Facts Matter: Florence didn't kill hogs; Henry Winkler did not die, leave money to Trump

Pictures of pig carcasses floating in water recently appeared on social media sites, captioned, "The victims nobody talks about … (Hurricane Florence in North Carolina)."

While the images are real, they are not a result of Hurricane Florence, according to

The photos were taken by photographers for the environmental organization Waterkeepers Alliance after Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999, leaving millions of animals, and an estimated 30,000 hogs, dead, Snopes reported.

Two other images accompanying the post, showing a pig sticking its head above the water, were likely taken during a 2008 flood in Iowa, Snopes said.

Henry Winkler alive - and married

Henry Winkler is alive, contrary to a recent report the actor had died and left half his estate to President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign.

"He is not dead," Winkler spokeswoman Sheri Goldberg told The Associated Press.

According to AP, the story, published on the website Nebraska Daily, falsely claimed Winkler, having never married or had children, wished for his estate to be divided equally between the Trump campaign and the Tanzanian island of Mourdalista, home to more than 60,000 stray dogs and cats.

Winkler is married to Stacey Weitzman and has three children, AP said, and there is no known island named Mourdalista.

The actor doesn't talk about his political views, Goldberg told AP. He has not donated any money to Trump's campaign and is not affiliated with the current administration, she said.

Winkler, 72, won his first Emmy Award on Monday for his role in the comedy series "Barry." He has been nominated for an Emmy six times, the first in 1976 for his portrayal of Arthur Fonzarelli in "Happy Days."

Senator inflates numbers during hearing

A Democratic U.S. senator, speaking during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month, exaggerated the number of women who died from illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade, according to AP.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in the 1950s and '60s "deaths from illegal abortions in this country ran between 200,000 and 1.2 million," citing the Guttmacher Institute, AP said.

A 2003 report by the institute estimated 200,000 to 1.2 million illegal abortions were performed in that time period in the U.S., AP said. Deaths from illegal abortions, however, dropped from nearly 1,700 in 1940 to just under 200 by 1965.

A Supreme Court ruling in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case established a constitutional right to abortion.

'Greatest economy' claim falls short

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said the U.S. is enjoying the greatest economy in the nation's history.

While the economy is doing very well, by a few different standards it falls short of historical numbers, according to The Washington Post.

The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in August and dipped as low as 3.8 percent in May, the Post said. But the unemployment rate was down to 2.5 percent in 1953, was 3.4 percent in the late 1960s and was 3.8 percent in 2000.

The gross domestic product is the broadest measure of the economy, according to the Post. During the campaign, Trump promised an annual growth rate of 4 percent, and the second quarter growth rate this year exceeded it at 4.2 percent. However, that's below the 5.1 percent and 4.9 percent achieved in 2014 and the 4.7 percent during 2011, the Post said.

False report in Mexico leads to killings

Mexican officials last month warned residents not to believe false social media reports about child abductions, according to AP.

At least four people were beaten and burned to death after fake stories circulated claiming children were kidnapped and later found dead with their organs removed, AP said.

Officials said there is no evidence of child abductions and the WhatsApp message was "totally false," AP said.

False reports such as this are not new, AP said. In 1998 two men were beaten and hanged in Mexico when they were suspected of trying to kidnap four girls. There was no evidence that was true. In 2015 two men were killed in the Mexico City of Ajalpan. Rumors spread that children were being kidnapped, but the men were actually conducting a survey about tortilla consumption.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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