NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week
A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the real facts:
CLAIM: The manager of a Starbucks in North Carolina informed his employees they would be fired on the spot for saying “Merry Christmas” to customers.
THE FACTS: Starbucks does not tell its employees how to greet customers, a company spokesman said, and the Twitter account that posted the claim does not belong to a Starbucks employee. “Our baristas are offered the autonomy to choose how to greet each person,” Reggie Borges, the spokesman, told the AP. “No script is provided.” The tweet falsely claimed to be from a Starbucks manager in Charlotte, North Carolina, and stated: “I have informed my employees that they will be fired on the spot if I hear them say ‘Merry Christmas’ to any customers.” The post goes on to say the reason for the order is “I personally dislike conservative Christians.” The account was suspended by Twitter, but a screenshot of the tweet has continued to circulate on social media users.
CLAIM: Photo shows Rep. Rashida Tlaib celebrating President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
THE FACTS: The post, which circulated on Facebook following the impeachment vote on Wednesday, paired a cropped photo of a joyous Tlaib with a false representation: “It was a somber time for the Democrats as they voted to impeach the President. (This is how much they h@te you).” The photo, which shows the congresswoman in a blue dress laughing and holding a small piece of paper, was taken Nov. 30, 2018, by photographer Win McNamee for Getty Images. According to caption information, it shows Tlaib celebrating after drawing the number 8 during an orientation for newly elected members of Congress. The numbers established the order for selecting available congressional office space. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was hesitant about initiating impeachment proceedings, but ultimately said while the House could not ignore Trump’s actions, neither would they celebrate the process. “Today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Pelosi said as the debate started on the articles of impeachment. Throughout the day, Pelosi kept that tone. She glared at one member who began to cheer after the vote to impeach passed. Tlaib was criticized after stating on her first day in office, “We’re going to impeach the m———————-r.”
CLAIM: Video shows former CIA Director John Brennan speaking out about “his Muslim faith” in Arabic.
THE FACTS: Posts circulating the video clip on Facebook and Twitter misrepresent what the former CIA director said during a 2010 talk at a national security forum at New York University. For example, one tweet shared thousands of times falsely states: “Breaking: Brennan speaks out about his Muslim faith in fluent Arabic!” In the video, Brennan discusses his time as a student in the Middle East. At one point he speaks in Arabic, but he makes no mention of Islam as his faith. Brennan was assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism under Barack Obama when he spoke at the forum on February 13, 2010. In the short clip circulating online, he speaks in Arabic about his time studying at the American University in Cairo, where he learned the language, and “about the goodness and beauty of Islam.” The forum was co-hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at NYU. For years claims have circulated online suggesting that Brennan — who has publicly discussed his Catholic upbringing and education — converted to Islam. Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for Brennan, told The Associated Press in a phone call that Brennan is not a Muslim. “I can’t believe either of us are spending time on this nonsense,” he said in an email. Brennan has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. The two have clashed, often around the special counsel’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. In 2017, Brennan stepped down from his post at the CIA. Last year, Trump said he would revoke Brennan’s security credentials after he criticized the president’s interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in Helsinki.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Find all AP Fact Checks here: https://apnews.com/APFactCheck
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