The Metro Nashville Police Department released footage of the moment the Christmas Day bombing shook the city.
The claim: Nashville bombing suspect died from COVID-19 after the explosion
There’s confusion online after fake news website Genesius Times published a satirical article on Dec. 27 that claimed Nashville bombing suspect Anthony Warner died from COVID-related issues rather than the explosion.
“BREAKING: Nashville Bomber died from COVID-19 shortly after blowing himself up,” read the headline.
Under the headline is the Genesius Times source and a photo that appears to show CNN’s coverage. The words “NASHVILLE BOMBER DIED FROM COVID” appear across an image of the aftermath of the Dec. 25 bombing in Nashville.
This undated image posted on social media by the FBI shows Anthony Quinn Warner. (Photo: AP)
The article jokes that “the perpetrator died from COVID shortly after blowing himself up.”
Previous reports confirm Warner died in the Christmas morning blast. His death was not caused by COVID-19.
USA TODAY came across the claim after the Watch Chad Prather Facebook page shared a screenshot of the article Dec. 29 in which the headline, source and image are visible. The Facebook page is dedicated to the musician and comedian’s show “The Chad Prather Show” with Blaze Media.
The claim was shared on the Watch Chad Prather Facebook page, which is dedicated to the musician and comedian’s show “The Chad Prather Show” with Blaze Media. (Photo: Submitted)
“This Covid thing has really blown up,” the Facebook page captioned the post, and its followers responded with thousands of likes, laugh reactions and wow reactions.
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USA TODAY reached out to Genesius Times for comment and has yet to receive a response.
Claim started on satirical site
Genesius Times, whose slogan is “THE MOST RELIABLE SOURCE OF FAKE NEWS ON THE PLANET,” identifies itself as a “fake news” outlet on its website and social media.
“We strive to provide the most up-to-date, accurate fake news on the Internet,” Genesius Times states on its website. “Our team of journalists, hacks, and starving writers only want one thing: to make you laugh and/or cry.”
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Media Bias/Fact Check recognizes Genesius Times as a satirical news source, which often makes its jokes “at the left’s expense.”
Prather said his share was a joke
In an email statement to USA TODAY Prather confirmed he shared the post satirically.
“It’s obviously a fake and satirical headline that demonstrates how quickly we apply Covid 19 to every death that occurs,” he wrote. “The idea that someone would need to fact check obvious satire proves that humor is truly on its deathbed. Maybe coronavirus is what finishes it off.”
Chad Prather (Photo: Courtesy of Christy Burleson)
Prather’s page did not explicitly say the claim was satirical, but many followers reacted sarcastically in the comments.
The CNN image is altered
Genesius Times published another fake news article with the same photo altered to purport CNN reported another false claim days before. In that instance, the words “FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS IN NASHVILLE” appear across the photo. In both images the CNN logo and 11:27 a.m. timestamp are visible.
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PolitiFact rated the claim that Warner died from COVID-19 false on Dec. 29. USA TODAY could find no evidence that CNN ever aired the images with either graphic.
Our ruling: Satire
We rate the claim that Nashville bombing suspect Anthony Warner died from COVID-19 SATIRE because our research shows that the claim originated from a satirical news site and was shared by a comedian who said the post was satirical.
Our fact-check sources:
- Genesius Times, Dec. 27, “BREAKING: Nashville Bomber died from COVID-19 shortly after blowing himself up”
- USA TODAY, Dec. 27, “Man identified as Christmas Day bomber was longtime Nashville resident with electronics expertise”
- Watch Chad Prather, Dec. 29, Facebook Post
- Blaze Media, “The Chad Prather Show”
- Genesius Times, “Become a Patron”
- Media Bias/Fact Check, “Genesius Times”
- USA TODAY, Jan. 4, Email Statement from Chad Prather
- Genesius Times, “BREAKING: Nashville enjoys fiery but mostly peaceful Christmas morning”
- PolitiFact, Dec. 29, “The man behind the Nashville bombing was killed in the blast. No news outlet said he died from COVID”
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