The truth about the latest ‘fake news’

By The Associated Press

 

Vice President Mike Pence

A roundup 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. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

NOT REAL: Whataburger files for bankruptcy; all locations to close by August 1.

THE FACTS: The Texas-based fast food chain has taken to social media to quash a series of false stories claiming it was going out of business. When clicked, the stories inform the reader that the headline is a prank. Nevertheless, Whataburger posted messages on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday saying the article “is a hoax’’ and “we aren’t going anywhere.’’

NOT REAL: UNREAL: A Drastic INCREASE Of Monthly Payments — Social Security Recipients Delighted

THE FACTS: Stories posted by several conservative-leaning sites credit President Donald Trump with boosting Social Security payments earlier this year. A cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payouts with a 0.3 percent increase did go into effect in January, but it was announced in October, weeks before Trump was elected.

NOT REAL: Italian Investigators Confirmed: Obama Used Fake Birth Certificate

THE FACTS: A story based on former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conclusion that former President Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate is a forgery has been shared by several conservative-leaning websites. The account doesn’t elaborate on the supposed Italian investigation. Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship. In 2012, they said Arpaio’s allegations are “untrue, misinformed, and misconstrue Hawaii law.’’

NOT REAL: Pence Calls Gays To Voluntarily Quit Jobs With God-Fearing Employers “So We Can Avoid Laws That Reject Them’’

THE FACTS: This article from the Newslo group of admitted satire sites first published in November claims that during an interview with Fox News, then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence called on gays to quit working so they won’t get fired by conservative employers. There’s no evidence such an interview exists. Newslo bills itself as “the first hybrid News/Satire platform on the web.’’

NOT REAL: A Man Just Caught A Giant Great White On the Great Lakes!

THE FACTS: This story about a fisherman catching a massive great white shark in Lake Michigan has been floating around in online circles for more than a year. It claims the U.S. Coast Guard commented that the fish could explain the disappearance of hundreds of people. Coast Guard spokesman Chris Yaw tells the AP the agency never said such a thing and the story is a work of fiction.

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

—  Tammye Nash

Weekly Best Bets: 07.08.11

Friday 07.08

What the Del?
Del Shores returns to Dallas with More Sordid Confessions, his one-man show that’s part comedy, part biography and we’re figuring, a whole lotta funny. His partner Jason Dottley performs later that night at BJ’s NXS! the same night. We’re sure that one won’t miss the other’s show. And you shouldn’t miss either of them.

DEETS: The Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. $15–$20. PartyAtTheBlock.com.

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Friday 07.08

Who can blow out a 100 candles?
The legendary venue Sons of Hermann Hall celebrates a century this weekend and as part of the vast music lineup, LGBT faves Patrice Pike and Kathy & Bell join in on the celebration. Two days of Texas music in this Dallas gem is pretty much the equivalent to heaven.

DEETS: SOHH, 3414 Elm St. Through Saturday. $25­–$45. SonsOfHermann.org.

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Thursday 07.14

Fake news the way you like it
When the real news gets to be too much, The Onion is a nice reprieve. But how will the writers and editors pull it off live? The staff comes to talk about its satire and place in today’s media.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. . $25­–$45. ATTPAC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 8, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens