FAKE NEWS! A look at what didn’t happen this week
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: Retired MI5 Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘I Killed Princess Diana’
■The Facts: A piece on a site called the Anti News Network renews a take on conspiracy theories blaming British agencies or the royal family for the princess’ August 1997 death in Paris. A coroner’s jury ruled in 2008 that Diana and boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed were killed by the reckless actions of their driver and paparazzi. Investigators testified that no British government agency was involved in her death. MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, has a policy of not identifying current or past employees. The ANN story cites as its source the website yournewswire.com, which says it makes no representations about the accuracy of the information it posts.
■Not Real: Nasa’s Kepler telescope discovered artificial alien megastructure.
■The Facts: Some scientists speculated that an unusual light pattern coming from a star about 1,400 light years away could be the result of megastructures built by aliens to surround the star and harness its energy. A headline from univverse.org suggests the theory has been confirmed, but the authors of a study about the light pattern wrote that it was most likely the result of comet and planet-like space debris passing nearby.
■Not Real: Sarah Huckabee Blames Clinton For Comey’s Removal: “If She’d Confessed, He Wouldn’t Have Had To Commit All Those Atrocities Against Her”
■The Facts: The deputy White House press secretary did use the word “atrocities” when explaining the reasoning behind former FBI director James Comey’s May 9 firing by President Donald Trump, but she didn’t put the blame on Hillary Clinton. A story that originated with admitted satire outlet Newslo falsely claimed Sanders said if Clinton confessed to her role in mishandling of emails, Comey wouldn’t have lost his job. Sanders cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into the emails as the reason for his firing.
■Not Real: FOX HEADLINES British Actor ‘MR BEAN’ Rowan Sebastian Atkinson dies at 62 After CAR-CRASH - TODAY 2017
■The Facts: Hoaxes on the actor’s death, alternately describing a car crash or a suicide that ended the “Mr. Bean” actor’s life, have been circulating since last summer. Some pieces have listed Atkinson’s age as two years younger than he is — he was born Jan. 6, 1955. Others falsely superimpose reports of his obituary on BBC and Fox News logos, which never ran such reports. Atkinson recently resurrected his portrayal of French detective Jules Maigret in a British TV series.
■Not real: Charles Manson has been granted parole
■The Facts: The website now77news.com has one story saying Manson is out on parole and another saying he’s dead, but California corrections officials say Manson remains incarcerated. Manson was last denied parole in 2012 and continues to serve time for a series of slayings, including the 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other victims. The false story claiming Manson is out on parole lists his age as 79; he’s actually 82.