The author of a satirical website said the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, is among the “dumbest people in the country” after Abbott shared a fake article about his own state.
The Maine resident Christopher Blair, who runs the satirical website Dunning-Kruger-Times, ridiculed Abbott after the governor shared a fake article about country singer Garth Brooks being booed off a stage over his support of Bud Light.
“When I saw that, I was besides myself with joy,” Blair said in an interview with the Guardian.
“He’s one of the dumbest people in the country.”
On 25 June, Abbott responded to a story about Brooks being jeered by “patriots” over his calls for tolerance at the 123rd annual Texas Country Jamboree in the city of Hambriston.
But Hambriston is not a real city. The jamboree is also not a real event. The entire article was false, one of many written by Blair under the alias “Flagg Eagleton”.
Blair said that at one point he feared that it would be too obvious the article was fake. “As soon as I wrote the headline, I said to myself that it might be a little bit much,” Blair said. “But it wasn’t.”
Abbott still genuinely responded to the fake article from his personal Twitter account. “Go Woke. Go Broke,” Abbott wrote about the false story.
“Garth called his conservative fans assholes. Good job, Texas,” Abbott added, referring to the booing.
Abbott quickly deleted the tweet. But several Twitter users took screenshots of the gaffe and mocked Abbott.
“Way to go governor Abbott!” wrote one Twitter user. Another user called Abbott a “sucker” for being fooled by the article.
Abbott’s office could not be reached by the Guardian for comment.
Republicans have denounced Brooks after he announced that his Nashville bar would serve Bud Light beer and encouraged his customers to be tolerant.
Far-right and anti-trans figures have criticized the beer brand for working with the trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a promotion during the annual March Madness national college basketball tournament.
Blair said Abbott is not the first public official to share false articles written by himself or other satirical writers.
Sid Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner, has also reposted a Dunning-Kruger-Times article.
Miller responded to a false article about Kyle Rittenhouse taking out a lien against the actor Whoopi Goldberg’s house. “She refuses to pay. He’s within his rights. He seems to be very good at that,” Miller wrote on Facebook, according to a screenshot shared by Blair.
Blair has run America’s Last Line of Defense (Allod), which operates the Dunning-Kruger-Times and other satirical websites, since 2016, when Donald Trump was elected US president.
Blair, who self-identifies as a “professional liberal troll”, said the goal of the website was to expose the “gullibility of rightwing extremists”.
Before this “operation”, Blair received attention for hijacking a conservative Facebook page and posting pictures of goats as the online liberal personality “Busta Troll”.
Fake articles created by Blair and other Allod affiliates usually cover topics associated with conservatives’ culture war, including Garth Brooks and the M&M candy controversy.
“They get so riled up over nothing,” Blair said of the conservatives who reshare his article. “Right now, they’re at war with Garth Brooks. He doesn’t care.”
Blair added that much of the focus on cultural issues among conservatives “comes from the top in the conservative world”, from figures like Tucker Carlson.
“Anything to take away from what’s happening to Trump,” Blair said. “Anything to take away from what the Republican party is doing in general. Anything to take away from the corruption in the supreme court.”
Blair says he has received criticism from people who say that he is propagating misinformation, but contends that the site openly advertises as being false.
The Dunning-Kruger-Times.com website reads: “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 end of the day, somebody is telling them that this is fake,” Blair said.
Blair said it was “disappointing” to see public officials share articles that are clearly fake. “I shake my head. To see it shared by people who matter, I shake my head and I chuckle,” Blair said. “It’s really disappointing to see so many people over the years who have just been dumb enough. Greg Abbott, especially.”