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 are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:
NOT REAL: Black Alabama Running Back Loses Scholarship Over SICK Anti-Trump Outburst
THE FACTS: Multiple sites published a report first circulated by conservative site Last Line of Defense that Bo Scarbrough lost his Alabama scholarship after yelling an obscenity about the president while walking to the field at the College Football Playoff title game. A spokesman told the AP the university has not changed Scarbrough’s scholarship. Scarbrough denied cursing Trump, and video of the incident was inconclusive.
NOT REAL: Trump Tower fire was a ‘deep state’ assassination attempt on the president
THE FACTS: The president was at the White House, not at his New York home and business offices, when a fire sent smoke billowing from Trump Tower’s roof on Monday. Yet several conspiracy sites falsely reported “the president has yet to be accounted for” and reported suspicions the blaze was set deliberately. The fire was a small electrical blaze in the tower’s heating and air conditioning system, New York fire officials told the AP, and was quickly put out. President Trump’s son Eric later tweeted thanks to the fire department for putting it out quickly.
NOT REAL: Late Night Raid On Michigan Mosque Nets 11 ISIS Terrorists and More Than 40 Vests
THE FACTS: FBI spokesman Timothy Wiley said there’s no truth to the report that went viral when first published on conservative site ReaganWasRight of a raid on a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. The report said suicide vests were found and quoted an official from the Department of Refugee Affairs — which is not the name of a federal agency — as saying a terror attack was imminent. A photo of police cars that accompanied the story appears to have been first published in a story about an unrelated arrest in Guyana three years ago.
NOT REAL: Now all Americans will be microchipped on the will of police
THE FACTS: A story shared by several sites including True Activist falsely described the details of a bill that provides federal funding to programs designed to track patients with dementia or autism who wander. The bill known as Kevin and Avonte’s law, passed by the House of Representatives in 2016, would allow funds to go to agencies who wanted tracking devices, but has no order to implant microchips in anyone.
NOT REAL: HOLLYWOOD CELEBS: WE WILL GO ON ‘TOTAL STRIKE’ IF TRUMP DOES NOT RESIGN
THE FACTS: Satire sites have been publishing this false story for several months, riffing off a protest when celebrities including Rosie O’Donnell, Debra Messing and Edward Asner signed a full-page ad by the organization Refuse Fascism protesting Donald Trump’s presidency. They did not threaten a strike in the entertainment industry if Trump does not resign, as the story claimed, quoting a spokesman for the unknown group, “Refuse Racism.”
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.
Find all AP Fact Checks here.
BONUS! A short documentary for you: