Not Real News: A look at what didn’t happen this week

     Oprah Winfrey attends the 9th annual Produced By Conference at Twentieth Century Fox on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for Producers Guild of America/AP Images)

    Oprah Winfrey attends the 9th annual Produced By Conference at Twentieth Century Fox on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for Producers Guild of America/AP Images)

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

    NOT REAL NPR: 25 Million Votes For Clinton ‘Completely Fake’ — She Lost Popular Vote

    THE FACTS The headline falsely describes the gist of a National Public Radio story published four years before the 2016 presidential election. It cited a Pew study, which was released in 2012 and based in part on 2008 results, that found 24 million registrations were invalid or inaccurate. The study found no evidence of fraud and suggested the inaccurate records were the result of antiquated voter registration systems that left dead people on voter rolls or didn’t drop people when they moved. Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, but she won the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, according to an Associated Press count. The headline and story first circulated in January and was shared widely on sites like and in recent weeks.


    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor


    THE FACTSThe Perseid meteor shower, peaking the nights of Aug. 11-12, won’t come close to setting any records. The head of NASA’s meteoroid environment office, Bill Cooke, tells the AP that astronomers are projecting a slightly higher than normal shower rate with 150 meteors per hour across the Northern Hemisphere. But the brightness of the moon will wash out the finer Perseids, meaning 30 to 40 meteors an hour will be visible. The shower won’t even break last year’s rate of 200 meteors per hour. The brightest outburst — an estimated 100,000 meteors an hour — occurred during the Leonids of 1833.


    NOT REAL BREAKING: Seven ships are preparing for Muslims’ massive deportation next week

    THE FACTS Several hoax sites flashed this headline and another talking about 10 airplanes preparing for a massive deportation, with pictures. Clicking on the headline leads to no information. The ships pictured were identified as part of a British cruise line.


    NOT REAL BREAKING: Trump Removes Muslim Federal Judge For Allowing Sharia In America

    THE FACTSA story on and similar stories on other sites claim a judge named Hansam al Alallawalahi-Smith made rulings allowing “tenets of Sharia Law” to be practiced in Dearborn, Michigan, and that Trump removed him from office. The story says the judge works on the 22nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which does not exist at the federal level. It is accompanied by a photo of a real judge, but he’s from Florida and has a different name. Finally, the Constitution stipulates impeachment — not presidential executive orders — as the method for removing federal judges.


    NOT REAL Oprah Winfrey is pregnant with first child at 62

    THE FACTS Sites have falsely claimed the entertainer and lifestyle guru is pregnant going back two years. A spokeswoman confirmed that the widely shared story was once again not true. The false report claimed Winfrey planned to name the child after her best friend Gayle King if she gave birth to a girl and Harpo, the name of her production company, if it was a boy. The headline also has Winfrey’s age wrong: She is 63.


    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal