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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Plane Crew Didn’t Rebuff Obama

Q: Did the crew of Air Force One refuse to fly President Obama to play golf?

A: No. It’s a fake news story specifically targeting “conservative readers.”


Is this true? “Crew of Air Force One Refuses to Fly Obama 6000 Miles ‘Just to Play Golf.’ ”


In the middle of Barack Obama’s final family vacation as president, a headline published on the website USA Daily Info claimed that the “Crew of Air Force One Refuses to Fly Obama 6000 Miles ‘Just to Play Golf.’ ”

But the crew did no such thing. The headline and accompanying story are fake.

The story — which carries no byline and offers no attribution for its claims — was published on Dec. 19, three days after the Obamas left Washington, D.C., for an extended vacation in Hawaii. It claims that “Obama was set to leave Hawaii tomorrow, just for the day, to meet with a pal 6000 miles away for a round of golf.” However, “the Captain of the President’s plane told him that unless it was official business from the office of the President, he wasn’t obligated to fly him anywhere.”

The bogus story then alleges that Obama had to “fly out on the Air Force Osprey they use to transport the family dog, Bo, who was forbidden from traveling on the President’s big plane after he peed on the leg of the French foreign minister during one of Michelle Obama’s lavish vacations.”

That’s pure hokum.

Obama played plenty of golf while on vacation in Hawaii and wouldn’t have needed to fly anywhere else to do so. Also, the president doesn’t fly on the MV-22 Osprey, which is used to transport White House staffers, security personnel and members of the media.

Plus, the picture of Bo featured in the story was taken three years ago on the first family’s vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. And Bo didn’t travel alone. He was on board the MV-22 Osprey along with Secret Service agents, members of the president’s staff and the press corps.

Anyone who read to the end of the story would know that it was all a hoax targeting conservatives. The last paragraph reads: “It’s a fairly well-known fact that after about 150 words and a picture that may or may not be related, most conservative readers will stop reading and go comment that the Muslim should be executed for playing golf. Therefore, less than 20% of those who clicked this article will have made it this far.”

Another story on the USA Daily Info website, “Hillary Clinton Charged with Treason,” makes the site’s intentions clear. That story says: “In case you’re wondering, yes. This is a satire site and we’ve been laughing at you idiots for months now. You will believe and share anything. It has been our pleasure to bring you ridiculous garbage you could have easily Googled the truth about but decided to instead share absurd stories only an imbecile would believe.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.


USADailyInfo.com. “Breaking: Crew of Air Force One Refuses to Fly Obama 6000 Miles ‘Just to Play Golf.'” Accessed 4 Jan 2017.

USADailyInfo.com. “Hillary Clinton Charged with Treason.” Accessed 4 Jan 2017.

Fabian, Jordan. “Obamas leave for two-week Hawaii vacation.” The Hill. 16 Dec 2016.

Associated Press. “Obama hits the links on day 5 of Hawaii vacation.” Honolulu Star Advertiser. 21 Dec 2016.

Hlad, Jennifer. “Osprey gets support role in Marine One squadron.” Stars and Stripes. 19 April 2013.

Hoffman, Michael. “Presidential Ospreys Get a Paint Job.” Defensetech.org. 17 May 2013.

Munro, Neil. “Bo the dog travels to vacation spot on expensive tilt-rotor aircraft.” DailyCaller.com. 12 Aug 2013.