Facts Matter: President's Christmas Eve visit to children's hospital not staged

  • President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden talk with patients after reading "Olaf's Night Before Christmas" on Dec. 24, 2021, at Children's National Hospital in Washington.

    President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden talk with patients after reading "Olaf's Night Before Christmas" on Dec. 24, 2021, at Children's National Hospital in Washington. Associated Press

Updated 1/1/2022 4:27 PM

President Joe Biden, along with his wife Jill, spent Christmas Eve visiting pediatric patients at the National Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C. However, some social media users seized on a sign in the background to claim the event was staged.

"Reuters showed a photo of the Biden's (sic) visiting a hospital on Christmas Eve ... but it was a MOVIE STUDIO SET!" read a Dec. 26 tweet.


But the visit was real and it happened at a hospital, according to Reuters.

In photos of the event published by Reuters and other news organizations, a sign for Seacrest Studios can be seen in the background. It appears social media users claiming the event was staged didn't understand the link between the studio and pediatric care.

Seacrest Studios is an area located in 11 hospitals across the country, set up by the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, for children to experience media and music. According to the group's website, the centers are "for patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media, that will aid in the healing process for children and their families during their stay."

Seacrest Studios opened at Children's National in 2015 for children to "share their on-air talents and participate in entertaining programs that are broadcast directly to patient rooms," according to the hospital's website.

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AOC off on claim

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's lack of support for President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act has stalled the legislation, and he is hearing about it from his own party.

"The idea that Joe Manchin says that he can't explain this back home to his people is a farce," fellow Democrat and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said during a Dec. 20 interview on MSNBC. "I mean, it's a farce in terms of plain democracy, because I represent more or just as many or more people than Joe Manchin does -- perhaps more."

That doesn't add up, according to PolitiFact. Manchin actually represents more than 2½ times as many people as Ocasio-Cortez does.

The population of the 14th congressional district of New York, represented by Ocasio-Cortez, was 696,664 in the latest Census.

The population of Manchin's state of West Virginia was 1,793,716, according to the Census.


Even if you took into account that two senators represent the state and used half the population, or 896,858 people, Manchin still would have more constituents.

Fauci's sister didn't write omicron book

Screenshots of the e-book "Omicron and the Other COVID-19 Variants" by Dr. Angelique Fauci claim the author is the sister of Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health and Infectious Diseases.

"How did Fauci's sister publish a book on Omicron in the same week Omicron was supposedly 'discovered'?!," a Twitter user asked.

She didn't, according to The Associated Press. Fauci's only sibling is a sister named Denise Scorce.

The 17-page e-book was published on Amazon Nov. 26, the day the World Health Organization named omicron a variant of concern, and was later removed from the site. Self-published books can be posted on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing in minutes. An Amazon spokesperson told the AP the book by Angelique Fauci was removed for violating content guidelines.

The book's synopsis "contained multiple punctuation, capitalization and word choice errors," the AP said.

No need to stock up on Flamin' Hot Cheetos

A widely-circulated social media post, shared more than 11,000 times in one week, claims the Frito-Lay company will no longer be producing its Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

"There will be NO more Hot Cheetos made in 2022 ... until further notice. More than likely they'll be DISCONTINUED FOREVER," reads a Dec. 13 Facebook post.

But the snack isn't going anywhere, according to USA Today. A Frito-Lay spokesperson told USA Today that there are no plans to discontinue the brand next year.

The false story likely originated from an article published in the U.S. edition of the British paper The Sun, which claimed, based on anecdotes from social media, there was a shortage of Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

• 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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