Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Say She Will Skip Trump and Negotiate Directly With Putin

Hoax Alert

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Say She Will Skip Trump and Negotiate Directly With Putin

Is Nancy Pelosi negotiating directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin about ending the government shutdown? No, that's not true: the story was made up by the satire section of a magazine, it is not real.

The story originated from an article published by The Borowitz Report on January 5, 2019 titled "Pelosi Says She Will Skip Trump and Negotiate Directly With Putin" (archived here) which opened:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)--In a bold gambit to end the government shutdown, the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said on Saturday that she would bypass Donald J. Trump and negotiate directly with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

"I owe it to the American people to bring this shutdown to the swiftest possible conclusion, and so I'm avoiding the middleman," she said.

Users on social media would only see this title, description and thumbnail, so the caption "Not The News" should have given people pause:

Pelosi Says She Will Skip Trump and Negotiate Directly With Putin

"I owe it to the American people to bring this shutdown to the swiftest possible conclusion, and so I'm avoiding the middleman," she said.

The story appeared in the satire column of The New Yorker ("The Borowitz Report" by Andy Borowitz) which was acquired in 2012 by the magazine. Although the section with the columns and all the articles in it are clearly marked as satire the stories frequently get confused for real news by people who only see the title and summary on social media and who assume it must be real because the link goes to the actual website of The New Yorker.

In part to combat this the main page of The Borowitz Report comes with a clear heading that simply states:

Satire from the Borowitz Report

satirefromtheborowitzreport.jpg

To be safe, whenever you see a link that goes to any article on the "newyorker.com" website, always check if the rest of the link says "/humor/borowitz-report/" somewhere. If it does, don't believe a thing you read...

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes newyorker.com as:

The website of the celebrated weekly magazine The New Yorker. The site publishes news, reviews, investigative reports, and critical commentary about international politics, culture, and New York City events, as well as poetry, fiction, videos and podcasts, satire, and cartoons. Its political content is usually liberal in tone and outlook.

According to NewsGuard the site can generally be trusted to maintain journalistic standards. Read their full assessment here. However, the satire section probably shouldn't be taken seriously.

We wrote about newyorker.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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