Facts Matter: Crash photo misrepresented in message about texting and driving

  • A screenshot shows a Twitter meme making the rounds that cautions against texting while driving. But there's no indication the driver in the accompanying photo was doing so, according to Snopes.com.

    A screenshot shows a Twitter meme making the rounds that cautions against texting while driving. But there's no indication the driver in the accompanying photo was doing so, according to Snopes.com.

 
 
Updated 6/9/2018 3:53 PM

A photo of a horrific car crash that accompanies a warning against texting while driving has been making the rounds on social media and often includes a claim the driver was found dead with a cellphone in her hand.

Although the photo is genuine, there is no evidence the crash was caused by a distracted driver, according to Snopes.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The image of a car impaled by a guard rail sometimes includes a caption claiming part of the driver's body was found in the trunk. This seems to be false, Snopes said, as the driver's seat appears to be intact.

The photo was originally posted by a medical flight crew in 2010 and included tags like "air evac" and "life flight" that hint the driver was alive when emergency crews arrived. The posting didn't include any information about the crash or the cause, Snopes said.

In 2012 an EMS flight crew used the photo as a warning against distracted driving. It carried the headline, "Don't text and drive," which had been one of the suggestions when it was part of a Facebook contest in which users were encouraged to give the picture a headline.

NBA rigged claim false

A recent Facebook post includes a quote from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suggesting the NBA is rigged and there should be an investigation of referees taking bribes.

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This is fake meme, according to Snopes.com, and users should notice the small type at the top that attributes the image to @Grindtime, an Instagram page specializing in sports satire.

The post got a lot of attention following a controversial call in Game 1 of the NBA finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The false quote claims calls "coincidently" go to the Warriors in crucial games.

Praying, not protesting

A scheduled visit to the White House by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles was canceled by the president, who said in a statement that players disagreed with him "because he insists that they proudly stand for the national anthem."

While reporting the story, Fox News aired a photo of Eagles players on one knee.

But the players in the picture were kneeling during a pregame prayer, not in protest during "The Star Spangled Banner," according to The Washington Post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eagles player Zach Ertz took exception to the broadcast, replying on Twitter, "This can't be serious. Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad." Fox News apologized, according to a statement executive producer Christopher Wallace sent to the Post.

No Eagles players took a knee in protest during the anthem throughout the regular season or during the playoffs, the Post reported.

False Facebook account

Facebook posts that seemed to suggest violence against police caught the attention of authorities. In one, a photo showed a person holding a gun in a car behind a state trooper, according to The Associated Press. Another showed a similar pose outside the Laurel County Sheriff's office in Kentucky.

Police say their investigation shows the posts came from a Facebook account that was fake and that the real person behind the posts was Kyle D. Childress, 28, of Barbourville, Kentucky. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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