1. Jay-Z and Beyoncé did not buy “the rights” to the Confederate flag. On Tuesday, newish fake-news site Newswatch33 continued its nascent reign of terror with a dubious story — picked up by Dazed and Complex, among other outlets — on Jay and Bey’s attempts to shut down the Confederate flag. Per Newswatch, the celebrity couple planned to “purchase all resell rights to the Confederate flag” in order to “prevent any further use of the flag on merchandise.”
It’s worth pointing out that there are no resale rights on flags: They literally cannot be trademarked. (And if they could be, don’t you think we would have heard about the person profiting off the Confederate flag by now?) Also, as we’ve said, everything Newswatch33 publishes is fake — including, alas, this new partnership that would let you order pizza through Netflix.
2. A 26-year-old pregnant woman did not promise to keep her baby if pro-lifers gave her $1 million. Corners of the conservative Internet were alternately panicked and outraged this week by a mysterious Web site called prolifeantiwoman.com, which asked readers how much they would pay “to stop an abortion.” According to a brief letter on the site, the writer planned to terminate her seven-week pregnancy on July 10, but would call it off if she received $1 million in online donations before then.
We’re lucky the page’s “donate” button wasn’t actually funtional: The entire thing was, naturally, a publicity stunt. The letter was excerpted from Chad Kultgen’s new novel, “Strange Animals,” which — as prolifeantiwoman.com tells you now — Kultgen hopes you’ll buy on Amazon.com or Indiebound. Thus far, would-be readers appear unimpressed by the farce. “I mean, really?” wrote one Amazon reviewer, who gave it a measly one star.
3. Thousands of Christian couples did not file for divorce to protest gay marriage. Forget what you read on Facebook over the weekend: Christian conservatives are not bailing on marriage, rather than let gay couples in. According to a story by United Media Publishing — a fake-news site registered just this spring — organizations from Christ in Family Services in Topeka, Kan., to the Calvin and Hayes Family Court in San Diego, Calif., have observed “thousands” of religious couples divorcing to protest the recent Supreme Court. A quick Google search reveals, alas, that neither Christ in Family Services nor the Calvin and Hayes Court exist. (This has not prevented some 66,000 people from sharing it.)
4. Subway restaurants are not serving pea guacamole. Last time I checked, Subway wasn’t exactly renowned for the authenticity of its guac — but the news that the chain would be embracing a troll-y New York Times recipe still came as something of a shock. That “discovery” was posted to Twitter by Cabel Sasser, the Twitter-popular co-founder of an Oregon software company, who posted a photo of a Subway banner reading “New! Guacamole … made with fresh peas.”
5. An old photo does not show Hillary Clinton with the Confederate flag. On Tuesday, Dinesh D’Souza — a best-selling conservative author and Twitter-famous pundit– posted a photo sure to rile Hillary-haters and Confederacy defenders alike: a black-and-white image of a then 22-year-old Clinton, sitting in front of the Confederate flag.
… except, if you look at the original Getty version of this image — which has been pretty widely disseminated online — you’ll notice that the bookshelf behind Clinton is mysteriously empty. (Said bookshelf sits in a liberal women’s college in Boston, not exactly a hot bed of anti-Union feeling.) D’Souza retracted the photo in a follow-up tweet … though not quick enough to prevent some well-deserved counter-Photoshopping.
6. Rattlesnakes don’t grow up to 11-feet long. Ophidiophobes in the audience, take a deep breath: That terrifying Facebook photo of an 11-foot rattlesnake, credulously published by Houston’s KHOU, physically cannot exist. The station deleted the photo and published a correction on Thursday after a representative from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department called it “hilarious.” (Rattlesnakes are usually 3½ to 4½ feet long; the longest ever recorded clocked in at eight.)
You may recall seeing photos of this type before: gigantic-scary-snake and/or spider photos make the viral rounds pretty regularly. You may also recall hearing KHOU’s name in this column: They’re the ones who published a dramatic flood photo that was actually a still from Jurassic Park.
7. Andy Griffith did not die again. Call it the Rue McClanahan effect: For whatever reason, a lot of people on Twitter expressed their surprise, sympathy and grief over Griffith’s death this week … despite the fact that last Friday marked its third anniversary. Let this serve as a reminder to everyone to check out the dates on any/all obituaries they read, particularly if they plan to Twitter-mourn publicly.
Can't be happy today; learned of the death of wonderful Andy Griffith. RIP Andy.— Mrs. J.Courtney (@danwenzehe) July 5, 2015
Whaaaaa!!!??? Noooooooo!!! He was a staple of my childhood. RIP Andy Griffith. You will be missed! :(— levi.fuson (@leviathenator) July 6, 2015
Did we miss any other notable fake stuff this week? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org — or stay tuned until next week, because surely some more shenanigans will go down in the meantime.
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