Breitbart Falls for Hoax Claiming California Flag Was Supposed to Have a Pear


In a bizarre series of events, conservative website Breitbart falsely reported that the symbol on the California state flag was supposed to be a pear, not a bear.

Breitbart editor Joel Pollack wrote a story on an L.A. Times op-ed Monday who called the iconic California Bear Flag racist and colonialist. It would have been a great point-and-laugh-at-the-PC-liberal piece if Pollak hadn’t inserted his last paragraph: “According to, the inclusion of a bear in the flag was a mistake; it was supposed to be a pear.”

…Yeeeeeeah, no. is indeed a widely-respected debunker of Internet urban legends, but the piece Pollak linked to was a joke on their part. Snopes posted the article in The Repository Of Lost Legends (TROLL) section of the site, as a statement about the dangers of relying on false authority. Clicking a link at a bottom of their bear-pear story brings up this statement:

If you’re reading this page, chances are you’re here because something about one or all of the entries in The Repository Of Lost Legends (TROLL) section of this site struck you as a tadge suspect, if not downright wrong.

If any or all of the stories in this section caused your internal clue phone to ring, we hope you didn’t let the answering machine take the call. That niggling little voice of common sense whispering to you in the background was right — there was something wrong with what you read.

You’ve just had an encounter with False Authority Syndrome.

Politifact fact-checked Pollak’s piece and unsurprisingly ruled it Pants on Fire. They note that one of the more obvious clues that the pear story was a hoax was the statement that the leader of the California rebels was one Captain Jebediah Bartlett.

Pollack updated the piece with a slightly bitter correction: “Update: indicates that its own story about the pear is not true. Hat tip: Jon Greenberg, who claims to be a ‘National staff writer with PunditFact and PolitiFact’ (though who knows? these fact-checkers make things up.”

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