If you've seen a fake news story on the Internet, there's a good chance it came from the mind of a 45-year-old Maine man who umpires Little League games.
Barack Obama arrested for wiretapping Donald Trump! Clinton Foundation ship caught smuggling refugees! Trey Gowdy's son found dead in a D.C. dumpster!
These stories are completely made up. But his stories have become so popular that they're being stolen by other fake news authors who post the stories to their own URLs, hoping to profit....
At first look, BostonTribune.com certainly seems a trustworthy source. So does KMT11.com. And ABCNews.com.co. Even 24wpn.com has an official ring to it.
But all of these websites peddle bogus stories, either by making up fake news or sharing it from other sources. And it's not always apparent to readers that's the case.
Since December, we at PolitiFact have been partnering with Facebook to root out fabricated reports shared by social media users. As of April 19, we've written more than 80 fact-checks about fake news stories. We've noted some trends along the way, chief among them that it can be really difficult for readers — from casual skimmers to seasoned newshounds — to spot fake news outlets when they pop up....
Says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said, "It's better for our budget if cancer patients die more quickly."
Bloggers, March 16 in a headline
A fake news story pegged to a real forum with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price falsely quotes him as saying it's better for cancer patients to die than to waste taxpayer money....
James McDaniel, a 28-year-old Clearwater native, said he created a fake news website last month as a joke to see just how naive Internet readers could be.
The headlines came quick and easy. "Bombshell: WikiLeaks leaks 'lost' Clinton email." "Obama tweet: Trump must be removed, by any means necessary." "Man pardoned by Obama 3 months ago arrested for murder." "Whoopi Goldberg: Navy SEAL Widow was 'Looking for Attention'."...
"Trump just gave every working, legal man, woman and child in the USA $612 each!"
Bloggers, Feb. 14 in a headline
A widely shared (and false) Internet report that President Donald Trump started a program to give legal citizens hundreds of dollars apiece as a "stimulus bonus" is really a made-up claim from a joke site.
Yet some of you out there are thinking it's true....
Says Donald Trump was "caught investing in (the) Dakota Pipeline before signing it."
LearnProgress.org, Feb. 8 in a headline
A left-leaning blog asserts that President Donald Trump was busted for approving the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for financial gain, but the facts of the case ended up being buried.
"Breaking: Trump caught investing in Dakota Pipeline before signing it," read the headline on an undated post on LearnProgress.org. The blog regularly posts items lambasting Trump and his policies....
No, the United Nations did not order former President Barack Obama to pay African-Americans reparations.
A distraught GOP Electoral College voter did not choose suicide over Donald Trump.
And, in case you weren't sure, Sarah Palin did not call for a boycott of the Mall of America because it had a black Santa.
For the past six weeks, we at PolitiFact have been digging deep into Facebook's news feeds to identify and disprove "fake news." Working with Facebook, we've been fact-checking news stories that have been flagged by readers as potentially fake or deliberately misleading. If we agree that a story is false, readers who attempt to share the post on Facebook first receive a warning. ...
PolitiFact Florida: Utility group says Amendment 1 protects seniors, but measure offers no new regulations11/06/16Elections
Organizers for a proposed constitutional amendment about electricity generated by solar power have told voters their proposal would safeguard consumers — especially seniors.
Consumers for Smart Solar, the utility-backed group behind Amendment 1, has spent millions to promote the measure in commercials, mailers and web ads.
"Amendment 1 protects Florida seniors from scams and rip-offs," claimed one ad on YouTube....
Says President Barack Obama "is the first president in modern history not to have a single year of 3 percent growth."
Donald Trump, Oct. 28 in a campaign speech
When Trump talked of growth, he likely meant the percent change in gross domestic product, called GDP, which is the total value of goods and services in the country. The time frame he's using is indistinct, but "a single year" probably relates to the annual change in GDP....
PolitiFact Florida: No, Hillary Clinton did not meet with Broward elections supervisor Brenda Snipes10/31/16 Blog
As early voters in Florida started casting votes, conservative websites buzzed about new evidence of crooked campaign tactics by Hillary Clinton to secure the crucial battleground state.
The alleged scheme centered on left-leaning Broward County, already in the news for distributing some mail-in ballots without Amendment 2, a proposal to legalize medical marijuana.
The claims originated from Roger Stone, a Donald Trump supporter and former campaign operative who talked of a "secret" meeting in an interview to conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones on Oct. 26....
Stumping for Hillary Clinton in South Florida, former Vice President Al Gore wanted to enlighten a crowd of supporters about a controversial ballot measure on solar energy.
Gore said the utility companies that back Amendment 1 make it sound like it fosters solar, but it's a "phony-baloney" initiative.
"The things they claim protect solar are protections you already have," Gore said at Miami Dade College's Kendall campus on Oct. 11. "But they are trying to fool you into amending your state Constitution in a way that gives them the authority to shut down net metering and do in Florida what they did in Nevada and just kill the solar industry."...
In the Miami area to stump for Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore wanted to enlighten a crowd of supporters about a controversial ballot measure on solar energy.
Gore said the utility companies that back Amendment 1 make it sound like it fosters solar, but the true aim is darker than that. He called it a "phony baloney" initiative propped up by utilities.
"The things they claim protect solar are protections you already have," Gore said at Miami Dade College’s Kendall campus on Oct. 11, 2016. "But they are trying to fool you into amending your state Constitution in a way that gives them the authority to shut down net metering and do in Florida what they did in Nevada and just kill the solar industry."...
Opponents of Florida's medical marijuana amendment are warning that cannabis-enhanced edibles will endanger children, hoping that voters will eat up their dire predictions and reject the measure.
"Amendment 2 will bring kid-friendly pot candy to Florida," the antidrug campaign Vote No on 2 said in a recent mailpiece.
The campaign is run by the Drug Free Florida Committee, an antidrug group started in 2014 by longtime GOP fundraiser Mel Sembler and his wife, Betty, with financial backing from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson....
PolitiFact Florida: Unions say Marco Rubio wanted to slash school funding by billions, get rid of Department of Education09/27/16 Blog
Two liberal labor unions say that Sen. Marco Rubio’s priorities are wrong for Floridians.
A TV ad by AFSCME People and AFT Solidarity accuses Rubio of favoring cuts to Social Security and Medicare and also says he "voted to slash school funding by billions of dollars and would eliminate the Department of Education."...
09/25/16 State Roundup
An antiregulation group is accusing U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of wanting to use the Senate to adopt policies that would raise the cost of just about everything, starting with your utility bills.
"Vote against Patrick Murphy," reads a mailer we received Sept. 12, from Americans for Prosperity Florida. "We can't afford his 'Pay More' agenda."
The flier cautions electricity and grocery prices will go up as wages go down with Murphy in the Senate....