Fake News! A look at what didn’t happen this week
A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media.
The Associated Press checked these out. Here are the real facts:
CLAIM: Rep. Ilhan Omar files $100 million lawsuit against Fox News host Jeanine Pirro.
THE FACTS: Social media posts falsely assert that the Democratic congresswoman, a Muslim, is suing Pirro, who last month questioned on her show if Omar’s wearing of a hijab is “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.”
No such lawsuit has been filed in any federal court this year, according to public records. Additionally, no lawsuits listing Pirro as a defendant in New York, where Fox News is headquartered, or Omar’s home state of Minnesota have been filed.
“This is false,” Jeremy Slevin, a spokesman for Omar, confirmed in an email to The Associated Press. Pirro’s Saturday show “Justice with Judge Jeanine” was absent from Fox News programming for two weeks after her controversial comments about Omar’s religious headwear. It has since returned.
CLAIM: Beto O’Rourke’s biggest donor is liberal financier George Soros through the JStreetPAC.
THE FACTS: Soros is not O’Rourke’s largest donor, as suggested in Facebook posts that include photos of the men. Soros gave a maximum individual contribution of $2,700 to O’Rourke’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2017, according to campaign finance records.
The post wrongly suggests Soros donated $71,885 to the JStreetPAC, a political action committee that directed donors to O’Rourke’s Senate campaign. The JStreet PAC, which supports a two-state solution in Israel, raised a combined $250,196 from individual donors for O’Rourke’s Senate campaign.
None of those donors was Soros. The PAC did not directly give any funds give to O’Rourke. Instead, JStreetPAC facilitated individual contributions to him by encouraging its followers to donate to the Democratic candidate on its website and at fundraisers. Soros donates to JStreet, a lobbying arm that is financially separate from JStreetPAC.
Fundraising data for O’Rourke’s presidential campaign will not be released until next week, but Soros has not donated to that campaign either through the JStreet PAC, said Ben Shnider, the vice president of political affairs strategy for JStreet.
CLAIM: Nike has just chosen to re-hire Michael Vick to represent their brand.
THE FACTS: Nike has not re-signed Vick, a former pro-football star who pleaded guilty to dog fighting in 2007, despite reports circulating widely this week on social media.
The claims relied on an article from 2011 when the sports shoe and apparel company re-signed Vick to an endorsement deal after he was released from prison.
Josh Benedek, a Nike spokesman, told The Associated Press in an email that Nike does not have an existing contract with Vick. According to AP reports, Nike signed Vick in 2001 when he was a rookie in the NFL but ended his contract in 2007 after he was charged in relation to a dog-fighting ring.
He served more than 18 months in prison and returned to football. In 2010, he was named AP Comeback Player of the Year after having the best all-around year of his career.