Fact Check: Democrats Have NO Plan To End Social Security Payments In 2024

Hoax Alert

  • by: Gita Smith
Fact Check: Democrats Have NO Plan To End Social Security Payments In 2024 Trolling

Are Congressional Democrats planning to halt Social Security payments in 2024? No, that's not true. The claim is a work of satire put out by a network of sites aiming to fool conservatives into believing and sharing the posts - posts that are often copied and pasted on "real" fake news sites without the satirical disclaimer.

The Democrats have not proposed any such measure.

The claim originated in an article (archived here) on Bustatroll.org on March 9, 2020. It opened:

Today House Democrats unveiled their plans to completely eliminate Social Security entitlements for seniors. Pelosi said the cuts would give the government more money to fund welfare benefits for immigrants and inner-city Americans. AOC also praised the plan:

"This will be a great plan. The boomers are dying off anyway, so why waste these funds on them? It's just a bad investment. We need to look towards the future and not look back. The past is behind us. We will build a better America for all immigrants and people desiring of welfare."

Users on social media saw this:

Bustatroll.org published a similar hoax story about Democrats threatening Social Security in February 2020.

The photo used with the new story shows Democratic U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, as well as other congresswomen. The photo actually dates to July 2019, when a GOP senator referred to AOC, Omar and other Democratic congressional freshmen as the "four horsewomen of the Apocalypse."

The group of women did not stand next to each other in March 2020, to make a pronouncement about Social Security.

In fact, Democrats have continually advocated strengthening Social Security. Critics of Social Security include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian, who called it a "Ponzi scheme" and Medicare "socialism." But he opposes cuts to the Medicare reimbursement he receives as a physician.

Bustatroll's story offers the following bogus quote, satirically attributed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

This will be a great plan. The boomers are dying off anyway, so why waste these funds on them? It's just a bad investment. We need to look towards the future and not look back. The past is behind us. We will build a better America for all."

Bustatroll.org 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):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

sat·ire
ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
noun
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.

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  Gita Smith

Gita Smith covered news for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Montgomery Advertiser, and she wrote/edited medical newsletters for American Health Consultants at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic when clear, factual information was as needed. 

For a time, she taught in Auburn University’s journalism department and ran the History-Geography lab at Alabama State University, where she taught students to write research papers . She believes the following to be true: The power of the free press may appear to be a weak reed to lean on, but it separates democracies from juntas.

Read more about or contact Gita Smith

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