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: Trump Organization Wins Lucrative Contract To Rebuild Syrian Airport
■The facts: The U.S. struck one of Syria’s biggest air bases last year with a barrage of cruise missiles, but the company owned by President Donald Trump didn’t win a contract to repair the damage. That story was satire on the breakingburgh site.
Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “This is indeed false.” The story first emerged online after the U.S. struck the Shayrat base in April 2017 and recirculated on social media after another apparent use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
■Not real: California Pro-Homosexual Bill Will Ban the Bible
■The facts: Claims widely shared online that allege Bible sales in California will be banned under a proposed “gay conversion therapy” bill are false.
The state’s Assembly sent a bill to the state Senate that would classify selling or advertising gay conversion therapy as a fraudulent business practice. Anthony Sampson, an attorney who advised the bill’s sponsor, said in an email that the legislation, “applies to ‘practices’ only, it does not apply to the sale of books or any other kind of goods.”
■Not real: George H.W. Bush dies at 93
■The facts: A few hoax sites, including one that tried to trick users into thinking it was The New York Times, published a false report of the former president’s death shortly after his wife, Barbara Bush, died this month at 92.
Bush was hospitalized April 22, a day after his wife’s funeral, for an infection that spread to his blood, but was recovering. A spokesman for the 41st president said he is “in excellent spirits” and looking forward to traveling next month to his home in Maine for the summer.
■Not real: Romney campaign secretly given special privilege to gather registered voters data
■The facts: Utah elections officials say the Republican Senate candidate did get voters’ emails and phone numbers while collecting signatures to get on the ballot this June. But the privilege wasn’t special, secret or illegal, as a state site and a political opponent suggested, said Justin Lee, Utah’s elections director.
Romney’s campaign asked to add a sheet of paper to a state petition form and doing so does not break any elections laws, Lee said. Romney will face state Rep. Mike Kennedy, the top vote-getter at the state’s GOP convention, in a June 26 primary.
■Not real: Outrage as newborn HRH The Prince of Cambridge named MOHAMED
■The facts: The name of the newest member of the British royal family is Louis, not Mohamed. The site tuckered.uk.co, which says on its Facebook page that it publishes satire, came up with that name for the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the baby was born Monday.
By Friday, Kensington Palace announced the baby’s real name: Louis Arthur Charles. Several other sites falsely claimed the baby had died several hours after birth.