A Look at What Didn't Happen This Week in the NOT REAL NEWS

 A Look at What Didn't Happen This Week in the NOT REAL NEWS

A Look at What Didn't Happen This Week in the NOT REAL NEWS

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about gun violence and his plans to fight crime at Wilkes College, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. On Friday, Sept. 2, The Associated Press reported on reports circulating on the Internet that falsely claimed Biden had officially filed for re-election with the Federal Election Commission.

by The Associated Press

a collection of the week's most shared but utterly false stories and images. Despite the fact that they were extensively disseminated on social media, none of them are true. They were investigated by The Associated Press. Here are some details:

Biden 2020 campaign committee filing is misrepresented in posts

CLAIM: The Federal Election Commission has received President Joe Biden's official reelection filing.

THE FACTS: Biden has not officially filed for re-election. Social media users are misrepresenting an updated administration document recently filed by his 2020 presidential campaign headquarters committee at FEC. "BREAKING REPORT: (NOT PARODY) Joe Biden Has Officially Filed to RUN FOR RE-ELECTION in 2024," one Twitter user wrote Tuesday. The tweet was shared more than 1,900 times. "Joe Robinette Biden officially filed for re-election with the Federal Election Commission today - he will run again with Kamala Harris as his running mate," an Instagram user also wrote Tuesday. 

But Biden has not officially declared his candidacy for re-election, according to records obtained by FEC. Biden's main campaign committee for the 2020 general election, called Biden for President, filed a statement of organization form Tuesday. That form, however, is different from a declaration of candidacy, which states that a candidate is officially running.

 "The claims that he has filed to run in 2024 are simply untrue based on this filing," said Kenneth Mayer, a political science professor at the College of Wisconsin-Madison. The new filing amended the committee's organization statement to "reflect new information about the treasurer," said Judith Ingram, a spokeswoman for FEC. 

Presidential candidates file declarations of candidacy for election cycles in which they participate, and Biden has not filed such a form for the 2024 election cycle, she said. A Democratic National Committee official confirmed that the campaign committee filing "is not a re-election filing." "It is simply an update to the form to change the treasurer's name as the former treasurer is taking a job in government," the official said in an email. 

A candidate filing by the Biden campaign on the FEC website would be the "clearest indicator that Biden has 'officially' launched a re-election campaign," Barry Burden, founding director of the College of Wisconsin-Madison's Election Research Center, wrote in an email to AP. 

However, this has not yet happened. Candidates can also become official candidates in the eyes of FEC if they raise or spend more than $5,000, according to the agency. The 2020 Biden campaign committee is still active in handling smaller financial transactions, similar to what other presidential campaigns have done, Burden said.

- Associated Press writer Josh Kelety in Phoenix contributed this report.

U.K. has not changed policies on COVID vaccines and pregnancies

DISCLAIMER: The U.K. government recently changed its COVID -19 vaccine recommendations and advises pregnant and breastfeeding women not to receive Pfizer vaccines.

THE FACTS: The instructions have not changed. Social media is misrepresenting a section of a summary report on Pfizer's 2020 syringe published by the UK Medicines Agency. Posts circulated in recent days spreading the false claim that Pfizer's COVID -19 syringe was not safe for pregnant women, falsely claiming that the U.K. government had admitted as much. "UK now admits vaccine is not safe for pregnant women," read one tweet, which received more than 1,300 likes. 

But the British government is in favor of vaccinating pregnant women, not against it, health officials confirmed. The social media posts show a screenshot of the "Conclusions on Toxicity" section of an online report titled "Summary of the Public Assessment Report for COVID -19 Vaccine Pfizer/BioNTech."

 This report was published by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in 2020 as part of the initial approval process for the vaccine and was last updated on August 16. The "Conclusions on Toxicity" section recommended against vaccinating pregnant and breastfeeding women, but also said the recommendations "reflect the lack of data at this time and do not represent a specific finding of concern." 

That particular section, however, reflected what was known nearly two years ago, when the vaccine was first introduced - and before additional data became available. "The text referenced on social media is from the Public Assessment Report (PAR), which reflects our assessment at the time the vaccine was licensed (Dec. 2, 2020)," MHRA said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. 

"Since then, new data have emerged (both nonclinical data and post-approval practice data) that support the updated recommendations for vaccination of pregnant and breastfeeding women. An archived version of the same page from December 2020 also confirms that the "Conclusions on Toxicity" section remains unchanged. The MHRA explicitly states elsewhere on the web that the COVID -19 vaccines, including Pfizer's vaccine, are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Dr. Victoria Male, a lecturer in reproductive immunology at Imperial College London, told AP that the confusion appears to be due to an Aug. 16 update to Pfizer documents. 

That change, however, concerned information about booster vaccinations, as shown by a note on an affiliated site, she said. Male also said the U.K. government's recommendations on COVID -19 vaccines and pregnancies have not changed.

 "Since April 2021, the UK government has offered the COVID vaccine during pregnancy," Male said in an email. "Since December 2021, pregnancy has been considered a priority condition for vaccination because we know that COVID infection in pregnancy can lead to stillbirths and premature births, and that vaccination protects against this and is safe in pregnancy." An independent advisory body, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, recommended in July that pregnant women who have already been vaccinated be offered a booster in the fall.

Associated Press writers Angelo in Philadelphia and Sophia Tulp in New York wrote this report. 

Video shows water tanker truck for bank, not governor's palace in Mississippi

Claim: A video shows a tanker truck outside the governor's mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, supplying water to the residence amid the city's water crisis. 

FACTS: The tanker, parked across the street from the governor's mansion, is serving as a stopgap for a bank's headquarters at the site. In the six-second video, the tanker truck can be seen parked on North West Street in downtown Jackson before the camera pans across the street to the Governor's Mansion. The widely shared clip has sparked outrage among social media users as the city works to restore water pressure while many residents continue to rely on water distribution centers. 

"There is currently no running water in Jackson, Mississippi," wrote one Twitter user. "Heat index is over 100 degrees. Schools are closed. People can not cook, clean, drink or bathe. But at least @tatereeves has a huge water truck supplying him with clean water at the Governor's Mansion." The tweet was shared nearly 8,000 times and received nearly 18,000 likes. 

The water tanker, however, is destined for the Trustmark Bank headquarters, located across the street from the governor's mansion, according to Danny Shows, president and CEO of 4D Solutions, the emergency preparedness company that provided the vehicle. He told AP that there was "no way" the tanker was delivering water to the governor's home. Shows explained that the water tanker is a stopgap measure for the building in case water pressure in Jackson's downtown completely fails. 

Melanie Morgan, director of corporate communications and marketing for Trustmark, confirmed that the bank purchased the water tanker truck for its building "out of sheer precaution." She told AP, the tanker does not contain potable water and is intended for building services such as air conditioning and restrooms. "We hired a contractor to get the tanker for us to keep our building running," Morgan said, adding that the bank wants to be able to relieve pressure on the city's water system when needed. 

She confirmed that the water tanker remains at the bank's headquarters next to the Governor's Mansion, but said the tanker has not yet been deployed because the building still has "more than adequate water pressure." Shelby Wilcher, Tates' press secretary, wrote in an email to AP that the water tanker "does not support the governor's mansion or other state facilities." She added that the residence gets its water from Jackson's water system and that many businesses have brought their own tankers. 

Jackson's water system partially broke down earlier this week. That was due to flooding that exacerbated long-standing problems at one of the city's two water treatment plants, reports AP. Reeves declared a state of emergency in Jackson on Tuesday, while President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency throughout Mississippi the same day.

- Associated Press writer Melissa Goldin in New York contributed this report. 

New York law does not prohibit minors from buying whipped cream

Claim: A New York law designed to curb the abuse of nitrous oxide prohibits people under 21 from buying a can of whipped cream.

THE FACTS: The law does not apply to store-bought disposable cans of whipped cream, meaning customers of all ages can still legally buy canned whipped cream in New York stores without having to show identification. 

Social media users, news outlets and grocery store operators have in recent days misinterpreted a year-old New York law aimed at curbing recreational use of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is used in some medical situations as a sedative and can also be used as a whip for culinary purposes.

However, the gas is also commonly inhaled from metal cartridges called "whippits" for a euphoric effect, although it poses serious health risks. 

The New York law, which took effect in November, seeks to make it harder for minors to access such cartridges by prohibiting New York businesses from selling the small, gas-laden metal capsules to anyone under 21. But wording in the bill that referred to the cartridges as "whipped cream chargers" led to widespread confusion. "New York recently passed a law prohibiting anyone under 21 from buying a can of whipped cream," wrote one popular Twitter account. 

The post linked to a news article that made the same claim and was shared nearly 5,000 times. The claim was further spread by headlines and reports in dozens of news outlets, as some grocery store operators have recently begun enforcing a rule requiring them to ask for ID before selling whipped cream canisters like Reddi-wip to customers. 

However, the law does not apply to those types of canisters, Senator Joseph Addabbo, the Democrat who introduced the bill, confirmed to AP. "Anyone can buy a can of Reddi-wip or any other canister of whipped cream without an ID check or ID," Addabbo told AP. "What a minor can not buy is the two-inch charger for whipped cream or a cartridge filled with nitrous oxide." 

The bill amends New York General Business Law to add a new section defining "whipped cream charger" as "a steel cylinder or cartridge filled with nitrous oxide commonly used in a whipped cream dispenser." Reusable whipped cream dispensers, such as those found in restaurants or cafes, are powered by such metal cartridges. 

However, disposable whipped cream cans sold in most grocery stores do not contain these chargers. Disposable whipped cream cans contain a combination of cream and nitrous oxide, which is ejected under pressure through the nozzle of the bottle.

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