It seems like only yesterday that TWS Fact Check was quelling false information surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But, like a dog returning to its vomit, we must approach the chunder of the internet once more.

(It recalls to the mind that unerring line from Philip Roth, “the American writer ... has his hands full in trying to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality.” Luckily, our job here is to simply point out what, in fact, is not credible.)

Fact checkers often run into websites that claim to be “satirical”—a word that has, we fear, become synonymous with “unserious,” and the extremes of “low camp”—but produce content that is easily transformed into a false news story.

The above photo comes from a 2016 act of vandalism that took place in Ancaster, Ontario. As the Hamilton Spectator of Ontario notes, neighbors, fueled with Ent-like rage, saw that a tree had been brutally cut down. These vandals, however, failed to realize that the tree was owned and removed by the city, not the innocent victim whose house they threatened to burn down. They also, it would seem, failed to realize that this was just a tree. (Update, Oct. 4: The photo was removed from Facebook. We have included a screenshot of the original photo for reference.)

As our fellow fact-checkers at Snopes note, the photo was used in a post from the self-described satire site America’s Last Line of Defense titled “Protesters Vandalize Kavanaugh’s House, $11,000 Damage.” While the piece itself is riddled with eighth-grade jokes and clear signs that it isn’t real, the headline—as so often is the case—was consumed without regard for the body.

Following that thread, it’s very easy to see how the image became a fake meme, believed by thousands; despite the fact that “tree” is spray painted on the garage door. (Perhaps the audience thought it was some sort of disputed euphemism from Brett Kavanaugh's high-school yearbook.)

One Facebook user suggested, "this is one of the worst things I have ever seen. This is a sad day to think people can do this without consequences. They need to be arrested and jailed and severely fined for their actions!!" The sentiment of "jail them!" persists throughout the anger-filled comment section.

Using real images in a “satirical” article with a believable headline seems awfully suspect when presented against the defense “We’re just a satire site!”

If you have questions about this fact check, or would like to submit a request for another fact check, email Holmes Lybrand at or the Weekly Standard at For details on TWS Fact Check, see our explainer here.