A glimpse of what didn’t happen this week

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


Lauren Boebert has filed articles of impeachment against Biden. That doesn’t mean he’s been indicted

CLAIM: President Joe Biden was impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors in June 2023.

THE FACTS: Biden has not been impeached. The House voted last month to send articles of impeachment filed by Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert to its Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Committee for review. Articles of impeachment, published only in the House, detail the charges against an elected official, but impeachment only takes place if the articles are approved by members of the chambers. Some on social media are misrepresenting the House vote in June to send the articles of impeachment to committees, falsely suggesting that means Biden has already been impeached. An Instagram post features a Forbes video of Boebert presenting the articles in the House on June 20. A chyron on the video reads: “Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) presents articles of impeachment against President Biden on House. Despite including real footage of House with an accurate chyron, the post, which had received over 94,700 likes on Friday, claims, “Biden is impeached!!! Finally! For high crimes and misdemeanors. But the introduction of the articles of impeachment, which charge Biden with “high crimes and misdemeanors” related to his handling of the U.S. border with Mexico, are only the first step in the impeachment process. The constitutional equivalent of an indictment, they detail the charges against an elected official. Impeachment occurs if the House approves the articles. If approved, the Senate then votes on whether to acquit or convict the official. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, also a Republican, brokered a deal with Boebert to send his articles of impeachment for review by both House committees after he used a House rule called a privileged resolution to try to force a vote fast, the AP reported. . A related resolution introduced by Republican Rep. Chip Roy on June 21 referred Boebert’s articles of impeachment for possible consideration by the aforementioned congressional committees, like any other bill. The House voted 219-208 along party lines the following day on this resolution. Neither committee is required to take further action on Boebert’s articles of impeachment.

— Associated Press writer Melissa Goldin in New York contributed to this report.


No, Ron DeSantis’ high school yearbook quote doesn’t mention “Sir-Mixes-a-Lot”

CLAIM: The quote below in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ high school yearbook photo reads, “My Mount Rushmore is Jesus, Sir-Mixes-a-Lot, and Nintendo 64.”

THE FACTS: An image of DeSantis’ yearbook entry has been edited to add the quote. A spokesperson for the school district that oversees DeSantis’ alma mater confirmed to The Associated Press that the yearbook photo is genuine, but there is no quote underneath. Social media users have shared the fabricated image, suggesting it shows the Republican presidential candidate being out of touch during his teenage years. The image shows a black and white image of DeSantis in his youth with the quote “Mount Rushmore” underneath. The misspelled “Sir-Mixes-a-Lot” is a reference to Sir-Mix-a-Lot, the rapper best known for his 1992 hit “Baby Got Back.” “‘Sir-Mixes-a-Lot’ should automatically disqualify you from applying,” reads a tweet that had received more than 32,000 likes on Friday. Sean Clark, spokesman for Pinellas County Schools, told the AP that DeSantis graduated from the district’s Dunedin High School in 1997. ‘ Picture nor any other student in the yearbook, “he said. wrote in an email.Neither DeSantis’ office nor his campaign returned requests for comment.

— Melissa Goldin


Social media posts incorrectly suggest Australia’s falling birth rate was caused by COVID vaccines

CLAIM: New data on the number of births in the Australian state of New South Wales shows that coronavirus vaccines have ‘destroyed’ human fertility.

THE FACTS: The data cited does not mention vaccines at all and makes no connection to their impact on birth rates. Australian demographic experts say a drop in the number of babies born in hospitals in NSW, which is at the center of the chart, is explained by social and economic factors such as high housing prices, the job insecurity and closures in the age of the pandemic. They also note that birth rates in Australia and other developed countries were already trending downwards years before COVID-19 vaccines were even created. Social media users say new data shows birth rates are plummeting as a result of vaccines being developed against the coronavirus. Many are sharing a screenshot of a post containing a line graph titled “Babies born in NSW hospitals”. The graph, which is partly cropped in the screenshot, purports to show the number of babies born per trimester in New South Wales hospitals from March 2010 to March 2023. The numbers fluctuate within a relatively narrow range at over the years shown on the chart before falling dramatically. “The world is about to find out that COVID vaccines destroyed fertility,” wrote one Instagram user who shared the screenshot. But the graphic comes from an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald last month which makes no mention of COVID vaccines. Drawing on publicly available data released by the Australian State Bureau of Health Information, the story examines the decline in births in public hospitals in New South Wales in the first three months of 2023. She revealed the number of babies born in hospitals was 15,868, down from a peak of 19,081 in 2021 and the lowest in any quarter since 2010. The article cites a range of experts who argue that socio-economic factors are behind the decline in births. Liz Allen, a demographer at the Australian National University in Canberra, quoted in the article, confirmed to The Associated Press that “cost of living pressures, housing affordability, precarious employment, inequality between the sexes” are among the things that force young Australians to hold on to having children. “The story of declining births in New South Wales is a complex social story, not a reductionist anti-vax alarmist horror story,” Allen wrote in an email. Udoy Saikia, a social demographer at Flinders University in Adelaide, also quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald story, noted that during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 some couples planned to have children while working from home and limiting their movements. “As a result, there was a significant increase in the number of births during the following period of 2021, followed by a decline in birth rates during the second half of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023,” said he wrote in an email.

— Associated Press writer Philip Marcelo in New York contributed to this report.


Titanic submersible parody tweet falsely attributed to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

CLAIM: Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene posted a message on Twitter: “How can the Titanic submersible run out of air if you inhale and exhale? I feel like this is more BS fake news.

THE FACTS: Greene did not tweet this statement and there is no evidence that she ever made such a comment. A spokesperson for the Republican congresswoman from Georgia also confirmed to The Associated Press that the quote was false. The fabricated quote is from a parody Twitter account impersonating Greene. The quote was shared on social media on accounts claiming it was genuine. “How can the Titanic submersible run out of air if you inhale and exhale? I feel like it’s more BS fake news,” reads a quote covering a photo of Greene, referring to the craft bound for the Titanic which recently imploded, killing five people.The image was shared by an Instagram account.The same account shared a screenshot of a tweet with the same quote, which included the handle @RepMTG_Press The biography and title of @RepMTG_Press on Twitter indicates that it is a parody account. no record from the real Greene who ever tweeted this statement from her account. Nick Dyer, spokesperson for Greene, confirmed in an email to the AP that the tweet was not from his account.

— Associated Press writer Karena Phan in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


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