Note: I’m giving this a shot. I will continue it as my time permits, and how long I continue with it will be directly tied to how much hell it gets me. Snopes and Politifact (as well as other sites) already do a spectacular job at this, but I still seem to spend a lot of time debunking stuff on the internet. So here goes.
FAKE NEWS WATCH
• Sorry, fans, Back to the Future IV is not a thing. An unverified account pretending to be Michael J. Fox posted a pic of the actor with Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd, announcing that they started shooting last summer. Despite the gleeful squees across the internet, multiple sources confirm it was a hoax, including Snopes.
• I understand that Anthony Bourdain’s suicide is a terrible blow to many. But the conspiracy theories are out of control. He was about to expose a pedophile ring! He was murdered by operatives of Hillary Clinton! Assassinated by Mossad! He was a #MeToo sympathizer and his girlfriend had accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her, so he was silenced to stop him from speaking out against sexual abuse! I’ve seen several say “I just don’t believe it was suicide,” but there is no legitimate source yet giving any evidence to doubt the preliminary conclusion of French authorities. Ordinarily I am not a fan of dwelling on details due to the risk of suicide contagion, but here they are, almost tastefully for the NY Post.
If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. Their line is available 24 hours, every day.
• No, Mitt Romney did not state that President Trump has “very serious emotional problems” and must resign. The news piece circulating that he said this on Anderson Cooper 360 is fiction, since it’s been years since Romney appeared on the show. The quote is cobbled together from various statements by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, including a December 2017 appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, according to Politifact.
• You’ve seen the picture of the crying toddler in a cage. The photo is real, but the boy is not in an ICE holding cell. He’s part of a protest against the practice of separating children from their parents at the border and keeping them in cages. He saw his mother and couldn’t figure out how to immediately get to her, and started to cry. So the photo is real, but miscaptioned, as Snopes points out.
Who’s NOT Dead: No one was pronounced Dead By Social Media this week! As far as I know, anyway.
Untimely Death: The obits for Ruby Lee and Malcolm Young are making the rounds; they died in 2014 and 2017, respectively.
Note: This feature does not take a stance on political issues. It is solely in favor of fact over fiction, at least in the public discourse.