Did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offer an extra $1 million expense account to any member of congress who votes for the Trump impeachment? No, that's not true: The claim that Speaker Pelosi offered a financial bribe for impeachment support was published as satire by a known and well-labeled satire website. Unfortunately, more than a few readers see the fake headline, believe it is real, and share the story. Also, other sites steal the photo and copy and republish it without the satire labeling. Lead Stories can confirm this is a fake story published by a liberal who trolls conservatives into sharing false stories.
The story originated from an article published by BustaTroll.org on November 20, 2019 titled "Nancy Pelosi Approves $1 Millon Expense Accounts For Any Rep That Votes For Impeachment" (archived here) which opened:
Nancy Pelosi is offering members of Congress incentives to vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump. In a letter to every Democrat intercepted by Conservative Weekly Truth Online, Pelosi is seen bribing her fellow Democrats to usurp the will of the people by offering them huge expense accounts:
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
The truth is right there in front of you
The satire includes this beyond-belief quote purportedly from Pelosi:
"Those voting to impeach the traitor in the White House will have the added benefit of taxpayer-funded expense account up to $1 million to help cover personal protection and party supplies to celebrate, as well as armored vehicles and full-time Secret Service protection.
"I hope you will come celebrate with me this weekend at Nicholas Cage's compound in Venice over margaritas and mimosas. We're gonna light up the town and drink until Trump quits!"
The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run byself-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. Blair has been in a feud with fact checking website Snopes for some time now and has also criticized other fact checkers in the past who labeled his work "fake news" instead of satire. In reaction to this he has recently rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages so they carry extremely visible disclaimers everywhere.
Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up.
Here is a video of Blair explaining how his process works:
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes bustatroll.org as:
A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about bustatroll.org before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: LeBron Did NOT Tell NBA To "Dump The Anthem Or I'll Quit"
- Fake News: Malia Obama Did NOT Have 24 Classmates Expelled For Praying On Campus
- Fake News: UN Did NOT Award Obama "Leader of the Century Award"
- Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT "Say Americans Are The Stupidest People On Earth"
- Fake News: Pope Francis Did NOT Say God Will Abandon America If Trump Is Re-elected