Facts matter: Dr. Seuss books were not banned by Biden

  • President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing six titles by the famed children's book writer.

    President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing six titles by the famed children's book writer. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/13/2021 5:17 PM

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, on March 2, announced it would no longer be publishing six titles by Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, because the books have been criticized for depictions of Black and Asian people.

On the advice of a panel of experts and educators, the group discontinued "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," "If I Ran the Zoo," "McElligot's Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!," "Scrambled Eggs Super!" and "The Cat's Quizzer." More than 30 other Seuss titles continue to be sold.

 

But that fact was twisted up into misinformation on social media, according to PolitiFact.com.

"Trump took down ISIS, Biden took down Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head," read one Facebook post.

Another false post claimed, "Schools banning Dr. Seuss books but teaching our children that this is normal," while including a photo of Rachel Levine, a transgender woman President Joe Biden nominated to be assistant secretary of health.

Biden had nothing to do with the choice to discontinue publishing the six Seuss books. That was an internal company decision about products made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Hasbro. That decision was announced on Read Across America Day, which was also Geisel's birthday. The children's author died in 1991. Read Across America Day was established by the National Education Association. In 2017 the group began focusing on more diverse books.

"Kids need books that are as diverse and complex as the society in which we live," an NEA spokesperson told PolitiFact.

Not an ankle monitor

Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. - Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions
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Oprah Winfrey's interview last week with British royal family members Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was watched by more than 17 million viewers.

Some social media users supposedly saw more than other viewers.

"Why does Oprah have an ankle tag?" asked one post featuring a zoomed-in photo of a bump under Winfrey's leather boot.

She wasn't wearing an ankle monitor, according to Snopes.com.

The bump that some internet users claimed was a device worn by those on house arrest was simply a crease in Winfrey's long, brown leather boot that appeared when her legs were crossed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The false posts are part of QAnon conspiracy theories that target Democrats and A-list celebrities, Snopes said.

Pence wrong in op-ed

Former Vice President Mike Pence recently penned an op-ed published by the Daily Signal claiming H.R. 1, the voting bill introduced by Democrats, would allow people illegally in the U.S. to vote in national elections.

The bill would allow "automatic voter registration for any individual listed in state and federal government databases, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and welfare offices, ensuring duplicate registrations and that millions of illegal immigrants are quickly registered to vote," he wrote.

But Pence is using "flawed logic," according to PolitiFact.com. The goal of H.R. 1 is to register eligible citizens to vote.

Voters must attest to their eligibility and citizenship when they register, and falsifying this information could result in fines, incarceration or deportation.

"This is the law in the United States and in every state, and H.R. 1 does nothing to alter that," David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, told PolitiFact.

The bill states that government agencies would only share voter-registration information of eligible citizens. If the agency doesn't know the citizenship status of an individual, that person would have to attest to citizenship on a registration form, as required by the National Voter Registration Act.

H.R. 1 passed the House of Representatives on March 3 and will now go to the Senate.

COVID-19 video is fake

A video that recently appeared on TikTok claims the swabs used to test people for COVID-19 contain Morgellons disease fibers that are transferred to the patient's brain.

"This video is a fake," Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, fellow and spokesman for the Infection Diseases Society of America, told The Associated Press.

In the TikTok post, a video on a computer screen purportedly shows a nurse taking apart a swab used for a COVID-19 test and finding nanoparticles and Morgellons disease fibers moving on their own.

The fibers appear to be moving because the video is shaking the entire time, the AP said. Nanoparticles are microscopic and can't be seen with the naked eye.

"Nothing makes any scientific sense about what they are suggesting," Dr. Steven R. Feldman, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, told the AP.

• 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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