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

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:


NOT REAL NEWS: FLASHBACK: Obama kicks out reporter at press briefing

THE FACTS: Former President Barack Obama did not throw a reporter out of a press conference for asking a question in 2015, as a claim circulating widely online suggests. The false claim surfaced after a heated exchange Wednesday between President Donald Trump and CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, whose White House press pass was suspended afterward. Some social media users then circulated a video they said showed Obama kicking a reporter out of press briefing. As reported by the AP, Obama was actually responding to a protester who was heckling him during a gay pride month reception at the White House in June 2015. “Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this,” Obama told the protester, adding he had the option of staying quiet or being removed. The protester was removed.

NOT REAL NEWS: CNN anchor shown laughing as American flag burns

THE FACTS: An image circulating online that shows CNN anchor Don Lemon laughing during an apparent segment about Democrats burning flags on Election Day was fabricated. A CNN spokeswoman told the AP on Tuesday that the image of Lemon, which was paired with a banner claiming “Dems celebrate ‘blue wave’ burning flags on Election Day,” is false. The banner identified the show as “Reliable Sources,” which Lemon does not host. He is the host of “CNN Tonight.”


NOT REAL NEWS: Voting machine rigged in Ohio precinct

THE FACTS: An Instagram video shared widely online Tuesday showed a voter selecting Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine on a touch screen, but then receiving a paper record reflecting a vote for Democratic candidate Richard Cordray. The video was circulated on social media as evidence that a machine was rigged. Aaron Sellers, a spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections, told the AP in an email that the machine in question had a paper jam that showed a previous voter’s choice. Sellers says the voter who experienced the problem got a poll worker to cancel out the vote on the machine in question and then voted successfully on another machine.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


Find all AP Fact Checks here:


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