Facts Matter: Trump wrong about discrimination against white people
Former President Donald Trump held a rally in Arizona last week where he claimed white people are not afforded the same rights as others when it comes to the vaccine.
"The left is now rationing lifesaving therapeutics based on race, discriminating against and denigrating ... white people to determine who lives and who dies," Trump said. "If you're white, you don't get the vaccine or if you're white, you don't get therapeutics. In New York state, if you're white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical health."
The former president is wrong, according to The Associated Press. Not only do white people have an equal opportunity to get vaccinated, there is no vaccine shortage.
As for white New Yorkers being moved to the back of the line, Trump misinterpreted a health policy.
For limited supplies of oral antiviral treatments, the New York Department of Health, in a Dec. 27 directive, said the medication should go to those most likely to die from the coronavirus.
The policy reads, "Nonwhite race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as long-standing systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19."
No evidence Biden arrested as teen
While giving a Jan. 11 speech in Atlanta on voting rights, President Joe Biden claimed he was arrested during the civil rights movement.
"I did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds," Biden said. "But I walked other grounds. Because I'm so damn old, I was there, as well. You think I'm kidding, man. It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested."
Though he referenced it as "the first time" he was arrested, it's not the first time Biden has made that claim, according to The Washington Post. But there's no evidence it actually happened.
Biden has told the story, at least five times, in which he asked his mother what she thought about him joining Barack Obama's ticket as vice president. His story has a teenage Biden standing with a Black family during protests, after the family moved into a white neighborhood.
Details in each story differ, including his age at the time, where the protest was held and whether he was arrested or was simply brought home by the police.
But there are no police records or newspaper reports to support Biden's claim of being arrested.
In previously debunked claims, Biden said he was arrested while trying to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa and for trying to enter a female dormitory at Ohio University.
Testing didn't cause virus
Facebook recently tagged a post as "false," due to a meme suggesting COVID-19 testing created the pandemic.
"If you stop testing, it all goes away and people just have colds like before," reads the meme, which includes a photo of Glinda the Good Witch from "The Wizard of Oz."
But taking away testing wouldn't eradicate the virus, according to PolitiFact. Testing merely gathers information about the pandemic.
"It's the data that indicates that, not only does the problem exist, but it also tells you about the magnitude of the problem," Vickie Mays, a professor at University of California Los Angeles' Fielding School of Public Health, told PolitiFact.
Mays said vaccinated people with COVID-19 tend to have milder symptoms. "The milder response might look like it's a cold. But those colds are literally not just a cold," she said.
Photo shows Bulgaria, not Mars
A meme making the rounds on social media shows two versions of the same photo of a rock formation and suggests fraud by NASA.
One image of the rocks, labeled "Pobitite Kamani, Bulgaria," appears to be taken during the daytime with a blue sky and white clouds in the background. The other photo, labeled "Original NASA photo of Mars," shows the same rock formation, except it's tinted orange and the sky is black.
"NASA? Scam," reads the type included with the meme.
It does appear to be a scam, but NASA isn't involved, according to USA Today. The photo was not issued by NASA and can't be found on its websites.
"All raw images from Curiosity and Perseverance Mars rover missions can be found (on the organization's website)," a NASA spokesperson told USA Today.
However, the photo from Bulgaria is authentic, showing a natural area on the east side of the country. The other image has been doctored to appear like it had been taken on Mars.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.