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The Atlantic didn’t publish article calling Muslim parents ‘far right’

October 14, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: The Atlantic published a cover story with the headline: “The evolution of white supremacy,” and the subheading: “In Dearborn, Michigan, Muslim parents who oppose teaching pornography to children become the new face of the far right.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A screenshot purporting to show this article on The Atlantic’s website is fabricated. The outlet did not publish such a story. No record of it appears online or in archives of its cover stories, and a spokesperson for the outlet confirmed it is not authentic.

THE FACTS: Social media users and a U.S. senator shared an altered image made to appear like a story published by The Atlantic to claim the outlet called a group of Muslim parents in Michigan “the new face of the far right.”

The image circulating online shows The Atlantic’s logo as seen from the mobile site view, above a photo of a group of parents holding signs, one of which says, “protect the children.” Below that is red text that says “cover story,” followed by the headline: “The Evolution of White Supremacy,” and the subheading: “In Dearborn Michigan, Muslim parents who oppose teaching pornography to children become the new face of the far right.”

“Unbelievable,” wrote one Twitter user who shared the image on Wednesday, receiving more than 5,000 shares and 22,000 likes by Thursday afternoon. The post had been removed by Friday, but other versions of the image continued to spread online, including on Facebook.

While the user identified their Twitter profile as a meme account in the username and bio, many social media users reposted the image with captions suggesting they believed it was real.

“The left thinks this is actually newsworthy,” one user commented.

“@TheAtlantic is okay with showing porn to children but against Muslims who oppose it...all the while calling them White supremacists,” wrote another.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also tweeted the manipulated image on Friday morning, writing, “The Left is beyond parody,” before deleting the post less than an hour later, according to a database that tracks deleted tweets by public officials.

But the image does not show a story from The Atlantic.

“This screenshot is fabricated,” Anna Bross, senior vice president for The Atlantic wrote in an email to the AP. “The Atlantic published no such thing.”

No such article appears on The Atlantic’s website, nor in archives of its recent cover stories. No record of the story exists in screen captures of the webpage from Monday to Wednesday by the WayBack Machine, either.

The photo used to illustrate the fabricated story was taken by a photographer for The Detroit Free Press on Monday and published on the Michigan news outlet’s website. It captures a protest at a Board of Education meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. It shows parents criticizing certain educational materials, including books that touch on LGBTQ issues, according to the photo caption.

The Atlantic did not cover the protest. There are other signs the screenshot is fabricated as well. The author credited in the fake story has not written for the magazine since 2014, the outlet’s archives show.

And the photo credit shown in the fabricated article comes from The Atlantic’s actual cover story published on Wednesday. The same information appears below the unrelated image that was used to illustrate the story, a painting of an incarcerated man.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.