Did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi order President Trump to be confined to the White House? No, that's not true: Pelosi never made such a statement, which was published by a liberal satire website that tries to mislead Trump supporters and Republicans into sharing made up stories that are clearly marked as satire when you click them. Foreign-run fake news websites frequently copy articles from the site. The people liking and sharing these stories are enriching foreign website operators or a liberal from Maine via the ad revenue generated with the content, which is probably not what they expected or wanted.
The story originated from an article published by potatriotsunite.com on December 5, 2019, titled "Impeachment Begins - Pelosi Orders President Confined to White House" (archived here), which opened:
History was made today as the official impeachment trial of 45th President Donald Trump was put into motion by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. What shocked many onlookers, witnessed, and members of the media is that the Speaker chose to activate Measure 52-8, in which the President, under fear of being a flight risk, is confined to the White House and it's grounds for the extent of the trial.
Measure 52-8 has historically never been utilized, and sources are split as to whether it was numbered after the number of women the President has cheated on his wife with vs how many of them were hospitalized for severe syphilis, or possibly the number of alternate universes in D.C. Comics, and reference to "Earth 8", where Captain Atom and the other heroes that the characters from "The Watchmen" were based on live. Watchmen author Alan Moore is angry about it either way.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Impeachment Begins - Pelosi Orders President Confined to White House
History was made today as the official impeachment trial of 45th President Donald Trump was put into motion by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. What shocked many onlookers, witnessed, and member...
Pelosi never ordered Trump to be confined to the White House during the impeachment hearings. The claim is false and was clearly labeled as satire on the Potatriots Unite site. Other sites have picked up the story and published it to gain traction without noting the story's satirical nature.
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 that 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:
The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories
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 journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes potatriotsunite.com 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 potatriotsunite.com before; here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Pelosi DID NOT Say Dems Will 'Shut It All Down' If They Don't Get Their Way On Impeachment
- Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Have Health Department Close Trump Plaza Hotel
- Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Divert $2.4 Billion From Social Security To Cover Impeachment Costs
- Fake News: Source Did NOT Say Epstein Implicated High-Powered Democrats In Suicide Note
- Fake News: Judge in Epstein Case NOT Found Dead of Apparent Suicide