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Fact check: Democrats did not ‘slip a law’ banning Pledge of Allegiance into aid package

A satirical article about how the Democrats allegedly tried to “slip a law” banning the Pledge of Allegiance into an aid package, has been taken seriously by some users on social media.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The piece was first published on Bustatroll.org, which describes itself as a “parody, satire and tomfoolery” site ( here ) .  

However, reactions from social media users sharing the content suggests many are not aware it was intended as satire.

Comments on one post sharing the article include: “These people shouldn't even be In office they are so anti American”, “They are sneaky" and “What the heck???!!! Traitors to all Americans!” ( here ) .  

The hoax article says that new findings from the Dunning-Kruger Institute revealed that the Democrats had added provisions into an emergency aid package.

No such institute exists. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability of an area ( here ) .  

The text also includes wording of the fictitious legislation, which reads: “The passing of this legislative package will also outlaw the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in all schools in the United States.

“Anyone found guilty of reciting the Pledge will be charged with grand heresy, and punished by up to 10 years in a federal penitentiary and a fine of no less than $20,000”.

While the Bustatroll website does explain that the piece is satirical, this information is not always readily visible when the article is shared online.

Some social media posts, for instance, link to a website that has republished the original Bustatroll article ( here ). 

While others have shared a screenshot that only shows the headline of the article ( here ) ( here ) .  

VERDICT

Satire. The article was first published on the well-known satirical website Bustatroll.org.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here  .   

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