Facts Matter: Coin shortage due to COVID-19, not conspiracy

  • Unmarked 5-cent coins sit in a pile after being cut from a coil June 27, 2012, at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Production slowed in April and May because social distancing reduced staffing, but the mint went into full production last month, a spokesman said.

    Unmarked 5-cent coins sit in a pile after being cut from a coil June 27, 2012, at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Production slowed in April and May because social distancing reduced staffing, but the mint went into full production last month, a spokesman said. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/13/2020 10:05 AM

A recent social media post falsely said a coin shortage in the U.S. was a sign of an impending one-world government.

The false claim included a photo of a sign in a grocery store asking customers to use exact change or noncash payments due to a "national coin shortage," according to PolitiFact.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The shortage "was done intentionally, the mint is no longer releasing coins into circulation aka this is the beginning of the end of paper money," the Facebook post read.

The shortage, the post claimed, is part of a plan to enable a one-world government that will track every private transaction. There was a recent slowdown in coin production, but it was due to the coronavirus pandemic as the lockdown prevented people from spending money in stores and banks were running low on nickels, dimes and quarters, PolitiFact said.

The reduction of workers at the U.S. Mint because of social distancing resulted in a 10% decrease in production in April and a 20% decrease in May, mint spokesperson Todd Martin told PolitiFact.

The organization went to full production last month and nearly 1.6 billion coins were produced in June, he said.

President's Daily Brief isn't a 'mini novel'

The President's Daily Brief has been in the news following reports it warned President Donald Trump about a Russian threat to American troops in Afghanistan.

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Earlier this month, Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends," claimed the information was part of a report that is "like a mini novel, every single day."

Although the format and length of the daily brief can vary from one administration to another, it is "definitely not a mini novel," Matt Olsen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center told PolitiFact. "It's written for somebody who is a busy person."

Olsen, director for three years under President Barack Obama, said the report he worked with was divided into articles and bulleted points that "were very staccato, short-form. I'd say a page, sometimes a page and a half."

The daily report, prepared for each president since it began with President Harry Truman in 1946, is rarely less than one page or longer than 25 pages, David Priess, a former CIA intelligence briefer for presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told PolitiFact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"My understanding is that the current PDB is comprised of very few words and mostly contains graphics to more effectively engage the president," former Obama administration intelligence official Derek Grossman told PolitiFact.

Don Knotts statue untouched

A satirical story about the removal of a statue of actor Don Knotts was shared on social media without saying it was a joke, "leading some to mistakenly believe that West Virginia was attempting to erase its TV history," according to Snopes.com.

Knotts, who died in 2006, was honored with a statue in 2016 in his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, according to MetroNews. The actor, known for playing Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s, is depicted sitting outside the Metropolitan Theatre, where he once performed.

The fake article claiming the statue was removed was published by satirical website Madhouse Magazine after groups protesting racial injustice called for Confederate monuments to be taken down.

• 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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