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: Side-by-side photos circulating widely online as part of the ‘10 Year Challenge’ purport to show the nearly complete deterioration of a portion of sea ice from 2008 to 2018.
The facts: The photos, which aim to show the effects of climate change, are of different ice formations and have been falsely captioned. They have been shared more than 200,000 times as part of the “10 Year Challenge” meme, which started on social media to show how something or someone has changed over 10 years. But the comparison uses two completely different ice formations, on different ends of the Earth. One photo, labeled as being from 2008, shows the Getz Ice Shelf in Antarctica. It was taken in November 2016 by Jeremy Harbeck, a NASA scientist, during a research flight for NASA. “In 2008, I was not even working on this project,” Harbeck told The Associated Press. The other image, taken in 2018 by Julienne Stroeve, an ice scientist with the University of Manitoba, shows a remnant of ice in the Chukchi Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. “This picture is really misleading,” said Stroeve, who said she took the photo while collecting data about ice positions in the summer. “You can’t just cherry pick individual years. You have long-term change happening.” Harbeck’s photo was used Monday with an AP report about a newly released study that found ice in Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s.
Claim: ‘Tlaib and Omar co-sponsor bill to recognize Muslim holidays as federal holidays’
The facts: The first two Muslim women elected to Congress did not co-sponsor a bill that would federally observe Islamic holidays, as numerous posts circulating online suggest. The posts followed publication of a false story that claimed Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan proposed a bill that would mark Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which means “Feast of Sacrifice,” as federal holidays. The website that distributed the false story carries a disclaimer noting its content is largely fictional. According to legislative records, both congresswomen have co-sponsored a number of bills since taking office on Jan. 3, but none would federally recognize any Islamic holidays.
Claim: Side-by-side photos of Obama honoring a ‘talk show host’ and Trump bestowing a medal on a ‘Vietnam war hero,’ appear below the comment ‘NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE?
The facts: The post juxtaposes a photo of former President Barack Obama draping a medal on comedian Ellen DeGeneres and a photo of Trump putting a medal on a war hero, with the suggestion that Obama honors entertainers over veterans. Obama and Trump have both awarded medals to war heroes and entertainers. In the photo of Trump, he is giving the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award, to 71-year-old former Army medic James McCloughan, for saving wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War. In his first two years in office, Trump has given the Medal of Honor out seven times. During Obama’s eight years in office, he awarded the Medal of Honor to 48 servicemen, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. In the photo of Obama, he is honoring DeGeneres with a different award, the Medal of Freedom. The award is the nation’s most prestigious civilian award, recognizing an individual’s “meritorious contributions” to the U.S. Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to more than 100 people. Trump selected Medal of Freedom honorees for the first time in November, giving the award to seven recipients, ranging from GOP Senator Orrin Hatch to Elvis Presley.
Claim: “President Trump got all our favorite foods. It was the best meal we ever had. Then we go and see the coastal elite media trashing it for not being organic vegan. We’re football players, not bloggers. This was a perfect blue collar party.” —Tweet attributed to Clemson quarterback after the team’s White House visit following its national college football championship win.
The facts: The quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, denounced the quote quickly Tuesday after it began circulating on social media. “I never said this by the way,” he said in a tweet. “I don’t know where it came from. However the trip to the White House was awesome!” Ross Taylor, assistant athletic director for Clemson football communications, told The Associated Press, that “everything that is presented in that meme is fabricated.” The false quote circulated on social media paired with a photo of confetti falling on the quarterback after Clemson’s 44-16 win against Alabama on Jan. 7. Trump served the team an array of fast food during their visit to celebrate the team’s win. Trump, a fast food lover, said he even paid for their meal himself because of the partial government shutdown, the AP reported. The choice of menu was criticized by late-night TV hosts and others who found it beneath what should be served to national champions visiting the White House.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online.