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 these out. Here are the real facts:


NOT REAL: Records Show Dr. Ford Is Not A Licensed Psychologist, May Have Committed Perjury

THE FACTS: Christine Blasey Ford did not violate the law by identifying herself as a psychologist while testifying last week at the Senate hearing where she accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, as numerous reports circulating online suggested. Some reports speculated that Ford, a California college professor, perjured herself when she used psychologist in her job title because she is not licensed in California. State law requires anyone practicing psychology in California to hold a license but makes an exception for psychologists who are hired by academic institutions, public schools and government agencies under that title. Ford did not identify herself as a licensed psychologist; she referred to herself as a research psychologist at Stanford University School of Medicine and a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University. People hired by a school or university as a psychologist can identify as such, without being licensed, as long as they do not provide services to the general public, said Jeffrey Thomas, an assistant executive officer for the California licensing board of psychology.

NOT REAL: Judge Kavanaugh’s Home Vandalized By Left Wing Extremists

THE FACTS: Kavanaugh’s home was not vandalized by left-wing protesters, as claimed in false reports circulating online this week. The claim originated on a satire site, America’s Last Line of Defense, which wrote a story stating that “200 left-wing protesters” caused $11,000 worth of damage to Kavanaugh’s home in Mayo Lake, Pennsylvania, by throwing calendars, bricks and bottles at his house. Some online sites and social media users circulated the claim as true. Kavanaugh’s residence is in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Mayo Lake, Pennsylvania, is a fictional location. Police have received no reports of vandalism or protests since he was nominated for the Supreme Court on July 10, according to Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland.

NOT REAL: ‘This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.’

THE FACTS: A photo of a young girl that a Republican official in North Carolina used to mock Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is an image that has appeared online for several years. It is not Ford. Cabarrus County GOP chairman Lanny Lancaster shared the photo of a girl wearing large glasses and braces on his Facebook page, with the comment: “This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.” Ford’s legal team confirmed that the photo was not of her. The post drew sharp criticism. Frank McNeill, a Democratic candidate for Congress in North Carolina’s 8th District, called it an “assault on the safety and dignity of American women” in an email newsletter. The Daily Mail Online used the photo in their worst yearbook photos list in 2012, saying it came from Worldwideinterweb.


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.


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Categories: National & International News