The Baltimore Gazette, a newspaper that existed very briefly just after the Civil War, has returned online as a site to spread fake news stories and other nonsense.
One article in particular, "ATLANTA OFFICER KILLS BLACK WOMAN, INJURES CHILD, FOLLOWING BREASTFEEDING ARGUMENT," caught the attention of the online sleuths at Snopes.com after it apparently went viral. Search "Baltimore Gazette" on Facebook and you'll find a number of people who have been deceived by the breastfeeding story or are trying to prevent others from doing the same.
The Gazette's "article" is a rehash of a bogus story that ran in a bogus source, the National Report, in 2014, Snopes reported yesterday in a post that has been shared more than 20,000 times.
Other stories on the site appear to be similarly fake, even though the innocuous, newspaper-ish name, basic web design, and dry tone of the prose could lead some—particularly people who don't live here—to be easily deceived. But there are plenty of signs that the site is full of it.
Most of the articles are written by "BG Staff," with no proper byline given, and it appears the earliest article was published a few days ago, on Sept. 20.
A local story about an 11-year-old girl hit by a minivan in Woodberry is riddled with falsehoods. It says she was hit near a school at 4041 W. 41st St., Ridley Elementary, that does not exist and says she is a student at Dwyer Middle School, another made-up school. The site also "reports" the incident was being investigated by the "County Sheriff's Office," despite it happening in the city.
In other big local news, according to the Gazette, a man made off with Sudafed from a Walgreens on East Fayette Street. Reporter "Dan Stevens" learned from a "Baltimore Police Department media release" the pharmacist thought the man was "casing the place." The suspect, not surprisingly, in light of the racial undertones of some of the articles, is described as an "unknown black man."
BPD spokesman T.J. Smith says the story "doesn't appear to be true" and notes that the phone number listed for anyone with information to contact is not affiliated with the department.
The other two national news stories on the site are related to the rioting in Charlotte, and both—that "anyone caught looting will have welfare and food stamps revoked for life" and that Charlotte will receive $80 million from FEMA—are unsubstantiated. The FEMA food stamps one was debunked by Snopes too.
They are positive about one thing, though: "Here's How Homeschooling is Changing America."
The URL for the website was registered in July 2015 through Domains By Proxy, a company started by GoDaddy.com founder Bob Parsons that keeps owner information marked private. An email inquiry to the totally legit-sounding BALTIMOREGAZETTE.COM@domainsbyproxy.com was not immediately returned.
Interestingly enough, the site did just put up a post about a police-involved shooting in Baltimore County this afternoon, a story that is developing right now in real time—perhaps an attempt to look more credible. But the three-sentence post is aggregating the reporting of WBAL-TV.
Also, the Baltimore Gazette lists its offices at 612 E. Pratt St. There is no such address—the entire 600 block of E. Pratt is occupied by Lockwood Plaza, at 600 E. Pratt, the home of Marshall's, Panera Bread, Fogo de Chão, and other retail stores.
In sum, the Baltimore Gazette is basically your conservative wingnut uncle's email chain trying to masquerade as a credible news source. Don't buy into it.