Did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say President Trump must apologize to Iran "Or Else"? No, that's not true. The satirical story was published by a liberal 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 and this one was no exception: it was stolen by at least five different sites within hours of publication. 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 January 4, 2020, titled "Nancy Pelosi Says Trump Must Apologize To Iran 'Or Else'" (archived here) which opened:
Nancy Pelosi has really outdone herself this time. In what can only be described as a drunken rant, the commie Speaker of the House demanded that President Trump apologize to the Iranians for killing one of their generals "or else." What does she mean by "or else?" from the rest of the rant, we couldn't really tell:
"I have a great relationship with the Iranians. Probably better than anyone. I know them and have dealt with them on many, many occassions. There's probably nobody better, more qualified to talk to them and you know, we're going to go and see what we can do to be the United States of American and talk to them because we're looking at those things and we're also looking at other things."
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Nancy Pelosi Says Trump Must Apologize To Iran 'Or Else'
Who the heck does she think she is?
The original story was published in a category named "Pelosi Satire with Mayonnaise" and nobody with a half a brain would expect a website named "Taters Gonna Tate" to be a serious news outlet.
The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-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. In this case, the story was stolen by newsservis.com, conservativenation.online, conservativeleague.club, massachusettsdaily.com and d20news.com, all relatively new websites registered anonymously.
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:
- Fake News: NOT Caught On Tape: Pelosi NOT Exposed Offering Bribes For Votes Against Trump
- Fake News: CA Gov. Newsom Did NOT Pardon 1342 Prisoners So ICE Couldn't Deport Them
- Fake News: RGB Did NOT Call Impeachment 'Illegal BS'
- Fake News: Two Star Witnesses Against Biden NOT Found Floating In River Ukraine
- Fake News: ICE DID NOT Arrest LA Mayor For Harboring Fugitives Through Sanctuary City