A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Explaining Conspiracy Theories

FactCheck.org staff writer Saranac Hale Spencer appeared on The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR, a Connecticut public radio station, to talk about the conspiracy theories and misinformation that spread online after the deadly shooting on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Sandy Hook Hoax Revisited

Q: Are the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting actually alive?

A: No. That is a claim made by conspiracy theorists who believe the shooting never happened.

Phony Yearbook Photo

Q: Is David Hogg pictured in a California school yearbook?

A: No. That’s a yearbook photo from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where Hogg is a student.

No ‘Crisis Actors’ in Parkland, Florida

Q: Are the students who survived the Florida school shooting really “crisis actors”?

A: No. Conspiracy theories have been spreading online to undercut students advocating stricter gun control.

Debunking False Vaccine Claim

Q: Has the Food and Drug Administration announced that vaccines cause autism?

A: No. FDA statements are grounded in scientific evidence. There is no evidence that vaccination is linked to autism.

Blackout or Ham Radio Drill?

Q: Is the Department of Defense planning a drill that will cause a nationwide blackout? Is antifa involved?

A: No and no. The Army is conducting a drill with ham radio operators, and it has nothing to do with antifa.

No ‘Microchips’ for ‘All Americans’

Q: Is Congress considering a bill that would allow police to track “all Americans” with microchips?

A: No. A popular story on Facebook distorts the implications of proposed legislation to help locate missing Alzheimer’s patients and autistic children.

Jade Helm Not Martial Law

Q: Is Jade Helm 15 a government attempt to create martial law in the U.S.?
A: No. It’s a joint military training exercise lasting two months this summer.

 

Donald, You’re Fired!

If Donald Trump worked for us, we’d have to say: “Donald, you’re fired — for incompetence.” The successful developer and TV celebrity says he’d make a good president, and maybe he would — we take no stand either way about that. But when it comes to getting facts straight …