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. AP checked these out; here are the real facts:
NOT REAL: U.S. Department of State suspends New York Times license
THE FACTS: The account claiming the State Department suspended the newspaper’s operational permit after it criticized Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is “completely false,” Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha says. There is no permit required for U.S. news organizations and there is no issue with the newspaper’s foreign press credentials, she said. A website made up to look like a CNN outlet says in a story published last month that the State Department accused The Times of “breaking communication code of ethics” in a matter that could cause diplomatic challenges between the two countries.
NOT REAL: Sarah Palin out of her coma, able to identify her attackers
THE FACTS: More than half a dozen sites have run the same verbatim account of a hit-and-run accident on California’s Pacific Coast Highway involving the former Alaska governor, followed up by stories alleging Palin emerged from her coma to identify her assailants. A spokesman for Palin tells the AP the reports are “as fake as fake can be.” The sites report that the accident happened April 28, when Palin’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were active. The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate has been a target of hoax articles in the past.
NOT REAL: Hobby Lobby just announced plan to close ALL stores
THE FACTS: The arts and crafts retail chain has 700-plus stores and says it’s adding 60 more in 2017. A story published by Daily Info News, The Washington Feed and other outlets said the chain’s CEO said it could go out of business if it pays fines for violating a mandate under the Affordable Care Act to provide employees access to emergency contraception. Hobby Lobby won an exemption from the law based on religious preferences in a 2014 Supreme Court decision.
NOT REAL: 2 moms, 5 kids killed in car crash in (insert place here)
THE FACTS: Multiple websites have appropriated many details from a true account of a June 2016 minivan accident in Southern California that killed two mothers and four children while two fathers survived. The stories circulating with dozens of different headlines change the U.S. county where it occurred, and in some cases add the fathers’ names and varying ages of the children.
NOT REAL: Robertson: David Bowie is not dead, he was kidnapped by demons summoned by rock music
THE FACTS: This account first published by politicops.com last year and recently recycled by admitted hoax site uspoln.com began with an accurate answer by “700 Club” host Pat Robertson to a teenager’s written question on whether it was OK to listen to rock music. Robertson replied that some rock wasn’t “all that bad,” but some “is just evil.” A spokesman for Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network tells the AP that the evangelist made no mention of Bowie, who died Jan. 10, 2016.