Donald Trump has popularized the expression “fake news.” Accusations of false stories and made-up facts (“alternative facts?”) flood social media. To stay informed, the modern person must not only keep up with the news, they must keep up with the fake news as well. If you’re not up on the latest lies, you’re not with it.
What’s a well-educated individual to do? You can’t just reverse DNS every story you see on Facebook to see who, if anybody, is behind it.
So, to keep your place in the in crowd, here are some of the latest fake news items for your pleasure. None of what follows really happened.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson found over $500 billion worth of accounting errors during his audit of HUD’s financials. (Those errors were found before Dr. Carson became secretary.)
President Trump increased Social Security payments to beneficiaries. (He had nothing to do with the automatic cost of living increases for 2017.)
HHS secretary Tom Price said, “it’s better for our budget if cancer patients die more quickly.” (Totally false quote that came from a satirical website.)
President Trump signed an executive order permitting foreign nationals to enter the US without a visa. (Completely false.)
Recent appointee to the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch started a fascism club in high school. (Originates from a joke in the yearbook.)
The Obama White House observed Islamic prayer five times a day. (A complete fabrication.)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resigning from the Supreme Court. (Originates from a fake news story claiming that Ginsburg said she would resign if Trump got elected.)
Hillary Clinton won only 57 of 3,141 counties. (False. She won at least 487 counties, but still nothing to crow about.)
Barack Obama’s mother-in-law Marian Robinson will receive a $160,000 pension for babysitting her granddaughters while Obama was president. (False story from a fake news website.)
Obama signed an executive order banning the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. (Can anyone anywhere not spot this rumor as fake?)
Obama lost every state with voting laws requiring photo ID. (Obama won four out of eleven states with photo ID laws.)
There were more votes than voters in St. Lucie County, Florida and Wood County, Ohio. (Complete fabrication based on a viral email.)
Obama cancelled the National Day of Prayer. (False, and tends to pop up every year around May 6.)
The Democrats increased federal income tax rates in 2014. (Tax increases went into effect as part of a bipartisan budget compromise supported by many Republicans.)
A pro-ISIS rally was held in Dearborn, Michigan on December 5, 2015. (Didn’t happen.)
Donald Trump told People Magazine in 1998 that if he ever ran for president, he’d run as a Republican because “they’re the dumbest group of voters in the country” and that he “could lie and they’d still eat it up.” (He never said any such thing to People Magazine.)
Members of Congress can retire at full pay after serving just one term. (Only senators are eligible for pension after one term and not at full salary.)
Obama called for a “new world order” in a speech in Europe. (False. The 2014 speech was edited to distort the message.)
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will not pay anything for patients receiving only observation in hospitals, and beneficiaries over the age of 75 must be admitted to the hospital by their primary care physicians. (False. There are no such provisions.)
Bills in Congress exempt members and their staff and families from buying into Obamacare. (Incorrect. Members of Congress and their staffers are required to buy insurance through exchanges.)