Fact Check: Pelosi Does NOT Want To Remove Votes From Soldiers Overseas, Did NOT Say 'They Don't Even Live Here'

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Pelosi Does NOT Want To Remove Votes From Soldiers Overseas, Did NOT Say 'They Don't Even Live Here' Liberal Satire

Did Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi really say soldiers deployed overseas shouldn't be able to vote because "They don't even live here"? 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 story first appeared as an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on August 11, 2020 titled "Pelosi Wants To Remove Votes From Soldiers Overseas: 'They Don't Even Live Here'" (archived here) which opened:

It has long been established that Democrats cheat in order to win elections. They have undocumented citizens cast votes for them, they have dead people vote for them, have people of color vote for them, and the list goes on and on.

No, they have sunk to a new low. Nancy Pelosi and her cronies seek to disrespect our troops even more than they have thus far through defunding and constant criticism of heroic acts. Pelosi announced today that she intends to bring forth a new bill that would disqualify members of the military who serve overseas from voting in the coming presidential election.

Further on down in the story a fake Pelosi quote appeared:

"Voting is a privilege for Americans who will be affected by the decisions of the elected. Republicans have pointed this out to us many times. So I'm just playing along.

Some of these young men and women have been out of country for years. Why should they get to vote? They don't even live here.

We need to strengthen our elections, not weaken them by allowing foreigners to participate. That's essentially what these soldiers have become- foreigners. They've given up on being American by working for so long out of country. American elections are for Americans. There is some point to be made here, but I'll figure that out later."

The article appeared under a category named "Silly Tater Satire" on a website with "Satire for your confirmation bias" written in the header.

Despite these warnings a Facebook page named "Remove Nancy Pelosi" ran with it and posted a screenshot of the headline and thumbnail of the story, and the post got shared thousands of times:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Sat Aug 22 20:59:20 2020 UTC)

Several foreign-run fake news websites also copied the story verbatim, for example this one named Dayton Flash.

The satire site that originally published the 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 americaslastlineofdefense.com as:

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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  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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