Fact Check

Did Nancy Pelosi Stop a Bill to Make English the Official U.S. Language?

Let's just say there is no such thing as "Republican Senator Owen Humperlam," who supposedly authored the bill.

Published Jul 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks alongside Judiciary Committee Chair Jerold Nadler (D-NY), and Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), after the former Special Counsel Robert Muellers testimony on July 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified today before the House Judiciary Committee and dismissed President Trump's claims of total exoneration. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images) (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
Image Via Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images
Claim:
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stopped a bill that would make English the official language of the U.S.

On July 17, 2019, the junk news site America's Last Line of Defense (ALLOD) published yet another piece of purported satire, this time reporting that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had blocked a bill that would have made English the official language of the United States.

Under the headline "Pelosi Stops Bill to Make English the Official Language of the U.S.," ALLOD reported that Pelosi stopped non-existent "house bill BT1138" authored by non-existent "Republican Senator Owen Humperlamp of South Dakota" that would have "legally and officially cemented English as the recognized language of the United States of America," rendering the bill "deader than Lavoy Finicum."

Robert "LaVoy" Finicum was one of the leaders of a group of anti-government ranchers who occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon during a 2016 protest that turned into a tense, prolonged stand-off. Finicum was shot and killed by Oregon state troopers after a confrontation with law enforcement on Jan. 26, 2016.

ALLOD consists of a number of websites and social media profiles operated by Christopher Blair who purports to proffer satire, although on many occasions audiences confuse the stories for reality. In one egregious example, a Gretna, Louisiana, police officer was so angered by a fake story published on one of Blair's sites that he posted it on his Facebook page with an implied death threat directed at U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

On July 21, 2019, then-Gretna police officer Charlie Rispoli shared a story from one of Blair's sites called Taters Gonna Tate on his personal Facebook page. The story was headlined “Ocasio-Cortez on the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much.'" Rispoli posted it with commentary implying that the Democratic congresswoman from New York should be shot. Rispoli and a second police officer who "liked" the post have since been fired.

In summary, the entire ALLOD story about the English-language bill was fabricated.

Sources

Calder, Chad. "After Gretna Cop's Anti-AOC Post, a Look at 'Fake News' Site That Stirs Controversy."   NOLA.com. 22 July 2019.

Calder, Chad. "Two Gretna Officers Fired: One Posted Ocasio-Cortez 'Needs a Round,' 2nd Hit 'Like' Button."   NOLA.com. 22 July 2019.

Levin, Sam. "Oregon Standoff: Militia Spokesman LaVoy Finicum Killed in Police Shootout."   The Guardian. 27 January 2016.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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