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

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump takes a question from a member of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington before boarding Marine One. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, The Associated Press reported on a video circulating online incorrectly depicting Trump lost and meandering around the White House lawn. The original Aug. 7, 2019 video clip, available on C-SPAN, was edited to make it appear the president is experiencing dementia symptoms ahead of the election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on manufacturing and buying American-made products at UAW Region 1 headquarters in Warren, Mich. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting Biden wants to introduce a 3% annual federal tax on your home. But nothing in Biden’s tax plan indicates homeowners would be subject to an additional 3% federal property tax. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020 file photo, boaters flying flags honoring U.S. President Donald Trump crowd Lake Travis in Lakeway, Texas, during a boat parade that attracted hundreds of watercraft of all sizes. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, The Associated Press reported on a photo circulating online incorrectly asserting it shows a white boat that sank to the bottom of Lake Travis in Texas during a boat parade for the president. Several boats sank during the Sept. 5 event, but the photo social media users are sharing was taken in June after a motorboat sank in northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. (Bob Daemmrich via AP)

  • FILE - This Thursday, March 19, 2020 file photo shows Nike apparel on mannequins in a sporting goods store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting Nike was quoted saying it could “afford to let go of all ‘Make America Great Again’ customers.” The quote is fake, according to company spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John, who confirmed to the AP that the quote “definitely did not come from anyone at Nike.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week.

None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out.

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Here are the facts:

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CLAIM: Video shows President Donald Trump lost and meandering around the White House lawn.

THE FACTS: A video clip from 2019 was altered to make it appear the president is experiencing dementia symptoms ahead of the election, and gained more than 5 million views on social media. In the edited 12-second clip, Trump finishes answering reporters’ questions on the South Lawn of the White House and then walks an indirect path, stopping near a puddle. The clip was edited to remove a portion of the video that shows the first lady Melania Trump approaching him and the president pointing to the puddle to warn her. They then walk toward the Marine One helicopter. Social media users shared the video with the text saying: “Trump is lost & disoriented here. His mind goes blank and he doesn’t remember what he’s supposed to do next. He’s deep into his degenerative neurological disease- Frontotemporal dementia- mindlessly lumbering and zigzagging in the grass towards a puddle.” The original clip, available on C-SPAN, was taken on August 7, 2019. The C-SPAN caption says the video shows Trump speaking to reporters as he leaves the White House for Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, following mass shootings in both cities. “He gave an update on meetings with lawmakers regarding legislative action to address mass shootings and gun violence,” the caption reads.

— Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy reported this item from New York.

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CLAIM: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to introduce a 3% annual federal tax on your home.

THE FACTS: A post circulating widely on Facebook this week falsely claims homeowners can expect higher taxes on their property if Biden is elected. “Biden wants to put a 3% annual federal tax on your home,” the post reads. “Do you want him for POTUS?” But nothing in Biden’s tax plan indicates homeowners would be subject to an additional 3% federal property tax. Experts who have analyzed the plan confirmed to AP there was no evidence to support the claim. Gordon Mermin, a senior research associate for the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, told the AP in an email he was “not aware of any proposed federal taxes on homes nor is there anything in the plan that might be construed as such.” He added: “Looks like nonsense.” Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst for the Tax Foundation, also told the AP he had not seen anything related to a 3% federal tax on homes in any of Biden’s tax proposals. During the Democratic primaries, some candidates discussed an annual wealth tax, which could also be levied on homes owned by wealthy individuals. “But Biden has not included a wealth proposal in his tax plan,” Watson said. Biden has campaigned on economic proposals that he claims will benefit American workers and ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes. Independent analyses of Biden’s tax plan from the two above nonpartisan groups, as well as others, say it would increase the corporate tax rate to 28%, add a 12.4% Social Security tax for earners above $400,000 and roll back tax cuts that President Donald Trump introduced for those making $400,000 or more, among other changes. Biden’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

— Ali Swenson

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CLAIM: Photo shows a white boat that sank to the bottom of Lake Travis in Texas during a boat parade for the president.

THE FACTS: Social media users are passing around a photo of a boat at the bottom of a lake, falsely claiming it shows one of the boats that recently sank during a parade in Texas to support President Donald Trump. Several boats sank during the Sept. 5 boat parade on Lake Travis, northwest of Austin. But the photo social media users are sharing was taken in June after a motorboat sank in northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter and rescue boat, saving 10 people who were on the boat as it began sinking into chilly waters. There’s no evidence that the boat’s submersion was part of any political rally or event, Nick Assendelft, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, told AP. In July, state officials said the 33-foot-long vessel needed to be removed from the bottom of the bay but the boat remained underwater in Lake Michigan as of Tuesday, Assendelft confirmed.

— Associated Press writer Amanda Seitz reported this item from Chicago.

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CLAIM: Sports apparel company Nike was quoted saying it could “afford to let go of all ‘Make America Great Again’ customers.”

THE FACTS: A recent Facebook post claimed Nike turned a cold shoulder to Trump-supporting customers in a statement — but the quote wasn’t real and appeared to have originated from a bogus, two-year-old rumor. “NIKE has stated, ‘We’re a $76 Billion dollar company that can afford to let go of all “Make America Great Again” customers.’ #bye,” read the post, which was viewed more than 45,000 times. The same claim was shared by other social media users, including in a public Facebook group linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory. The quote is fake, according to company spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John, who confirmed to the AP that the quote “definitely did not come from anyone at Nike.” The false rumor has circulated online since at least 2018. While Nike has voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement, made financial pledges to end systemic racism and partnered with the nonpartisan corporate voting initiative “Time to Vote,” it does not appear to have endorsed any candidate for president. Public statements published on the company’s website over the past year have not included any mention of President Donald Trump or the phrase “Make America Great Again.” An internet search for the false quote reveals it first emerged in September 2018, when the company announced it would feature the activist and free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign. Trump said Nike was sending a “terrible message” by making the athlete who knelt during the national anthem the face of its new campaign, the AP reported at the time. On Sept. 4, 2018, the day of the announcement, a Twitter user falsely claimed a Nike spokesperson told NPR it could afford to lose “‘make america great again’ customers.”

— Ali Swenson

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CLAIM: World Bank website shows COVID-19 test kits purchased by countries in 2017 and in 2018.

THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing data from the World Integrated Trade Solution website to falsely claim that testing kits for COVID-19 were purchased by countries in 2017 and 2018. The erroneous posts are using the data to suggest that the coronavirus is a hoax spread by global leaders. In fact, the data compiled by the website shows previously existing devices that are now being used to fight the coronavirus. The World Bank along with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and several global trade organizations developed World Integrated Trade Solution — WITS — software to track information on trade and tariffs. The posts began circulating late last week using screenshots from a page on the WITS website that shows test kit exports by country. At the time the posts were first shared, the website said “COVID-19 Test kits (382200) exports by country” in 2017. The website has since clarified the information on the page to say that “data here track previously existing medical devices that are now classified by the World Customs Organization as critical to tackling COVID-19.” The World Bank confirmed to the AP that the products were available before COVID-19 for other uses, but have recently been designated to support COVID-19 efforts. In April, the World Customs Organization and the World Health Organization collaborated to create a list of codes to help speed up the movement of medical supplies that could be used to diagnose and treat COVID-19 across borders. Ventilators, which existed long before the coronavirus, were on a June version of that list, according to The World Bank. “It serves as the basis for identifying the cross-border movement of the products needed during the pandemic, applying contingent tariff and non-tariff relief policies, monitoring and combating falsified supplies, and even for taking responsive actions to address shortages,” the World Customs Organization said in a statement in April. Some posts linked to a chart showing countries’ exports for test kits that rely on polymerase chain reaction testing, PCR. The test kits determine the genetic material of the virus. The tests have been around for more than 30 years. “This has been planned for DECADES!,” one Facebook post said, sharing a screenshot of the data. The false posts online were shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. Some posts even suggest that the World Bank updating the page was a sign that there was a cover up.

— Beatrice Dupuy

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Find all AP Fact Checks here: https://apnews.com/APFactCheck

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