Facts Matter: Rival animals not at watering hole; the true Trump golf figures

 
 
Updated 8/4/2018 4:19 PM
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  • A widely shared image of a lion and a zebra side by side at a watering hole is peaceful and pretty, but fake.

    A widely shared image of a lion and a zebra side by side at a watering hole is peaceful and pretty, but fake.

  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive last month on Air Force One in Morristown, New Jersey, en route to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive last month on Air Force One in Morristown, New Jersey, en route to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Associated Press

An image of a lion and a zebra, side by side, peacefully taking a drink at a watering hole is making the rounds on social media, captioned, "Unbelievable but true."

The photo is indeed unbelievable, and it's not true, according to Snopes.com.

The image was digitally created for a 2010 commercial for Traveler's Insurance Co. In addition to the lion and zebra, the advertisement includes an ostrich running with a cheetah, hyenas laughing at a baboon doing flips, and a monkey riding on the back of an alligator as the narrator says, "Take the scary out of life."

The photo has been posted with other captions, such as, "It's not eating time," "National Geographic: Behind the Scenes" and "Alex and Marty," in reference to the lion and zebra friendship in the movie "Madagascar," Snopes said.

Lions and zebras don't live in harmony. Images of the animals together usually involve stalking, hunting, chasing, fighting and eating, Snopes said. And a 2013 study found lions frequently hunt near watering holes.

Fake photo called 'lighthearted fun'

A Pennsylvania Republican group is not apologizing for a recent post on its Facebook page containing an altered photo of a political rival.

"It was just done in jest," Young Republicans of Allegheny County Chairwoman Anissa Coury said, according to KDKA /CBS Pittsburgh.

The image is of Democrat and former city councilman Dan Gilman, currently serving as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff.

In April, Gilman tweeted a photo of himself holding a sign that read "I believe survivors" in support of the organization Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.

When the image reappeared on the Young Republicans' social media page, the message on Gilman's sign read, "#Walkaway," referring to Democrats who have left the Democratic Party, KDKA said.

Coury told KDKA the post was "meant to be lighthearted fun."

"Nice to see people spreading photoshopped crap," Gilman responded on Twitter last month. The mayor then piled on, tweeting, "Let's get back to debating issues, not photoshopping lies."

The Young Republicans responded by posting another altered photo, this time showing Peduto with a preference for bottled water, in a city with water issues, KDKA said.

No free Chipotle gift cards on holiday

People celebrate National Avocado Day in their own ways.

However, recent social media reports that Chipotle Mexican Grill was celebrating the July 31 holiday by giving away $100 gift cards were false, according to The Associated Press.

"It's a scam that the company is aware of and working to address," Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's chief communications officer, told AP.

The online offer had interested users follow a link to a page titled, "National Avocado Day Get a $100 Chipotle Card," AP said. Users were then asked to have four friends click on their link to "get your card quickly." The page even included a fake Facebook comments section.

Chipotle did celebrate the holiday Tuesday by offering free guacamole for online and mobile app orders.

President's golf numbers don't add up

A veterans group claimed on Twitter that President Donald Trump has spent 123 days, one-fifth of his term, golfing, at a cost to the taxpayer of more than $72 million.

Not exactly, says The Washington Post, which puts the number of days when Trump "has likely golfed" at 110.

VoteVets spokesman Doug Gordon told the Post the information was from website TrumpGolfCount.com, which has the number of days Trump is confirmed to have golfed at 59.

The $72,181,957 price tag for taxpayers cited by VoteVets was based on estimating the cost of Air Force One flights to the golf-club locations at $518,000 an hour. The Post cites an Air Force estimate that flying Air Force One costs $142,380 an hour, or about $600,000 for a flight between Washington and Trump's Florida Mar-a-Lago.

TrumpGolfCount.com agreed its estimate probably is too high but said the Air Force estimate is too low and doesn't include the cost of support aircraft or of guarding the coast off Mar-a-Lago while Trump is there.

The Post warned against "false precision," when costs are expressed down to the last dollar and make rough estimates appear more believable.

The VoteVets post was retweeted or liked more than 50,000 times.

• 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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