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

Laveta Brigham

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts: ___ Biden did not say transgender children should be […]

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out.

Here are the facts:


Biden did not say transgender children should be able to ‘transition’

CLAIM: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said if your 8-year-old child wants to be transgender to make life easier, “they have a right to transition and there is no reason for you to deny it.”

THE FACTS: Social media users are altering comments made by Biden during an Oct. 15 town hall to falsely suggest he supports sex changing medical procedures for young children. Biden said transgender children should not experience discrimination, but he did not say they “have a right to transition.”

At the town hall, Pennsylvania voter Mieke Haeck asked Biden how he would reverse actions by the Trump administration that had negatively affected LGBTQ people, including her 8-year-old transgender daughter.

Biden responded, “I will flat out just change the law. Every — eliminate those executive orders, number one.” He added, “The idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, ‘You know I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It would make my life a lot easier.’ There should be zero discrimination.”

Social media users shared an edited quote distorting his words to say: “If your 8 year old child says they want to be transgender to make life easier they have a right to transition and there is no reason for you to deny it.”

A transcript of the town hall shows Biden never mentioned transitioning or sex changing medical procedures in his response. Biden has outlined a series of policy goals related to the LGBTQ community on his website. Among them, he pledges to protect LGBTQ youth from civil rights violations and harassment in schools. He has also said he would reverse a ban on transgender people serving in the military introduced under President Donald Trump.

Biden’s website does not discuss sex changing medical procedures for children.

— Associated Press writer Ali Swenson reported from Seattle.


Dozens following social distancing rules attend Harris drive-in rally in Orlando

CLAIM: Video shows only six people showed up at a recent rally with Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris in Orlando, Florida.

THE FACTS: The video does not provide a full view of the audience at Harris’ “drive-in” rally at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando on Oct. 19. More than 50 cars were at the event and attendees honked their horns to show support, according to the pool reporter who was there.

Harris and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are purposefully limiting attendance at their events due to the pandemic. Associated Press photographs from the event show a dispersed crowd of masked supporters waving Biden-Harris signs next to parked cars.

A video used to support the false claim that only six people besides her staff and Secret Service attended shows only a side angle of Harris waving, leaving out the area where the audience was.

— Associated Press writer Jude Joffe-Block reported from Phoenix, with a contribution from AP writer Alexandra Jaffe.


Immigrants in the US illegally are not eligible for free health care under the ACA

CLAIM: Democrats voted to fine American citizens for not buying health insurance and conspired to give it to “illegal aliens” for free.

THE FACTS: Immigrants without legal authorization to be in the country do not get free health insurance. The Affordable Care Act, which originally included fines for not buying health insurance, excludes immigrants living in the country without legal permission from receiving tax credits or purchasing insurance on the ACA marketplace.

“Under current rules, undocumented immigrants are not eligible to purchase coverage through the ACA marketplace,” said Samantha Artiga, vice president and director of the Racial Equity and Health Policy Program at Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan organization that does health policy analysis.

A widely shared post on social media claims: “The Democrats voted to fine American citizens for not buying insurance, and then conspired to give it to illegal aliens for free.”

Although the health care overhaul signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2010 originally fined Americans who did not buy insurance, the penalty has since been set to $0, after Congress passed a reform that took effect last year.

A key part of the ACA is the marketplace where American citizens and certain lawfully present immigrants can purchase health insurance. Under the law, some people qualify for tax credits to offset the cost of buying a plan. But the law excludes immigrants living in the country without legal permission from receiving tax credits or even buying insurance on the marketplace at full price.

Biden has proposed creating a public option for insurance, and has said immigrants without legal permission would be allowed to buy into it. But those immigrants would not be eligible for free or subsidized healthcare.

“Biden’s proposal would allow undocumented immigrants to buy health insurance, including the proposed public option, in the ACA marketplaces without federal subsidies,” Gerald Kominski, a professor at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, wrote to the AP in an email. “That isn’t free care.”

— Jude Joffe-Block


Photo altered to show rappers in hats with message that supports Trump

CLAIM: Photo shows rappers Ice Cube and 50 Cent wearing hats that show support for President Donald Trump.

THE FACTS: The photo was altered to add a “Trump 2020” message to the hats. The manipulated photo circulated widely on social media with the president’s son, Eric Trump, tweeting it with a message that said, “Two great, courageous Americans.” He removed the tweet after being called out by Ice Cube on Twitter.

In the original photo, both rappers are wearing baseball caps with sports logos. Ice Cube wears a hat that says “Big 3” and 50 Cent wears one with the New York Yankees logo. Ice Cube shared the original photo on his Twitter account on July 6 to send a birthday message to 50 Cent.

Ice Cube has come under fire for appearing to work with the Trump administration on his “Contract with Black Americans.” The entertainer said in an interview with CNN that both the Trump campaign and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign reached out to him about his contract.

“One campaign said ‘we love what you have but let’s really dig into it after the election,’ and one campaign said we love what you have, ‘do you mind talking to us about it and that’s what I did,” he said. “The Trump campaign came to me and asked me to explain to them some of the Contract with Black America.”

Ice Cube clarified that he has not endorsed either campaign.

“Whoever is in power I am going to work with,” he said on CNN.

On Monday, 50 Cent took to Instagram to say “Vote for Trump.”

— Beatrice Dupuy


Miley Cyrus did not inspire Amy Coney Barrett to be a judge

CLAIM: At a Miley Cyrus concert in 1993, the pop singer told a 9-year-old girl that anything was possible as long as you believed in God. The little girl said she believed in God and was going to become famous one day by stopping Obamacare and making it illegal to kill babies. That little girl grew up to be Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has been nominated to a Supreme Court seat.

THE FACTS: A Facebook post sharing this claim spins a folktale that is both baseless and logistically implausible. A 27-year-old pop singer did not inspire a lawyer more than 20 years her senior to become a judge. Cyrus was born in 1992 and was only 1 year old in 1993. Barrett, a 48-year-old judge, began her legal career in the late 1990s, when Cyrus was still a child.

Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, was not enacted until 2010, when President Barack Obama was in office. In 1993, Obama was not a well-known name, nor was his nationwide health care plan in consideration.

President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to the Supreme Court after the death of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September. Senators are scheduled to vote on her confirmation by Monday, Oct. 26, according to reporting by The Associated Press.

Cyrus supported Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, she has criticized Trump, calling him racist, sexist and hateful in a Vanity Fair interview last year.

— Ali Swenson

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