NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump, center, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, third from right, Vice President Mike Pence, second from right, and his wife Karen, right, and the Trump family, glances towards the balcony during a National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, in Washington. Some websites published false stories in April 2017 claiming Trump and Pence consoled Jehovah’s Witnesses by praying with them after Russia banned the religion’s members from operating anywhere in the country. Several stories included images of Trump and Pence at the National Prayer Service, falsely claiming the images were of the leaders praying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

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

NOT REAL: Conservative Icon Ted Nugent Killed In Hunting Accident

THE FACTS: The rocker has been the subject of a death hoax published by numerous sites following his April 19 visit to the White House with Kid Rock and Sarah Palin. The hoax appears to have originated on April 28 from, a site that includes a disclaimer that all articles are “satirical.” Nugent said in a Facebook Live video the same day that his family was “quite distraught” over the hoax, which he termed “a dirty lie.”


NOT REAL: Trump consoles Jehovah’s Witnesses on Russia ban as he worships with them

THE FACTS: Russia’s Supreme Court in late April banned the religion’s members from operating anywhere in the country, calling the group an extremist organization. The U.S. State Department did condemn Russia’s actions, but President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence did not respond by praying with the group in the U.S. and consoling the members, as several sites claimed. Several of the stories included a picture of the president and vice president attending a national prayer service the day after their January inauguration, falsely identifying it as a prayer service at the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.


NOT REAL: Boston Marathon Bomber Tsarnaev Severely Injured In Prison, May Never Walk Or Talk Again

THE FACTS: Prison officials said no evidence supports an account widely shared on social media that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffered “massive brain trauma” in his Massachusetts prison cell, leaving him in a pool of blood with a banana peel nearby. Tsarnaev is actually in a Colorado prison, appealing his conviction for the 2013 bombing. The piece that ran on partisan sites recently recycled a 2015 hoax piece that also quoted Aryan Brotherhood gang members claiming they beat Tsarnaev.


NOT REAL: Donald Trump signs a visa-free travel policy for (insert country here)

THE FACTS: A series of stories from and other sites claim President Donald Trump has signed executive orders granting visa waivers for citizens from several different countries, including Ethiopia, Lithuania and the Philippines. These reports are nearly identical and differ only in the name of the country; none are among the 38 countries on the State Department’s Visa Waiver program list. The reports have been denied from U.S. embassies in several named countries.


NOT REAL: Next Star Wars movie to be filmed near (insert city here), hundreds of extras needed

THE FACTS: Multiple stories on sites resembling local affiliate TV stations have published these casting calls, interchanging the name of towns across North America, including Wichita, Kansas; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Barrie, Ontario. The reports promote a new movie about a previously unknown planet in the Star Wars universe. The only Star Wars film in production right now, the untitled Han Solo film, began principal photography in January outside London. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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