Fact Check: AOC Did NOT Propose A Bill To Cap Legal Voting At Age 65

Hoax Alert

  • by: Jessica Ravitz
Fact Check: AOC Did NOT Propose A Bill To Cap Legal Voting At Age 65 Satire

Did U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez author a bill that would strike from the voting rolls anyone in the United States who is 65 or older? No, that's not true: This story about the liberal New York congresswoman is nothing more than a fabrication published by a well-known satirist who seeks to rile up conservatives.

The story originated in an article (archived here) published by Tatersgonnatate.com on May 12, 2020, under the title "Ocasio-Cortez Proposes Bill Capping Legal Voting Age at 65." It opened:

The Democrats in Congress just never seem to be satisfied. After the months of phony "impeachment" nonsense they put us all through, paid for by dipping into our social security funding, no less, now they're dead set to cheat their way through the 2020 election. And who better to lead the crooked bandwagon than Little Sally Socialism herself, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

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. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.

This particular story includes an absurd lengthy quote from AOC, supposedly made "outside of her local nail-art emporium in Blumpkinville, New York." It read, in part:

So, it's like, old people - a lot of them get kind of dopey, you know? In their minds? They get Demen-entia. Or that really terrible one, Wisenheimer's. And then they can't make decisions very well. ... We can like, send them little pieces of paper, and they can write 'Trump' on them and we can just pat their heads and tell them we'll put it in the voting car and it'll drive it to the voting house or whatever. They won't know the difference. Everyone happy. Okay, I have to go because I heard the new line of Hot Emoticon nail art is out and it's SOOO delish."

Every site in the "America's Last Line of Defense" 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 who omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake. One of the most persistent networks of such sites is run by a man from Pakistan named Kashif Shahzad Khokhar (aka "DashiKashi") who has spammed hundreds of such stolen stories into conservative and right-wing Facebook pages in order to profit from the ad revenue.

When fact-checkers point this out to the people liking and sharing these copycat stories some of them get mad at the fact-checkers instead of directing their anger at the foreign spammers or the liberal satire writers. Others send a polite "thank you" note, which is much appreciated.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes tatersgonnatate.com as:

One in a network of sites that publish false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, 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.

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  Jessica Ravitz

Jessica Ravitz, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former senior writer at CNN Digital. For more than a decade, she wrote longform narratives and profiles on topics ranging from gun violence, sexual assault and suicide to women’s health, spirituality and race.

 

Read more about or contact Jessica Ravitz

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