A viral news article falsely reports that “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died on April 14, leaving his estate to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Trebek, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is alive — and there is no evidence he is “a fervent Trump supporter.”
Television game show host Alex Trebek has faced health problems since being diagnosed in March 2019 with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of 1%. However, he has responded well to chemotherapy, and on March 4, 2020, he shared an update on the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis. He revealed on April 14 that he has written a memoir set for publication in July.
However, a bogus article announcing his death has been shared around 4,700 times on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle data.
The story falsely claims that Trebek has died at the age of 80 “as a result of complications” — though it doesn’t specify any “complications.” And it claims Trebek has left his estate to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
The story also calls Trebek “a lifelong Republican and a fervent Trump supporter” who stated that leaving his estate “estimated to be valued at 100 million dollars” to Trump’s reelection campaign was “‘the best thing I can do for the future of my grandchildren.’”
The article was created by America’s Last Line of Defense — a network of satirical news websites, including conservativetears.com, where the Trebek story was originally posted. The Trebek story is clearly labeled as a “death hoax” on the original website, and there are several signs in the story itself that it’s not true. For example, “Senator Joe Barron” — who doesn’t exist — is quoted as saying that “facts don’t matter and none of this is real to me,” and a link to support Trump’s campaign leads to a gif of a grimacing Trebek.
However, the article has been republished and shared on Facebook without a satire label.
The phony story doesn’t even get Trebek’s age right. He is 79, and will turn 80 in July.
Moreover, we could find no evidence that Trebek is “a lifelong Republican and a fervent Trump supporter.” In a 2018 interview with Vulture, Trebek described himself as an independent. He recounted a conversation he had with Fox News host Sean Hannity where he stated, “I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.”