Fact check: Fake Nancy Pelosi quote that insults Americans originated on satire website

The claim: Pelosi caught on hot mic saying Americans are the ‘dumbest people on Earth’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has become a frequent target of false claims and fabricated quotes on social media. 

One viral Facebook postclaims Pelosi was caught on a hot microphone calling Americans dumb. 

“Pelosi caught on hot Mike (sic) saying, ‘Americans are (the) dumbest people on Earth,'” the post reads. 

The text post was shared on March 11 and has over 817 shares and 50 reactions.

Some users have recently shared similar versions of the claim in the form a screenshot that purports to be a news article from the Michigan Today.

The headline reads, “Caught On Hot Mic, Pelosi Says ‘Americans Are The Stupidest People On Earth.'” Above the text is an image of the House Speaker with members of the press. 

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook users for comment. 

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Claim started as satire in 2019

There is no evidence that Pelosi ever said Americans are “the stupidest” or “dumbest” people on Earth. The claim originated on a site that publishes satirical content. 

The quote first appeared on Oct. 20, 2019, in an article on the site bustatroll.org, a subsidiary of America’s Last Line of Defense, which publishes fictitious stories. 

The story is filed under “Pelosi Satire with Chile Sauce and Liquid Cheese, Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction” and the author of the article is “Fired Writer.” 

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Bustatroll.org’s “About Us” page reads, “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.

The disclaimer goes on to state that any similarities between the site’s “pure fantasy” and real events, people and places, are “purely coincidental” and should be “considered altered and satirical.” 

Michigan Today isn’t involved

Michigan Today, an alumni publication that covers news from the University of Michigan, did not publish any such story on Pelosi, as claimed in some versions of the post. The outlet is an alumni publication that covers news from the University of Michigan.

Editor Deborah Holdship told USA TODAY the Facebook post wasn’t authentic.

“Any posts on social will be hashtagged as #MichiganToday (one word, no “the”) and would originate at the Michigan News social media accounts or at the University of Michigan central accounts,” she said in an ema

USA TODAY has previously debunked posts surrounding Pelosi that originate on satirical sites that are then shared on social media as fact. 

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Our rating: False

The claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was caught calling Americans the “dumbest people on Earth” is FALSE, based on our research. The claim originated from a 2019 that explicitly labels itself as satire and there is no record of the House Speaker saying this, or of Michigan Today reporting on it. 

Our fact-check sources:

  • Bustatroll.org, Oct. 21, 2019, Caught On Hot Mic, Pelosi Says ‘Americans Are The Stupidest People On Earth’
  • America’s Last Line of Defense, Accessed March 13, About Us
  • Bustatroll.org, Accessed March 13, About Us
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 25, 2020, Fact check: Viral claim about Nancy Pelosi and overseas military voters is false, came from satire site
  • USA TODAY, Fact check: It’s impossible for Pelosi to divert Social Security funds for impeachment
  • Michigan Today, Accessed March 13, About Us

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