NO REAL NEWS: A look at what went wrong this week


A roundup of some of the most popular but completely bogus stories and visuals of the week. None of them are legitimate, even though they have been shared widely on social media. The Associated Press verified them. Here are the facts:

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ALLEGATION: Video of a man suspended from a helicopter in Kandahar, Afghanistan, shows Taliban carrying out a public execution.

THE FACTS: Images of a man hanging from a helicopter in Afghanistan sparked outrage online this week as social media users, politicians and news outlets falsely claimed they were showing the Taliban on the move to kill someone at a public exhibition. “The Taliban are now suspending people from our helicopters left behind and flying them so that everyone can see them …” a Twitter user wrote on Monday in a message shared nearly 6,000 times. “It’s about every voter Biden.” The video appears to show the Taliban using a Black Hawk helicopter that was previously used by the Afghan military, according to the markings on the plane. However, it does not show a murder, but a Taliban fighter attempting to place a flag on a large flag pole at the governor’s office in Kandahar on Sunday, according to Saadullah Wolesmal and Farid Ahmad Yousuni, two Kandahar residents who watched the scene during that it was taking place. . Wolesmal said the post was a remnant of the Afghan government and the black, red and green flag of Afghanistan had already been affixed to it. A Taliban fighter was suspended from a helicopter and attempted to affix the white Taliban flag to the pole. He did not succeed, said Wolesmal and Yousuni. Further analysis of videos from the scene shows the man hanging from the helicopter was suspended from a harness, not his neck, and could be seen waving his arms. Images from other angles circulating on social media confirm that the man was suspended near a flag pole that matches the poles in the governor’s office in Kandahar.

– Associated Press writer Ali Swenson in Seattle contributed to this report, with additional reporting from Associated Press writer Tameem Akhgar in Istanbul.

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CLAIM: Schools in Dayton, Ohio, a suburb of Kettering, are vaccinating children against COVID-19 without notifying parents or asking for their consent.

THE FACTS: The claim circulated by Twitter users – including Ohio US Senate candidate Josh Mandel – this week is bogus and first circulated before students returned to class in the district. “You guys, this is Dayton, Ohio, this is Kettering Schools,” says a narrator in a widely circulated fake TikTok video. “Every parent has to see this, you have to be aware of it because your children are not safe. The narrator shows an excerpt from an August 11 live video from InfoWars, a right-wing website that has aired numerous COVID-19 conspiracy theories. The clip features part of an interview with a caller who claims her brother’s daughter was vaccinated at school without her father’s knowledge or consent. The caller says his brother lives in Kettering, Ohio. The claim is “unequivocally false,” said Scott Inskeep, the school principal for the town of Kettering. “No one in our schools has allowed or would EVER allow any underage student to be vaccinated in our schools without the express permission of the child’s parent or legal guardian,” Inskeep said in a statement. “When we organized our student vaccination clinics last spring, a parent or guardian had to accompany their minor child to the clinic or the vaccine was not given. Also, this radio show appears to have aired on August 11, the day before we had NO students in school. The neighboring Dayton Public School District also posted a statement on social media denying claims it forced student vaccinations. He specifically countered rumors on social media that students were taken out of class to be vaccinated on August 13. “This is false,” the statement read. “The DPS is not currently in session, so students are not yet in class, and at no time would the district require student vaccinations.” COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone 12 years of age and older in Ohio. Children under 18 who are not emancipated must have parental consent for any vaccine, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Mandel’s campaign team did not respond to an email request for comment.

– Ali Swenson

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CLAIM: There are currently no FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine vials available in the United States

THE FACTS: Following full approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine last week for those 16 and older, online publications are twisting the ad to falsely claim that the vaccine still does not have formal approval. A post on Instagram admitted that the Comirnaty vaccine had received FDA approval, but falsely claimed that the only doses available are vials of Pfizer that are still just under emergency use authorization. In fact, Comirnaty is the brand name Pfizer uses to market its COVID-19 vaccine and there is no distinction between the two. In December, the FDA granted Pfizer authorization for emergency use of the vaccine based on a study of 44,000 people 16 years of age and older who were followed for two months. During public health emergencies, the FDA may issue emergency use authorizations for products that prevent, treat, or diagnose disease. After Pfizer submitted six months of follow-up safety data, the FDA cleared people 16 years of age and older to use the vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty. The formulation used in the FDA-approved Comirnaty vaccine is identical to the vaccine that had previously received emergency use authorization. “It’s the same vaccine,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, associate dean of public health practice and community engagement at Johns Hopkins University and former deputy commissioner of the FDA, told the AP. “There is only one vaccine. Sharfstein said that since some people have been waiting for the FDA to grant full approval, last week’s announcement should encourage more vaccinations. Pfizer was already using the name Comirnaty on its vaccine vials and packaging before the vaccine received full approval for people 16 years of age and older on August 23. Pfizer announced in December that it was marketing the vaccine in the European Union under this brand name. A press release from Pfizer at the time stated that the name Comirnaty, “represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community and immunity, to highlight the first clearance of a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, as well as the efforts that made this achievement possible with unprecedented rigor and efficiency – and with safety at the forefront – during this global pandemic. ”Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines remain under license for use from emergency for adolescents aged 12 to 15 years and for immunocompromised individuals receiving a third dose, until Pfizer submits its application and safety data for these groups.

– Associated Press editor Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this report.

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CLAIM: Shell-operated deep-water oil rig known as the “Mars / Olympus” platform broke off in the wake of Hurricane Ida and is now “free in the Gulf of Mexico “.

THE FACTS: A Facebook account dedicated to sharing weather updates from members of the public, Mississippi Weather Network, incorrectly posted on August 29 that the platform came loose during the storm, but then removed the post more late in the day when the information could not be verified. An update on the Facebook page informed readers that the page’s administrators had removed the post “until further information can be verified by the oil company (s) in question or officials of the US government.” . The update reads: “We may not always do things right, but we never deliberately go wrong to deceive anyone. Although the inaccurate storm damage post was removed, social media users continued to share screenshots of it. The US Coast Guard conducted an overflight on Aug. 29 which found that no oil rig had come loose, according to an agency statement. Shell also carried out its own flyby the next day and confirmed that its Mars, Olympus and Ursa platforms were “all intact and in place”. About 300 offshore platforms were evacuated before Ida, causing an 80% hiatus in Gulf oil and gas production, according to the US Bureau of Environmental Safety and Enforcement.

– Beatrice Dupuy

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CLAIM: The image shows President Joe Biden asleep during high-level talks with a foreign head of government.

THE FACTS: In the days following Biden’s August 27 meeting with Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett, the false claim surfaced on social media despite media coverage showing that Biden was awake and engaged. A widely shared Facebook post shows an image of Biden in the meeting with his head bowed and his eyes appearing closed. Below the screenshot, the image reads: “Look: Joe Biden was caught (asterisk) sleeping (asterisk) during high-level talks with a foreign head of government.” But the picture is misleading and the description is wrong. In a 14-minute video taken during the meeting, Biden does not fall asleep. He looks at his knees several times, including when he is listening and reading on his notepad. The image is captured in one of these moments. The two leaders met to discuss a range of topics, including COVID-19 and Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two since Bennett was sworn in as prime minister in June.

– Associated Press writer Terrence Fraser in New York contributed to this report.


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