You probably heard Donald Trump ranting about “fake news” or accusing specific mainstream media outlets as being full of baloney. Some may consider his blatant bad-mouthing of certain media powerhouses, such as CNN and The New York Times, as direct tell-tale signs of a brutal authoritarian, while others think he’s spot on. I probably shouldn’t touch this subject, but I’m a guy who believes “you can call me out on my bullsh*t and I’ll call you out for your bullsh*t, and we’ll all be the better off for it.”
All politics aside, there are stories out there that are complete bull-plop. Five false stories were widely shared on social media this week. Each story is completely ridiculous, unfounded, yet not so far fetched.
FALSE: Russia bans Jehovah’s Witnesses, so Trump prays with them in retaliation
Fact: In late April 2017, Russia’s Supreme Court banned the practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses, prohibiting the religion from operating anywhere in the world’s largest country. The Russian court cited this group as an extremist organization. The U.S. State Department condemned Russia for targeting this religious group. However, President Trump and VP Mike Pence did not respond to this court decision by praying with and consoling members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many of the articles that distribute this fiction include a photo of Trump and Pence attending a national prayer service the day after January’s inauguration. The fake news articles claim this photo was taken during a prayer service at the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. WRONG!
FALSE: Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev Severely Injured In Prison, May Never Walk Or Talk Again
Fact: Oh, boy, is this a load of bull-crap. A recent rumor about the Boston Marathon Bomber spread online, alleging that he suffered “massive brain trauma” in his Massachusetts’s prison cell. This social media fabrication also claims that the bomber was left in a pool of his own blood with a banana peel nearby. Prison officials said no evidence supports these claims. The story also recycled fabricated quotes from an Aryan Brotherhood member who claimed to have assaulted Tsarnaev, in a 2015 hoax article.
Sorry, folks! Tsarnaev is still in his Colorado prison, working on the appeal for his death sentence conviction stemming from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
FALSE: Rock Star/Conservative Icon Ted Nugent Killed In Hunting Accident
Fact: On April 19th, Ted Nugent visited the White House with Sarah Palin and Kid Rock. Soon after, fabricated rumors surfaced online claiming that Nugent had died in a hunting accident. This fake news first appeared in TheLastLineOfDefense.org on April 28th. To that web site’s credit, they provide a disclaimer on each article, informing their audience that what we’re reading is “satirical.”
The same day that this false news story spread, Nugent went on Facebook Live and called this tale “a dirty lie” and said that his family was “quite distraught” over the hoax.
FALSE: Next Star Wars movie to be filmed near (insert city here), hundreds of extras needed
Fact: Falsified casting calls were published on multiple sites resembling local affiliate TV stations. Each fake casting ad was re-published, interchanging the names of cities across North America, including Wichita, Kansas; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Barrie, Ontario. This big steaming pile of baloney said that a new Star Wars film is looking for a sh*t load of extras (not in those words exactly). The only Star Wars movie currently in production is a spinoff film about Han Solo, which began principal photograph in January near London.
FALSE: President Donald Trump signs a visa-free travel policy for (insert country here)
Fact: A fake-ass story from usa-television.com and other sites claim that Trump signed executive orders giving visa waivers to citizens from several different countries, including Lithuania, Ethiopia, and the Philippines. These reports are almost identical in nature, except that each report may differ by name of country, and none are among the 38 countries on the State Department’s Visa Waiver program list. These reports have been denied by U.S. embassies in some of the countries that were named in the hoax.