The midterm elections are finally over, but it won’t be long before the 2024 campaign cycle — which will really start in 2023 — gets going. Before that happens, we’ve put together this list of the year’s biggest whoppers that politicians and others made over the past 12 months.
A supply and demand imbalance, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, led to a surge in gasoline prices. But an online statement attributed to a supposed “BP Oil Executive” blames gasoline prices on U.S. dependence on foreign oil. BP told us the statement did not come from anyone at the company.
Former President Donald Trump repeated false claims about a Russian natural gas pipeline, U.S. energy production and the 2020 U.S. presidential election in a four-minute video clip posted to Facebook by his eldest son, Donald Jr. YouTube removed the full video from its platform for spreading misinformation.
Conspiracy theories aimed at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have been circulating on social media since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. One recent example, falsely attributed to a “Pentagon official,” is the unfounded claim that Zelensky is the cousin of billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered a barrage of false claims on social media, including posts that purport to show a video of “crisis actors” portraying dead victims of the fighting. The video used in the posts is from a climate protest held in Vienna, Austria, weeks before the war in Ukraine began.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appeared in several recent videos that show he has remained in the country since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. But a post circulating on Facebook falsely claims he fled and recorded a video using a green screen to make it appear as though he’s still in Ukraine. There’s no evidence to support the claim. A digital forensics expert told us that nothing in the video indicates it was filmed using a green screen.
In late February, Republican Rep. Ted Budd described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “erratic,” a “thug” and “intelligent.” He also said Putin has “strategic reasons” for wanting to “protect” his country’s borders, but called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “evil” and pledged support for Ukrainians. But a new TV ad from Republican Pat McCrory cherry-picks from Budd’s remarks to claim the congressman “excuses Putin” for Russia’s deadly attack on Ukraine.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, following months of military buildup and, as we’ve written, repeated denials by Russian officials that their country planned to invade. As is often the case with major news events, we have seen several false and misleading claims made on social media and by politicians related to the conflict.