Fact or Fiction Weekly Challenges

FICTION

 

This piece was a purely satirical article published in the wake of Musk’s decision to delete the Facebook pages of his Tesla and SpaceX companies in March 2018. At the time, Musk wrote on Twitter that the social media platform gave him the “willies”:

It’s not a political statement and I didn’t do this because someone dared me to do it. Just don’t like Facebook. Gives me the willies. Sorry.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2018

 

The Alternative-Science piece fooled a number of readers, even though the website includes multiple indicators that its content is satirical in nature. For one, the “About” section on the web site’s Facebook page notes that its articles contain “alternative facts” that may not be “true” or “accurate”

FACT & FICTION

What's True

Japanese honeybees form "hot defensive bee balls" that can cook an Asian giant hornet to death. 

What's False

This defensive mechanism has not been observed in all species of honeybees.

The Daily Mail tends to publish stories utilizing sensationalized headlines with emotionally loaded wording. When it comes to sourcing information they use minimal hyperlinked sourcing as well as sourcing to themselves. In general, most stories favor the right, however, the Daily Mail will report either side if the story is sensational enough.

Overall, The Daily Mail can be biased and questionable due to numerous failed fact checks and poor sourcing of information.  It should be fact checked on a per article basis.

FACT

 

It’s true that Starbucks is investing $130 million to open a coffee bean roasting plant in China, per a company announcement dated March 12, 2020. This will be an expansion of Starbucks’ already-existing presence in China, where the chain has been doing business since 1999. Starbucks already has 4,200 stores in 177 cities in mainland China, with a total of 57,000 employees.

So, while the expansion will indeed create more jobs in China, it’s not as if the company is shipping American jobs overseas. Instead, the new roasting facility is geared toward making beans for coffee drinkers purchasing the beverage locally in Asia.

FICTION

 

In January 2019, we encountered yet another Disney rumor:

 

This time, the internet asked, is the Goofy cartoon character actually a cow rather than an (anthropomorphic) dog?

Although this dog vs. cow debate wasn’t entirely new in 2019, that time around it was supposedly supported by an “investigative article” published in 2012 by the website Reel Rundown. While that article did contain some factual information regarding the history of the Goofy character, which is likely the reason why some people have accepted it as a truthful account of Goofy’s supposed sordid past, it is peppered with exaggerations, speculation, outright fabrications, and was clearly written with humorous intentions.

Reel Rundown presented their argument as if they were uncovering a vast Disney conspiracy theory aimed at covering up Goofy’s unsavory bovine heritage. In the introductory section, entitled “Goofy Is Not a Dog — The Cover Up,” the author argued that Goofy was actually a foreign-born cow and that Disney was forced to conceal this fact due to the political climate in the 1930s.

The next section, “Goofy’s Heritage Revealed,” was even more outlandish. Reel Rundown imagined Goofy as a living, breathing, physical animal who was born “Dipalwa Dawala” to Egyptian immigrants in Scotland and was “discovered by Disney talent scouts during a livestock sale.” During the “Dark Years” section of the article, the website upped the absurdity and claimed that Goofy’s son died from Mad Cow disease.

For those who took the time to read the article, it should have been obvious that it was a work of humorous fiction. However, it seems that some readers stopped at the headline and were left convinced that Goofy was actually a cow, not a dog.

Although this article was clearly written in jest, some of its curious claims have been spread in support of the “Goofy is a cow” argument. We’ll dispel some of this misinformation to stop malicious propagation of rumors about this beloved Disney dog.

Was Goofy “born” to Egyptian immigrants in Scotland and named “Dipalwa Dawala?”

First off, Goofy wasn’t “born” anywhere: He was created by Disney animators Art Babbitt and Frank Webb in the 1930s. Goofy was introduced as a side character named “Dippy Dawg” in the cartoon short Mickey’s Revue (1932) but underwent some revisions over the next few years. While Goofy has gone by a number of names during his Disney career (including Super Goof, Dippy Dawg, George G. Geef, Goofus D. Dawg, and Goofy Goof), we were unable to find any credible source listing the character as “Dipalwa Dawala.”

In fact, the only search results we could find for this term all point back to this Reel Rundown article. In other words, Goofy has never been named “Dipalw Dawala.”

Does Goofy’s old love interest, Clarabelle the Cow, prove that Goofy is also a cow?

Reel Rundown ended their humorous work of fiction with an “evidence” section claiming that Disney’s history of creating same species couples (Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, etc.) pointed to Goofy’s being a cow since he once had a love interest named Clarabele Cow:

While it’s true that Goofy and Clarabelle Cow were once an item, this is not proof that they were the same species of animal. Clarabelle was the sometimes girlfriend of Horace Horsecollar, who was a horse and not a cow, and the Disney universe includes multiple examples of inter-species couples: Ben Ali Gator, for instance, woos Hyacinth Hippo in Fantasia; Jessica Rabbit (a cartoon human) has a rabbit husband in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog have an ongoing (if one-sided) relationship in the Muppet canon. Outside the Disney universe, Bimbo, a cartoon dog, was the occasional love interest of Betty Boop (a human female), and of course, Tillie Tiger once planted a kiss on Elmer Elephant.

FACT

 

As bird-brained as it might seem, KFC New Zealand did indeed announce on December 1, 2016 that it was giving away a “KFC Scented Candle.” Fans of the fast food chain’s social media accounts entered the draw by suggesting their own merchandising ideas for the Kentucky-based company.

 

The company credited KFC New Zealand’s digital marketing director, Emma Ye, with the concept, with U.S. marketing director Clark Wilson saying the response was “overwhelming”:

We’ve already been approached by people willing to pay over NZ$100 for a KFC Candle. We’ve got no intention to commercially produce the candles, but given their popularity, Enna may have to go into full time production.

Just three candles were given away during the special offer, on December 5, 2016.

FACT

 

The Supreme Court may be trying to cover up the flush, and who can blame it. The official transcript does not include the flush. On the other hand, transcripts do not indicate when someone has coughed, either.

But it’s not in the official audio of the hearing, available on the court’s website. No clunk. No swirl. 

However, those listening in real time were, of course, surprised to hear a toilet flush.  No one has owned up to the unmuted flush.

The Associated Press has borderline Left-Center Biased due to left-leaning editorializing, but it is Least Biased on a whole due to balanced story selection. It is also rated Very-High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing and a clean fact check record.

FICTION

 

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows: “The North Bay Bay is a news satire and parody website. All articles are fictitious. So don’t take them too seriously, be nice to others, and eat your vegetables, ok?”

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