Fake News: RBG Did NOT Call Impeachment 'Illegal BS'

Fact Check

  • by: Molly Weisner
Fake News: RBG Did NOT Call Impeachment 'Illegal BS'

Did Ruth Bader Ginsburg call the impeachment 'illegal BS?' No, that's not true: Ginsburg did not interview with the fake newspaper, The Washington Beguiler, and there is no record of her saying she called the impeachment proceedings "illegal BS."

The story 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 actually click them. Articles from the site are frequently copied by foreign-run fake news websites. 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 claim originated from an article published by Taters Gonna Tate on December 22, 2019, titled "RGB Calls Impeachment 'Illegal BS'" (archived here) which opened:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been a longtime opponent of President Trump and has called for his impeachment and removal many times. Throughout her recent illnesses she has vowed to stay on the bench "as long as it takes for Trump to be taken out of the White House."

So she should be happy about this week's decision to go ahead from the House, right? One would think so but statements she made today are surprising everyone and showing an impartiality that was not expected by anybody.

In an interview with DC newspaper, "The Washington Beguiler," Ginsberg was straightforward and honest about what she thought:

... 'I hate to say it but that whole impeachment was illegal BS. If a case like that ever appeared in my courtroom, I'd have thrown it out immediately and scolded the prosecution for wasting everyone's time. The Democrats should possibly face consequences for their meaningless disruption of government.'"

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

RGB Calls Impeachment 'Illegal BS'

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been a longtime opponent of President Trump and has called for his impeachment and removal many times. Throughout her recent illnesses she has vowed to...

Ginsburg has been vocal about President Trump and the impeachment, saying he "is not a lawyer." Trump has floated the idea of appealing to the Supreme Court to stop impeachment trials on his Twitter, which Ginsburg suggested has no legal basis.

Ginsburg also added in the same interview with BBC's Razia Iqbal that, generally, trials should be impartial, and the proper job of a judge is to abstain from bias. According to the Constitution, during an impeachment trial of the president, the Senate takes an oath of impartiality in its role as jurors.

Trump has also formerly attacked Ginsburg on Twitter after she called him a "faker" during the 2016 presidential campaign. He repeatedly called for her resignation as an "incompetent judge." Ginsburg later apologized for her comments.

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):

About Satire
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:

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 journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes tatersgonnatate.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 tatersgonnatate.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Molly Weisner

Molly is a staff writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories based in North Carolina. She is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying media and journalism, with a specific interest in investigative reporting. Molly is also a reporter on several projects based out of UNC's journalism school, including another fact-checking initiative and an online weekly for a former news desert in Chatham County, North Carolina. Molly has also pursued freelance reporting in tracking the juvenile justice system in North Carolina.

Read more about or contact Molly Weisner

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