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: President Nelson Meets With NAACP; Offers Apology for History of Racism
■The facts: The Mormon church and national NAACP leaders met officially this week for the first time but, despite a false news release shared online, the head of the church didn’t apologize for a “history of racism.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell Nelson didn’t apologize in his post-meeting remarks for anything and didn’t address a past ban on black men serving as leaders of congregations, a decree rooted in the belief that black skin was a curse. The church said in 2013 that the previous ban dated to an era of racial divide that influenced early teachings of the church. Blogger Jonathan Streeter, a former Mormon from Texas, said he posted the release on a website made to look strikingly similar to one used by the church. He said he sought to “foster a discussion” about church history.
■Not real: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa says things are really tough in Zimbabwe
■The facts: Online stories claiming the president of Zimbabwe says people in his country are eating animals such rats and baboons because of “mistakes of the past” with white farmers are false, according to the government. The sites breeknuusza.com and newsupdatessa.site also reported President Emmerson Mnangagwa said restoring his nation will “require white people to come back.” Minister of Information Simon Khama Moho says Mnangagwa never made such comments. Mnangagwa has been breaking away from the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms carried out by his predecessor and mentor Robert Mugabe, which contributed to the country’s economic deterioration. Earlier this year, a new government policy was implemented, allowing Zimbabwe’s remaining white farmers to get 99-year land leases. The sites running the story didn’t respond to requests for comment.
■Not real: Michelle Wolf Fired – Comedy Central Apologizes To Sarah Sanders
■The facts: After comedian Michelle Wolf joked about the White House press secretary at a dinner in Washington, accounts circulated online of a backlash that supposedly included her firing from a Comedy Central show and a network apology to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. While Wolf had worked on “The Daily Show,” network spokesman Steve Albani says she left of her own accord late last year. The inaccurate articles named a Comedy Central CEO as the source, but the network has never had such a position. Also, Albani said Comedy Central didn’t apologize to Sanders. Another story said online streaming provider Hulu canceled a standup comedy special with Wolf. Her publicist, Lewis Kay, said Wolf has never had a relationship with Hulu. The stories appear to have originated on the Daily World Update site, which publishes satire.
■Not real: Starbucks gifting a Free $50 Coupon Per Person to celebrate its 50th Anniversary!
■The facts: The Starbucks coffee chain isn’t giving each person who takes an online survey a $50 coupon to celebrate 50 years in business, as a post shared on social media claims. In an email, Starbucks says the deal isn’t real. The Seattle-based company isn’t celebrating five decades; it was founded in 1971. Also, a logo on the false offer is out of date, showing a green ring around a black center image of a mythological, twin-tailed siren with the words STARBUCKS COFFEE and two stars. Starbucks dropped the ring and the color black from the design in 2011. Similar links have been shared on social media for years involving Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut and other chains.