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

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A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out.


Executive Order 9066 authorized Japanese detention during World War II, not gift cards for recent migrants

CLAIM: President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 9066, which provides people who enter the U.S. illegally with a $5,000 Visa gift card.

THE FACTS: Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, authorizing the forced removal from the West Coast of anyone deemed a threat to national security. It paved the way for the relocation and incarceration of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens, during World War II.

The order was formally terminated in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. Immigration experts previously told The Associated Press that people who enter the U.S. illegally are not eligible for federal cash assistance, with exceptions for certain Cubans and Haitians. None of these benefits include a one-time payment of $5,000.

On the 82nd anniversary of the order on Monday, social media users erroneously claimed that it is a recent directive meant to aid those who cross the U.S. border illegally.

“Executive order 9066 is rewarding these illegals with $5,000 gift cards. I’m busting my ass just to get more in debt every month because of Bidenomics. The Democrats have let me know I am DEAD LAST as an American. I will never support a Democrat or liberal after seeing what destruction they have caused in the last 3 years. What about you?” said one false post on X that had more than 11,700 likes and shares before it was deleted.

Some posts making these allegations included a video posted to X in December by Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Arizona. In the video, Lamb falsely claims that in addition to $5,000 Visa gift cards, the government also gives people who enter the U.S. illegally a cell phone and a domestic plane ticket to a location of their choosing. The government does not provide such assistance.

Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, shortly after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which led the U.S. to formally enter World War II. It allowed anyone deemed a national security threat to be forcibly removed from the country’s West Coast, resulting in the relocation and incarceration of roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in desolate camps. The government claimed those held might plot against the U.S. during the war even though thousands of them were elderly, disabled, children or infants. Two-thirds were citizens.

These incarcerations ended following the conclusion of World War II in 1945. President Gerald Ford formally terminated Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1976, its 34th anniversary. A 1988 law provided remaining survivors of the camps with $20,000 each in restitution, as well as a formal apology.

People who enter the U.S. illegally do not receive $5,000 gift cards from the federal government and are not eligible for any federal cash assistance, with exceptions for certain Cubans and Haitians, immigration experts previously told the AP. None of these benefits include a one-time payment of $5,000.


The Red Cross did not ban people with COVID-19 vaccinations from donating blood

CLAIM: The American Red Cross banned people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine from donating blood because it is “tainted.”

THE FACTS: No potential donors are deemed ineligible solely due to COVID-19 vaccines, a Red Cross spokesperson told The Associated Press. People who know they received a COVID-19 vaccine that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration may immediately donate blood if they are healthy. Those who received vaccines that contain a weakened form of the virus that causes COVID-19 — or people who aren’t sure — are asked to wait two weeks before donating.

Social media users are misrepresenting a question the Red Cross asks potential blood donors to make false claims about donor eligibility and COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Many posts include a screenshot of the question as it appears on the Red Cross’ RapidPass system. It asks: “Have you EVER had a Coronavius (COVID-19) vaccine?” Below the question are instructions for potential donors who answer yes to call the Red Cross “before coming in to donate to determine if this will affect your eligibility.”

“UPDATED eligibility requirements from @RedCross now BANS certain covid VACCINATED people from donating blood!” reads one post on X that had received more than 3,200 likes and shares as of Friday. “(Another conspiracy theory proved true!) PURE BLOODS BE PROUD. The rest of you…retweet to warn your tainted friends and family.”

Other widespread posts don’t make claims about supposed bans, but imply that the question is proof COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

“I thought the vax was ‘safe and effective’?” another X post asks. “What info are they hiding from us?” It had received approximately 42,000 likes and 23,000 shares.

But the additional scrutiny has nothing to do with the safety of the vaccines. It is to assure that the COVID-19 virus is not present in blood being donated, as there is a risk that live attenuated vaccines — those that contain a weakened form of the virus they protect against — could pass the virus through blood.

The Red Cross follows FDA eligibility guidelines for blood donation. Its website states that people who received a non-replicating, inactivated, or mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca or Novavax can donate blood immediately if they are in good health.

Those who received vaccines that don’t meet these requirements — or if they don’t know — are asked to wait two weeks before donating. This includes COVID-19 vaccines that are live attenuated, none of which are currently approved for use in the U.S.

“There is no reason why a potential donor would be declared absolutely ineligible solely because they received a COVID vaccine,” Daniel Parra, a spokesperson for the Red Cross, told the AP in an email.

The Red Cross’s blood donation eligibility guidelines regarding COVID-19 vaccines have appeared on its website in their current form since early 2021. Potential donors who have received other vaccines that contain small amounts of live viruses, such as those for chicken pox, polio and yellow fever, are also required to wait before donating blood.

“Basically, if you received an FDA-approved COVID vaccine, you remember the name of the vaccine manufacturer, and you are feeling healthy, you won’t have a problem,” Parra wrote. “If you don’t know the name of your vaccine manufacturer, you will be deferred for two weeks because it’s not possible to determine with 100% certainty that you received an eligible vaccine.”

COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood donations from vaccinated people are not “tainted” and serious adverse events following vaccination are rare.

“Blood donations from individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine approved or authorized for use in the U.S. are safe for transfusion,” reads a joint statement written last month by the Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies.


Kid Rock and Jason Aldean did not cancel New York performances after ruling against Trump

CLAIM: Performers Kid Rock and Jason Aldean removed all New York shows from their “You Can’t Cancel America” tour in support of former President Donald Trump.

THE FACTS: The claim originated on a satirical news website that describes its content as “fiction.” There is no such tour — the pair’s “Rock the Country” tour, which begins in April, never included any stops in New York. Aldean’s concurrent “Highway Desperado Tour” started in July 2023 and has already included multiple shows in the state with more scheduled this year.

Following an order in New York requiring former President Donald Trump to pay $355 million in penalties for lying about his wealth, social media users erroneously claimed that Kid Rock and Aldean, both public Trump supporters, had scrapped their Empire State tour dates in solidarity.

Many of the posts shared online include a screenshot of a headline that reads: “Kid Rock and Jason Aldean Remove New York from the ‘You Can’t Cancel America’ Tour: ‘We Support 45.’”

“BREAKING HILARITY: #MAGAMorons Kid Rock and Jason Aldean just announced they will cancel New York from their ‘You can’t cancel America’ tour,” reads one post on X. “Pure. Comedy. Gold.” It had received about 13,000 likes and 5,900 shares as of Wednesday.

But the headline comes from an article on, a website that labels itself as satire and whose content is often mistaken as real. Its domain refers to the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias concept in which people with little knowledge in a given area overestimate what they know.

“ is a subsidiary of the ‘America’s Last Line of Defense’ network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery,” the site’s About Us page reads. “Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real.”

Moreover, there is no “You Can’t Cancel America” tour. Kid Rock and Aldean are headlining a “Rock the Country” tour starting in April with seven stops in Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina. No shows have been added to the tour since it was announced in November.

Aldean’s “Highway Desperado Tour” has had two shows in New York since it began in July 2023. Four additional New York shows are planned for the summer of 2024.

Among other clues that the story was bogus is the fact that it quotes “Joe Barron,” who it claims is president of the “Kid Rock Fan Club.” frequently uses this name in its satirical posts.

The Associated Press has previouslydebunked stories that originated from the same network of satirical sites, but were spread as real.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump on Friday to pay $335 million in penalties for scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others by inflating his wealth on financial statements. In addition to the former president, the civil fraud verdict punishes his company and executives, including his two eldest sons.


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