NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week
By The Associated Press
A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:
NOT REAL: BREAKING: Federal Judge Tosses Michael Cohen Warrant And All Evidence With It
THE FACTS: The search warrant and evidence collected in a raid on the office of President Donald Trump’s lawyer was not thrown out. The Daily World Update satire site appeared to be the first to run a story that Judge Earl Manuel Mariano of the Northern California 43rd Circuit Federal and State Court of Appeals issued the decision. There is no such court. Attorneys for Cohen told a New York judge Friday that some of the records seized are protected by attorney-client privilege and asked to review them.
NOT REAL: Oscar Pistorius Pardoned
THE FACTS: The Olympian actually lost a bid this week to get out of prison, where he’s serving a 13-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend. South Africa’s highest court dismissed Pistorius’ request to review the sentence on Monday. Department of Correctional Services spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo dismissed the report that the 31-year-old double-amputee runner had been pardoned by President Cyril Ramaphosa as “fake news.” The report appeared on a site called breaking-cnn, although it did not appropriate the cable network’s logo. Pistorius’ sentence was increased last year for the death of Reeva Steenkamp, 29, who he shot four times through a locked door in his home on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius has said he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.
NOT REAL: Trump Knocked Unconscious By Muslim Man Posing As Fox News Reporter
THE FACTS: A widely shared false news story claimed a Muslim “extremist” posing as a Fox News commentator attacked President Donald Trump with a tire iron outside Trump Tower in New York, but it didn’t happen. An image accompanying the false story on the Action News 3 hoax site comes from a 2007 Associated Press photo of Trump on the mat at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. Wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin knocked Trump down after promoter Vince McMahon’s wrestler lost his match to Trump’s wrestler and had his head shaved by Trump. The image has been used before in other false stories about supposed attacks on Trump.
NOT REAL: California Senate Votes 28-8 to Exempt Itself from California Gun Laws
THE FACTS: California lawmakers have to follow the state’s gun laws like all residents, despite what’s been shared in a story from 2016 that circulated widely this week. The Joe for America site claimed the California Senate voted 28-8 to exempt state lawmakers. A similar provision was part of a bill up for a vote in 2011 that amended rules governing permits to carry concealed weapons. The bill that passed the Senate took out language that would have given California lawmakers an automatic “good cause” status for a concealed weapons permit.
NOT REAL: Buzz Aldrin passes lie detector test about alien life
THE FACTS: The second man to walk on the moon never said he saw aliens during his historic 1969 voyage, despite widely shared stories claiming that a voice analysis of Aldrin proved he confirmed the close encounter. A British tabloid story that went viral this week reported that Aldrin passed “complex computer analyses” proving he was truthful when describing an alien sighting from the Apollo 11 command module. Aldrin said in a 2014 Reddit chat that he saw a light alongside the spacecraft, but “it was not an alien.” A NASA spokeswoman said Aldrin likely saw panels that separated as the craft maneuvered to dock with the lunar lander. And the director of an Ohio-based institute that reviewed recordings of Aldrin’s voice from a documentary film on the landing said the institute never interviewed him and “there were no tests.”
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
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