As July Fourth approaches, Americans debate democracy's fate

NEW YORK (AP) — In his 4½ years as a state senator from Manhattan, Brad Holyman has handed out everything from flashlights to T-shirts at political rallies. But for a gathering held soon after President Donald Trump's inauguration, he decided on something more substantial:

Copies of the Constitution.

  • Written by By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer

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

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:


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NOT REAL: Whataburger files for bankruptcy; all locations to close by August 1.

THE FACTS: The Texas-based fast food chain has taken to social media to quash a series of false stories claiming it was going out of business. When clicked, the stories inform the reader that the headline is a prank. Nevertheless, Whataburger posted messages on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday saying the article "is a hoax" and "we aren't going anywhere."

Whataburger

FILE - This Thursday, July 9, 2015, file photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. The Texas restaurant chain said on social media Wednesday, June 28, 2017, that a story shared online that claims it would be going out of business on Aug. 1 is a hoax. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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NOT REAL: UNREAL: A Drastic INCREASE Of Monthly Payments - Social Security Recipients Delighted

THE FACTS: Stories posted by several conservative-leaning sites credit President Donald Trump with boosting Social Security payments earlier this year. A cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payouts with a 0.3 percent increase did go into effect in January, but it was announced in October , weeks before Trump was elected.

SSchecks

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2005, file photo, trays of printed social security checks wait to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury's Financial Management services facility in Philadelphia. The AP reported on June 30, 2017, that a story being shared online crediting President Donald Trump for a routine cost of living adjustment for Social Security recipients is false. (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)

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NOT REAL: Italian Investigators Confirmed: Obama Used Fake Birth Certificate

THE FACTS: A story based on former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio's conclusion that former President Barack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate is a forgery has been shared by several conservative-leaning websites. The account doesn't elaborate on the supposed Italian investigation. Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship. In 2012, they said Arpaio's allegations are "untrue, misinformed, and misconstrue Hawaii law."

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NOT REAL: Pence Calls Gays To Voluntarily Quit Jobs With God-Fearing Employers "So We Can Avoid Laws That Reject Them"

THE FACTS: This article from the Newslo group of admitted satire sites first published in November claims that during an interview with Fox News, then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence called on gays to quit working so they won't get fired by conservative employers. There's no evidence such an interview exists. Newslo bills itself as "the first hybrid News/Satire platform on the web."

Pence

FILE- In this June 22, 2017, file photo, Vice President Mike Pence applauds during the Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Pence is scheduled to visit suburban Cleveland on Wednesday, June 28, to meet with small business owners. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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NOT REAL: A Man Just Caught A Giant Great White On the Great Lakes!

THE FACTS: This story about a fisherman catching a massive great white shark in Lake Michigan has been floating around in online circles for more than a year. It claims the U.S. Coast Guard commented that the fish could explain the disappearance of hundreds of people. Coast Guard spokesman Chris Yaw tells the AP the agency never said such a thing and the story is a work of fiction.

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This weekly fixture is part of The Associated Press' ongoing efforts to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.

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

  • Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Trump voting commission will get limited state voter data

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A request for detailed information about every voter in the U.S. from President Donald Trump's voting commission is getting a rocky reception in the states.

VoterData

  • Written by By ADAM KEALOHA CAUSEY and HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press

Bill targets law aimed at keeping politics out of churches

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Churches should have the right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans targeting a law that prohibits such outright politicking from the pulpit.

OH ChurchPolitics Renacci

  • Written by By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press

State laws will expand concealed guns to public facilities

 

Starting Saturday, concealed guns will be permitted at college campuses in Georgia and Kansas, more public buildings and bus stations in Tennessee, and at the Iowa state Capitol as new laws take effect continuing the steady expansion of gun rights in Republican-controlled states.

  • Written by By DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press