(Editor’s note: This new weekly feature is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing efforts to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.)
A roundup of some of the most wildly 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: Conservative Icon Ted Nugent Killed In Hunting Accident
THE FACTS: The rocker has been the subject of a death hoax published by numerous sites following his April 19 visit to the White House with Kid Rock and Sarah Palin. The hoax appears to have originated on April 28 from TheLastLineOfDefense.org, a site that includes a disclaimer that all articles are “satirical.” Nugent said in a Facebook Live video the same day that his family was “quite distraught” over the hoax, which he termed “a dirty lie.”
NOT REAL: Trump consoles Jehovah’s Witnesses on Russia ban as he worships with them
THE FACTS: Russia’s Supreme Court in late April banned the religion’s members from operating anywhere in the country, calling the group an extremist organization. The U.S. State Department did condemn Russia’s actions, but President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence did not respond by praying with the group in the U.S. and consoling the members, as several sites claimed. Several of the stories included a picture of the president and vice president attending a national prayer service the day after their January inauguration, falsely identifying it as a prayer service at the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
NOT REAL: Boston Marathon Bomber Tsarnaev Severely Injured In Prison, May Never Walk Or Talk Again
THE FACTS: Prison officials said no evidence supports an account widely shared on social media that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffered “massive brain trauma” in his Massachusetts prison cell, leaving him in a pool of blood with a banana peel nearby. Tsarnaev is actually in a Colorado prison, appealing his conviction for the 2013 bombing. The piece that ran on partisan sites recently recycled a 2015 hoax piece that also quoted Aryan Brotherhood gang members claiming they beat Tsarnaev.
NOT REAL: Donald Trump signs a visa-free travel policy for (insert country here)
THE FACTS: A series of stories from usa-television.com and other sites claim President Donald Trump has signed executive orders granting visa waivers for citizens from several different countries, including Ethiopia, Lithuania and the Philippines. These reports are nearly identical and differ only in the name of the country; none are among the 38 countries on the State Department’s Visa Waiver program list. The reports have been denied from U.S. embassies in several named countries.
NOT REAL: Next Star Wars movie to be filmed near (insert city here), hundreds of extras needed
THE FACTS: Multiple stories on sites resembling local affiliate TV stations have published these casting calls, interchanging the name of towns across North America, including Wichita, Kansas; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Barrie, Ontario. The reports promote a new movie about a previously unknown planet in the Star Wars universe. The only Star Wars film in production right now, the untitled Han Solo film, began principal photography in January outside London.
Find all AP Fact Checks here: https://apne.ws/APFactCheck