Facts Matter: No truth to claim Smollett was offered job at CNN

  • Did CNN offer "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett a job? Nope, says Snopes.

    Did CNN offer "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett a job? Nope, says Snopes. Associated Press

Updated 2/23/2019 7:09 PM

A recent story that actor Jussie Smollett was offered a job as an investigative reporter for CNN is false, according to Snopes.com. The article was published by satirical website the Babylon Bee.

Chicago police on Wednesday charged Smollett with making a false police report after he claimed he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack Jan. 29 in his downtown Streeterville neighborhood, according to The Associated Press. Charged with felony disorderly conduct, Smollett could face up to three years in prison and be required to pay for the cost of the investigation.


According to the fake story, CNN offered the "Empire" star a job "after witnessing his skills at fabricating a story entirely out of thin air."

The Babylon Bee story has a CNN representative saying, "Smollett has exactly the kind of skills we look for at our fine organization."

Some readers mistook the article for a genuine story even though the website's disclaimer reads, "The Babylon Bee is Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire," Snopes said.

Pence didn't say people need 'Jesus care'

A quote that recently resurfaced online falsely claims Vice President Mike Pence said, "What the American people need is not more health care. What we need is more Jesus care," according to PolitiFact.com.

Pence's press secretary Alyssa Farah told PolitiFact, "The quote is fake and wasn't said by Vice President Pence."

The quote first appeared in May 2017 after the U.S. House passed a measure to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act, PolitiFact said. It showed up again earlier this month and was shared nearly 200 times in less than 24 hours.

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The quote goes on to say, "I believe if we can just get more of the people with pre-existing health conditions back into churches, you would see a lot of healing and many of these problems would go away. People who lead godly lives don't worry about doctors. We have The Lord to take care of us."

The image includes a photo of Pence and a symbol made to look like a Fox News logo, PolitiFact said.

Ocasio-Cortez not paid by Netflix

Netflix recently paid a reported $10 million for the worldwide rights to "Knock Down the House," a documentary about four candidates who ran against incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections.

But a claim circulating online that New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a subject of the film, was paid $10 million by Netflix is false, according to The Associated Press.

"None of (the film's) subjects received or will receive any payment for participating in this project," director Rachel Lears told AP. Only producers, financiers and filmmakers received payment from the sale to Netflix, Lears said.


The documentary, which recounts the campaigns of Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush of Missouri, Amy Vilela of Nevada and Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia, won the Festival Favorite Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, AP said.

Fake quote attributed to former Starbucks CEO

A Facebook post claimed former Starbucks CEO and possible presidential candidate Howard Schultz said he would prefer to hire undocumented immigrants over veterans.

Not only is there not evidence Schultz said this, according to PolitiFact.com, but an internal group at the company, the Starbucks Armed Forces Network, provides jobs and support to current and former military employees.

In March 2017, the internal group announced it reached its goal of hiring 10,000 veterans and active-duty spouses and set a new goal of 25,000 by 2025, PolitiFact said. The group said Schultz helped lead the initiative, contributed personal finances and visited military bases.

Starbucks made a pledge in 2017 to employ 10,000 refugees following President Donald Trump's travel ban against Muslim-majority countries, PolitiFact said, which resulted in people calling for boycotts of the coffeehouse chain and a call to hire veterans. The company's pledge to hire 10,000 veterans began in 2013.

The post with the false quote was flagged by Facebook's efforts to combat false news and misinformation, according to PolitiFact.

• 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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