Throughout the presidency of Barack Obama, right-wing blogs sought to manufacture anger against him — and business for themselves — by posting fabricated stories related not just to him, but his children.
The long-running “satirical” site Last Line of Defense offered up its own entry in that genre in an April 2017 post claiming that Obama’s oldest daughter Malia Obama had been expelled from Harvard University:
Malia Obama, who has decided that as an adult she wants to be a pot smoking, rap listening, twerking party girl, has been ousted from the student roster at Harvard University. The school’s chancellor, Malcolm Little, said that regardless of her status as a former first daughter, the rules are the rules and she won’t be welcome there this fall.
The stunning announcement came after Malia was caught in a Boston hotel lounge vaping marijuana with friends. Harvard has a strict no drug policy. Massachusetts is one of the states that now allows for recreational marijuana and the hotel is “weed friendly,” but that doesn’t change the fact that she broke the rules.
The post was shared more than 9,000 times online, presumably by many readers who did not read the site’s disclaimer:
Information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.
The story uses a common tactic: weaving factual reports into a fictional narrative. In this case, the New York Times reported that Malia Obama plans to attend Harvard in the fall of 2017. In 2016, she was also filmed apparently smoking marijuana at a music festival. This article uses those two separate reports to form the false narrative that Obama was expelled from Harvard for smoking marijuana.
The founder of the blog has claimed that the site’s objective is to “mess with conservatives.”
In some instances, however, right-wing blogs have reprinted Last Line of Defense’s copy without its disclaimer and leading readers to believe that the content is not a parody.
Update April 20 2021, 10:55 a.m.: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here.