Fact Check: House Speaker Pelosi NOT Raided or Handcuffed by Feds

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: House Speaker Pelosi NOT Raided or Handcuffed by Feds Liberal Satire

Was an "irrational" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handcuffed by federal agents as they raided her office? No, that's not true. The story was published over a year ago 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 originally appeared as an article (archived here) where it was published by Taters Gonna Tate on December 24, 2019 under the title "Pelosi Humiliated: Feds Handcuff 'Irrational' House Speaker While Raiding Her Office". It opened:

Nancy Pelosi got to feel like a common criminal today when she refused to comply with a standard search warrant. The FBI, in conjunction with the US Capitol Marshals Service, delivered the warrant to Pelosi's office to search for "anything and everything pertinent to the investigation into the Deep State shadow government."

Pelosi, who was already drunk by 9 AM, threw a little temper tantrum and had to be detained "for her own protection as well as those around her." The warrant was executed and Pelosi was released without incident.

According to the Marshals' office, they logged 14 boxes of material evidence deemed to be conducive to the ongoing investigation. The Justice Department hasn't commented, as they're concerned about leaks from deeply embedded agents from the Obama Administration. The evidence is said to be even more proof that the democrats are the corrupt ones, including some recordings of Hillary Clinton admitting she hired James Comey.

Even thought the story is more than a year old it recently went viral again when it got reposted to several conservative Facebook groups and pages.

The site "Taters Gonna Tate" 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.

The story in question was published under a category explicitly named "House Salad Satire with Ranch Dressing". The link behind the words "she hired James Comey" in the original text literally go to a Google Translate page translating the phrase "I think I just made this up, but it sounds good, so..." to Russian. There are several other hints, logos and disclaimers on the page indicating the whole thing is satire.

Every site in the network to which Taters Gonna Tate belongs 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:

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.

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident 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.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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