'Teabagger' group makes splash with fake-quote memes
Memes from a Facebook group called "Stop the World, the Teabaggers Want Off" have garnered increased attention recently. The group bills itself as satirical, but its posts -- which are widely shared among liberal users of social media -- are based on fictitious quotes from conservative politicians.
Just this week, PolitiFact affiliates checked two widely circulating memes created by the group.
One suggested that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., believes convicted felons should regain their right to own a gun but not the right to vote. The shareable meme presented two quotes purportedly by the senator, who’s also running for president. The first, which the meme dates to March 16, is, "No, felons should not have their voting rights restored even after they have served their sentence." The second, supposedly from May 6, says, "Of course, convicted felons should be allowed to own guns after they have done their time. It is their constitutional right."
PolitiFact Florida found no evidence that Rubio had actually said the words attributed to him, and while Rubio has indeed spoken critically in the past about felons regaining voting rights, he does not appear to have taken a stance on the restoration of felons’ gun rights. So the claim earned a rating of False.
Meanwhile, PolitiFact Texas looked at a meme from the group that suggested that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s also running for president, suggested that child molestation wasn’t as terrible as gay relations.
Josh Duggar resigned from the conservative Family Research Council May 21, 2015, amid reports surfaced that at the age of 14, he had allegedly sexually assaulted several female victims. According to U.S. News and World Report, Duggar’s family confirmed the allegations via an apology on their Facebook page, downplaying the multiple incidents as "very bad mistakes."
The meme has a quote supposedly by Cruz saying, "While there may have been an age difference, Josh Duggar’s transgressions are far less an affront to God than what gays do to each other." He didn’t say it, and PolitiFact Texas rated it Pants on Fire. It was shared more than 4,600 times.
Earlier this year, PolitiFact Texas rated a meme that said Cruz had said, "There is no place for gays or atheists in my America. None. Our Constitution makes that clear." That earned a Pants on Fire.
To be sure, "Stop the World, the Teabaggers Want Off" does have a disclaimer. On the "About" section of its Facebook page, the group writes, "This page is for entertainment purposes. It is NOT meant to be taken seriously. It is primarily satire and parody with a mix of political memes and messages." But this caveat would be far from obvious to anyone simply seeing the group's memes on their own news feeds or those of their friends.
We tried to reach the group by Twitter and Facebook but did not receive a response. We did notice that the group did reply to one commenter who criticized the group when we posted our check of the Rubio meme on Facebook:
PolitiFact is not the only site that has sought to debunk some of the group’s posts. Staff at the urban-legends site Snopes. com have been busy evaluating a flurry of memes from the group. In addition to addressing recent Duggar-related memes, Snopes has debunked a number of other memes by the group. Here are some of them.
• Claim: Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson said, "There wasn’t any of this ‘autism’ before gays started having sex. Think about it. That’s no coincidence."
• Claim: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said, "There’s a connection between vaccinations and homosexuality. Anybody with eyes can see that. It doesn’t take a doctor to figure that out."
• Claim: Palin said, "It will be nice to have a president with a normal name back in the white house. Ted or Scott or Donald. I mean, how can you claim to be an American and have a name that sounds like you have camels for pets?"
• Claim: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said, " it’s false advertising to call Mrs. Obama the first lady. First woman, maybe, but certainly not a lady. Anne Romney is an actual lady."
• Claim: Palin said, "If Benjamin Netanyahu loses his election in Israel tomorrow, I pray he moves here and runs for president. He would have my vote and the vote of every good Christian and real Jew. God would guide him into the white house."
Welfare and the poor
• Claim: Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said, "I question if the Pope understands scripture. He’s obviously read it but it’s just as obvious that he doesn’t understand it. Nothing in the Bible obligates us to help the poor."
• Claim: Palin said, "White privilege? With affirmative action, welfare, food stamps and all those thugs getting athletic scholarships over more deserving white kids, I’d call it black privilege."
The group has even gone so far as to claim that Politifact believes "Stop the World, the Teabaggers Want Off" is the most accurate source for news, not only on Facebook, but pretty much everywhere."
Needless to say, this isn’t accurate, either.