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 is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:
■Not Real: Federal judge nullifies Pa. election results for ‘wide-scale voter fraud’
■The Facts: A judge cited in one of many false reports that followed Tuesday’s special congressional election doesn’t exist. Neither does the court cited in the Daily World Update story – the 45th Federal Appeals Court of Westmoreland County. Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania’s Department of State, says there have been no “legitimate claims” or evidence that voters illegally in the U.S. were brought into the state to cast votes, the subject of another piece following the election to fill the 18th District seat. Democrat Conor Lamb holds a lead of more than 600 votes over Republican Rick Saccone, with a few hundred provisional ballots left to be counted.
■Not Real: California governor signs order to use Arabic numerals in public schools
■The Facts: There is no state law requiring students to learn Arabic numerals, although California students – and others across the world – already use the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. Brian Ferguson, deputy press secretary for California Gov. Jerry Brown, said the post by the Last Line of Defense site serves to “stoke fear and misinformation.” He said California encourages young people to study Hindu-Arabic numerals – “or as we call them, ‘numbers.’’” The photo the conservative site shared of Brown speaking at a bill-signing ceremony was from a July event in San Francisco about climate change.
■Not Real: Trump says he was the first person Prince Harry invited to wedding, but he politely declined the invitation
■The Facts: A satire site published the latest false accounts of public statements on invitations to the next royal wedding. Nova magazine falsely attributed quotes to the U.S. president that he had talked to Prince Harry about his upcoming marriage to Meghan Markle, and told Harry that he would be too busy to attend. Buckingham Palace has not released a guest list for the May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle, although speculation has to who will be invited and attend has run rampant. Another false story in recent months suggested Queen Elizabeth II had asked that former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama be left off the guest list.
■Not Real: Coca Cola, Nestle seek to privatize world’s second-largest aquifer
■The Facts: Both companies say they are not negotiating for water rights at the Guarani aquifer in Brazil, which is shared by the governments of four countries. Several blogs ran with the report recently, saying the companies wanted to privatize for the next century the reservoir supplying water to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
■Not Real: Tornado carries mobile home 130 miles, family inside unharmed
■The Facts: This tale of a home flying through the air from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to a field in Kansas has been traveling for three years and recently popped up again. The World News Daily Report, which has shared hoaxes before, ran the piece about a five-member family that included a woman named Dorothy and unrelated photos of storm damage. A county spokeswoman near Wichita, Kansas, says a flying home never landed there.