NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

Published 12:18 pm Friday, June 2, 2017

Here’s a┬ároundup 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. AP checked these out; here are the real facts:

NOT REAL: Trump’s Top Scientist Pick: “Scientists Are Just Dumb Regular People That Think Dinosaurs Existed And The Earth Is Getting Warmer”

THE FACTS: A story on the satirical U.S Political News website hijacks an actual news story about Sam Clovis, widely reported to be President Donald Trump’s pick for a U.S. Department of Agriculture research job, infusing it with made-up quotes expressing skepticism about scientists who believe in evolution and climate change. The fabricated quotes are attributed to KYXL, a non-existent radio station. The original story, by ProPublica, pointed out that Clovis had none of the research, education and economics qualifications specified for the position.

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THE FACTS: A story that began circulating last year claims Iceland is paying foreigners to marry women because women far outnumber men in the island nation. A spokeswoman for the country’s embassy in Washington says the story is untrue. Iceland’s official statistics agency reported last year that the split between males and females is close to 50/50.


NOT REAL: Scott Baio Killed In Small Plane Crash On His Way To Mar-A-Lago

THE FACTS: Stories claiming the “Happy Days” actor died when his single-engine Cessna crashed into a Louisiana hillside en route to Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida have been circulated by numerous websites. Baio debunked the reports on Twitter by sharing a picture of himself near a private jet and writing, “Fake news. I don’t fly in Cessna’s.”


NOT REAL: Columbus, Ohio School Teacher Loses Eye After Fidget Spinner Breaks In Classroom

THE FACTS: Focus Times declared in a story shared last month that a high school English teacher was trying to confiscate several students’ fidget spinners when one of them broke and hit the teacher in the eye. The report cited district officials. Columbus City Schools spokesman Scott Varner tells the AP that “this type of incident did not happen” in the district.


NOT REAL: Taco Bell announcing bankruptcy, all stores closing by 2018

THE FACTS: A hoax first circulating in 2015 has been updated with new dates. It claims the fast food chain’s supposed demise is linked to health violations that drove customers away. Sites including directed users who kept clicking to a meme revealing the prank. Taco Bell has not filed for bankruptcy protection, company spokeswoman Laura Nedbal said. Last week, it outlined global expansion plans that would add more than 2,000 restaurants around the world in the next five years.


This new weekly fixture is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing efforts to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.