Did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi propose to take all the money out of Social Security to pay the national debt? No, that's not true. 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 (archived here) where it was published by BustaTroll.org on December 1, 2019, under the title "Pelosi Wants To Empty Social Security To Pay The National Debt". It opened:
The Socialist Democrats hate our benefit programs. These are the ones that we paid into all our working lives and are entitled to have paid back to us for our benefit in our golden years. They are not ENTITLEMENTS, as the democrats like to say. They are programs which OWE US for what we gave to them. But leftists just see things like the Social Security Trust Fund as a piggy bank to dip into to pay for more of their socialist programs. They think that OUR MONEY is part of the general revenue of the government, a reserve stash available to steal from at will.
Nancy Pelosi is demonstrating this attitude once again with a shiny, new plan she's proposing to the House of Representatives this week. This time, however, she doesn't just want to dip in and take out "x" amount of cash. SHE wants it all.
Speaker Pelosi wants to raid the Trust IN its entirety in order to pay off the national debt.
The story was published on a page with several satire disclaimers and logos, and the article appeared under two categories that made it clear it was all fiction: "Pelosi Satire with Chile Sauce and Liquid Cheese" and "Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction".
The supposed Pelosi quote in the article does not appear in any official records. It is completely made up:
"Social Security is wonderful and all, but what is it really? An entitlement program for our seniors who didn't do enough on their own to prepare for their retirement. It's a government allowance paid to them because they screwed up. Now it's time to pay for those screw ups and sacrifice for their country at the same time.
The Social Security Trust can pay off our national debt. This is the greatest economic benefit that this country could achieve. True patriots would do everything they could do help this become a reality."
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 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:
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- Fake News: Adam Schiff Did NOT Pay Witnesses Over $40 Million To Testify Against Trump
- Fake News: Justice Roberts Does NOT Call Impeachment Vote 'Immoral And Possibly Illegal'
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