USA Today fact check: No, President Biden is not selling Alaska back to Russia

Monday the Babylon Bee published this story:


The article itself was pretty clearly a piece of satire, one which mocked the idea that we were still buying oil from Russia rather than drilling in places like Alaska.

“Folks, nobody wants to ruin America’s beautiful Alaskan wilderness with oil trucks and drilling rigs, come on!” said President Biden in response to questions he thought were coming from a house plant in the West Wing. “But I’ve never had a problem getting oil from Russia, so there you go, go get him.”

Jen Psaki praised Biden’s brilliance in finding a solution that would prevent an energy crisis while also preventing new drilling on American land. She pointed out succinctly to journalists, “You see, it’s not American land anymore; it’s Russian land.”

Apparently USA Today thought someone reading that might get confused. Yesterday they published a fact-check of the article. And, yes, this is very real.

The Babylon Bee describes its site as “the world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims.” USA TODAY has previously fact-checked out-of-context headlines from the website.

There is no evidence Biden said he plans to sell Alaska.

Biden announced March 8 a ban on U.S. imports of all Russian energy products.

And here’s their conclusion:

Based on our research, we rate SATIRE the claim that Biden plans to sell Alaska to Russia. The claim stems from an article published by The Babylon Bee, a satire website. There is no evidence Biden plans to sell Alaska.


As mentioned above, this isn’t the first time USA Today has fact-checked the Babylon Bee. They previously ran a fact check on an article titled “Ninth Circuit Court Overturns Death Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Here’s a sample of that one:

Ginsburg will still be considered “alive” by the law, the article says. As to how the court will accomplish this feat, Wardlaw admitted, according to the article, “We’re still figuring that part out.”

Any attempt to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg will be blocked by the 9th Circuit until she can be cloned or resurrected, according to the article…

There is no record of any Wardlaw opinion on Ginsburg’s death on the website for the 9th Circuit, but she participated in a panel discussion Friday about Ginsburg’s life produced by the UCLA School of Law. There was no mention of “reviving” Ginsburg during the discussion.

The first time I wrote about something like this was back in 2018 when Snopes fact-checked a Babylon Bee story headlined “CNN purchases industrial-sized washing machine to spin news before publication.” Facebook then put a warning on the article based on the Snopes fact-check.

I really don’t get why USAToday is doing this. Do they genuinely think people are so dumb that they can’t tell these articles are satire? Or do they just want to generates clicks from people like me who can’t believe they keep publishing these?


There may be some instances of satire which is subtle enough that people really can’t be sure what’s true and what’s not. I don’t think anything the Babylon Bee publishes is walking that line. Their pieces are clearly aiming at a level of absurdity intended to make people laugh and also maybe point out some social hypocrisy. What I don’t think they’re trying to do is trick anyone.

Finally, there’s a new story on the Bee today that USAToday might want to look into. I think it’s satire but I’m not sure.

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