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

President Donald Trump with Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in June. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

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: San Juan City Council Votes Unanimously To Impeach Trump-Hating Mayor

THE FACTS: There has been no move to impeach San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, despite this story from the As American As Apple Pie site. The story falsely claims that impeachment proceedings against Cruz are set to begin Monday following a council emergency meeting this week. Cruz has been publicly feuding with President Donald Trump over his administration’s response to the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria last month.

NOT REAL: NFL Introduces New Rule to Ban Players from Protesting During National Anthem

THE FACTS: Commissioner Roger Goodell’s memo to club executives this week reiterated the NFL’s preference that players stand for the anthem, but did not change any existing league policies. The memo sparked multiple false stories reporting a shift in policy and relating it to Trump’s criticism of the league for not firing players, including headlines like “Trump breaks NFL Commissioner” and “Goodell raises white flag.” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said potential changes to the anthem policy would be discussed at an owners’ meeting next week.

NOT REAL: New Evidence Shows McCain Helped Fund FBI Plot to Frame Trump; Backed Bogus Russian Trump Dossier

THE FACTS: A week after it was reported that former British spy Christopher Steele spoke to investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, several sites produced stories raising “suspicions” the Arizona senator funded the creation of a dossier of unproven allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia. One story cites unnamed sources and British court documents in support of the claim. The British documents only specify that McCain was in possession of the document, which he acknowledged in January that he turned it over to the FBI. He said that was “the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”

NOT REAL: President Trump signs executive order stripping NFL of ‘non-profit’ status

THE FACTS: The NFL gave up its tax-exempt status in 2015. The 32 individual teams pay federal tax on all revenue, from ticket sales to merchandise to sponsorship to broadcast revenue. Multiple sites, including FreedomJunkshun, a satire site, published the false story that Trump signed the order on Oct. 8, accompanied by a photo of Trump at an unrelated event. The stories followed Trump’s tweet on Tuesday falsely saying the league was “getting massive tax breaks” in his continued criticism of some players who have declined to stand for the national anthem in a protest of racial inequality.

NOT REAL: Chicago Cubs Say Obama Is Still Their President; Trump Not Welcome At Playoff Games

THE FACTS: The defending World Series champions haven’t barred the president from Wrigley Field for their ongoing playoff run. A story from Daily Feed News also claims the Cubs said in a statement Trump is “not our President.” The organization has issued no such statement and hasn’t publicly criticized Trump. In fact, the Cubs visited with Trump in the Oval Office in June.


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.