Did Democrats want stimulus payments taken from Social Security and military? No, that's not true: This 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 story appeared in an article (archived here) where it was published by bustatroll.com on March 30, 2020, under the title "Democrats Want Stimulus Payments Taken from Social Security and Military." It opened:
Recently, the most generous economic stimulus payments in the history of our great nation were announced. An overwhelming percentage of the people will get $1,200 each, including our senior citizens and our tremendous military members and President Trump was proud to sign the bill, which will offer relief to millions. Enter the socialist Democrats. Rarely pennywise and always pound-foolish, they have unilaterally decided that those who are on Social Security and members of the military already make enough money and that these payments will be preemptively taken from their upcoming pay.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
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 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:
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:
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.