Facts Matter: Images purporting to refute global warming don't hold water
Side-by-side images of the Statue of Liberty are being shared on social media along with a claim the sea level hasn't risen in 100 years.
"This is what catastrophic sea-level rise actually looks like," reads the caption on a post, showing a black-and-white photo dated 1920 and a color photo dated 2020, in which the water level appears to be the same.
Another post of the photos reads, "The big lie of 'global warming.'"
But this comparison doesn't work, according to Reuters. It's impossible to show a trend with two photos taken at random times.
"The typical range of water levels in New York harbor through the year is about 2 meters, so one can compare a picture from high tide in 1920 to one at low tide in 2020 and it can be very misleading," Stevens Institute of Technology associate professor Dr. Philip Orton told Reuters. "Sea level rise is computed using monthly or annual averages to avoid this confusion."
Studies have shown sea levels are rising.
"The (relative) sea level rise in NYC (Battery tide gauge) is about 1.1 inches in every decade, or about a foot in a century," Columbia Climate School research scientist Dr. Klaus Hans Jacob told Reuters.
Fauci didn't conduct study on monkeys
Recent social media posts have connected Dr. Anthony Fauci to a 2019 study on the brains of monkeys.
"Reading through Fauci's experiments and the one I find most alarming is the use of an acid to destroy a region of monkeys' brains to magnify terror," read a post on Twitter.
But Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., had nothing to do with that study, according to The Associated Press.
"Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is not involved and has never been involved in this study. Additionally, the study was not funded by NIAID," an NIAID spokesperson told the AP.
The study, criticized by animal advocates, was conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, which is separate from Fauci's work.
A statement from the NIMH defended the study.
"(The research) serves as a critical link between rodent and human studies -- a necessary informational step for further work on developing treatments for human use," the statement said.
Photo is real, claim is false
Some social media users falsely claim a news photo taken on Jan. 6 had been doctored by "the media" to make the attack on the U.S. Capitol look worse than it was.
"Quick study in visual media narrative manipulation," reads a Twitter post that shows a photo of a dark Capitol, behind a bright light and smoke, next to a bright image of the Capitol with the American flag in the foreground.
"The image on the left is the one the media always uses for Jan. 6, doctored to look as if the Capitol was on fire," the Twitter post said.
But this claim is false, according to PolitiFact. The photo is real.
Positioned two stories high on scaffolding, Reuters photographer Leah Millis snapped the image at the Capitol just as a flash grenade went off and plumes of deployed tear gas were rising.
"No doctoring, just an example of what photography does: freezes time, Millis tweeted in response to the false claim. "This photo happened to catch the split second a flash bang lit up the crowd. It looks darker because it was taken at 5:04 p.m. On that day in January, the sun set at 5:01 p.m. The smoke is likely tear gas."
Video from a live broadcast on MSNBC shows the flash grenade exploding at the top of the Capitol steps as the time, 5:04 p.m., is displayed in the corner of the screen.
The daylight photo in the false claim appears to be a screen grab from footage by videographer Lokman Vural Elibol that was taken at 3:05 p.m., PolitiFact said.
Biden overstates vote trend
Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor race last week. In remarks about his party's loss, President Joe Biden said McAuliffe didn't stand a chance.
"No governor in Virginia has ever won when he's of the same, or he or she's the same party, as the sitting president," the president said.
But Biden's take on the state's history is wrong, according to The Associated Press. Although the office has mostly gone to the opposition party of the president, there have been exceptions.
Most recently, McAuliffe was elected governor in 2013 while Democrat Barack Obama was in office. And 44 years before that, Republican Gov. A. Linwood Holton, Jr. was elected while GOP President Richard Nixon was in the White House.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at email@example.com.