False claims made about Michelle Obama

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - NEWS - As­so­ci­ated Press

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

Claim: “Me­la­nia is first FLOTUS to visit a com­bat zone since 1969” – state­ment cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia with photo of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Me­la­nia vis­it­ing troops in Iraq on Dec. 26.

The facts: At least three first ladies have vis­ited com­bat zones, as de­fined by fed­eral reg­u­la­tions, since 1969. Ac­cord­ing to re­port­ing by The As­so­ci­ated Press, Michelle Obama vis­ited troops at al-udeid air base in Qatar, in 2015, while first lady. The Ara­bian Penin­sula, in­clud­ing Qatar, was des­ig­nated as a com­bat zone in Jan­uary 1991. Laura Bush vis­ited Afghanistan, which was des­ig­nated a com­bat zone in 2001, twice as first lady in

2005 and 2008. Michelle Gul­lion, archives di­rec­tor and cu­ra­tor for the Na­tional First Ladies’ Li­brary, told the AP that for­mer first lady Pat Nixon went to a com­bat zone in 1969. She ac­com­pa­nied then-pres­i­dent Richard Nixon on a visit to South Viet­nam. Gul­lion said the first first lady to visit a com­bat zone was Eleanor Roo­sevelt, dur­ing World War II. Bar­bara Bush vis­ited troops in Saudi Ara­bia in 1990, but the area was not of­fi­cially des­ig­nated as a com­bat zone. Hil­lary Clin­ton vis­ited Bos­nia in 1996, when it was con­sid­ered a “hos­tile area.”

Claim: Photo on In­sta­gram shows New York City bill­board with a pic­ture of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the phrase

“THE WALL IS COM­ING,” in a font sim­i­lar to that used by the HBO show “Game of Thrones.” The facts: The photo shows the cor­ner of 720 Fifth Ave., in Man­hat­tan. There was once a bill­board on the Aber­crom­bie & Fitch store there, but it has been taken down. But pho­tos of the old bill­board have be­come a pop­u­lar ve­hi­cle for doc­tored im­ages like the one cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia with Trump’s pic­ture and the com­ment about the wall. Trump has been shar­ing that poster and a sim­i­lar one with the phrase, “SANC­TIONS ARE COM­ING,” a ref­er­ence to the “Game of Thrones” tagline, “Win­ter Is Com­ing.” Asked about the posters, HBO said in a state­ment to The As­so­ci­ated Press that they would pre­fer their trade­mark not be mis­ap­pro­pri­ated for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.

Claim: A Face­book page pur­port­ing to be­long to film­maker and ac­tor Tyler Perry of­fers a $5,000 cash give­away to “250 Peo­ple To­mor­row Af­ter­noon - SHARE to En­ter To Win.”

The facts: Perry’s pub­li­cist told The As­so­ci­ated Press that the page, which was be­ing shared in re­cent weeks, is not real nor is there any cash give­away con­test. Perry has been the fre­quent tar­get of such sham give­aways, which use Face­book pages made to ap­pear they are his. The most re­cent one pro­motes the give­away us­ing a photo of Perry stand­ing with Oprah Win­frey. The sit­u­a­tion be­came so egre­gious last sum­mer that he re­leased a video in July not­ing how of­ten these il­le­git­i­mate pages pop up ty­ing him to fake of­fers.

Claim: “Michelle Obama de­mands Amer­i­cans pay up to give her mom a cushy $160k pen­sion. Do You Sup­port This?”

The facts: A story cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia sug­gests that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s moth­erin-law, Mar­ian Robin­son, will re­ceive a $160,000 life­time gov­ern­ment pen­sion “for ser­vices ren­dered as a full-time/in­home care­giver” for her grand­daugh­ters, Malia and Sasha. It is not true. This same claim cir­cu­lated widely on so­cial me­dia a year ago. An AP story from Jan. 14, 2017, found that the story was pub­lished by The Bos­ton Tri­bune, a satire web­site that mim­ics an ac­tual news pub­li­ca­tion. It was then picked up by a num­ber of con­ser­va­tive sites and por­trayed as cred­i­ble. The story claimed Robin­son “likely qual­i­fied for her life­time pen­sion un­der the ‘op­tional' el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ment for the Civil Ser­vice Re­tire­ment Act.” That plan has been re­placed by an­other pro­gram, but Robin­son would not qual­ify for ben­e­fits un­der ei­ther of them be­cause she was never em­ployed by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

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