Embarrassing", accessed June 29, 2023
Sid Miller, Original Facebook post, June 25, 2023
Sid Miller, Corrected Facebook post, June 25, 2023
The Associated Press, A story about Garth Brooks getting ‘booed off stage’ was made up. It duped the Texas governor, June 27, 2023
Social media user, Tweet, June 25, 2023
PolitiFact, If you're fooled by fake news, this man probably wrote it, May 31, 2017
Dunning-Kruger Times, About Us, accessed June 29, 2023
PolitiFact, Anheuser-Busch isn’t closing half its breweries. Those claims stem from a satirical website., May 1, 2023
USA TODAY, Garth Brooks threatened with boycott for comments amid Bud Light, Dylan Mulvaney controversy, updated June 12, 2023
Billboard, Garth Brooks On How His Nashville Bar Will ‘Serve Every Brand Of Beer’, June 7, 2023
TicketMaster, Garth Brooks Tickets, 2023 Concert Tour Dates, accessed June 30, 2023
The New York Times, Behind the Backlash Against Bud Light, June 14, 2023
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