Fact Check: Pelosi Did NOT Tell Seniors: 'You Are Not Entitled To Social Security! It's Gone!'

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Pelosi Did NOT Tell Seniors: 'You Are Not Entitled To Social Security! It's Gone!' Liberal Satire

Did Nancy Pelosi tell seniors: 'You Are Not Entitled To Social Security! It's Gone!'? No, that's not true. The quote was made up 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 quote originated in an article (archived here) published by TatersGonnaTate.com on July 12, 2019 under the title "Pelosi To Seniors: 'You Are Not Entitled To Social Security! It's Gone!'". It opened:

Socialist politicians in the Democratic Party have tried for years to eliminate Social Security, a source of income relied upon by millions in this country just to get by in their old age. Why they would pursue this is quite simple - they think of nobody but themselves. Their retirement income is guaranteed through fat congressional pensions in addition to the billions they steal from the taxpayer during their terms in office, so they have no worries.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, today launched their latest attack on our beloved social safety net:

"Seniors in this country are soft! They actually rely on this pittance from the government in their latter years!"

The story was published on a page with several satire disclaimers and warnings and appeared in a category named "Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction".

However since then the story has been copied by several foreign-run fake news sites and keeps getting periodically reposted to various pages, forums and groups in order to make money through advertising.

The site that originally published the false story 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.

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":

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.

  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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