Facts Matter: Trudeau didn't offer meeting with protesters
With thousands of truckers blocking border crossings in Canada, staging a weekslong demonstration against COVID-19 mandates, police have been trying to clear out the protesters.
As support for the "Freedom Convoy" was increasing in areas such as Ottawa, a letter circulating on social media claims Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to negotiate with the group.
The letter, supposedly signed by Trudeau and his chief of staff, Katie Telford, includes an offer to meet with the protesters for an amount of time determined by when the truckers received the COVID-19 vaccination.
But this letter didn't come from the prime minister, according to CNN. Trudeau spokesperson Cameron Ahmad told CNN the letter is fake.
The letter displays the "Office of the Prime Minister" letterhead at the top, although above that it reads, "Ottawa Convoy Protesters."
The offer for a meeting includes guidelines for the length of the encounter: Five minutes for each trucker in the Ottawa convoy who received the vaccine after Feb. 8 and two minutes for each trucker who was vaccinated before that date. Additionally, one minute for other members of the protest group with proof they were vaccinated before Feb. 8.
The letter's "obvious signs of phoniness" include grammatical errors, bad formatting and bizarre content, CNN said.
Gunmakers can be sued
President Joe Biden, during a speech at a Gun Violence Prevention Task Force meeting earlier this month, claimed gunmakers have immunity against the law.
Gun manufacturers are "the only industry in America that is exempted from being sued by the public. The only one," Biden said.
Although gunmakers have legal protections against many lawsuits, they can be sued, according to The Associated Press. And they aren't the only industry with legal protections.
In 2005 Congress, thinking liability could put the gun industry out of business, passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, giving manufacturers legal protections, University of California, Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler told the AP.
But there are exceptions in which gunmakers and dealers can be held liable, including defects in the weapon, negligence and breach of contract regarding a gun sale.
As far as the gun industry being "the only one," as Biden claimed, there also are laws protecting vaccine manufacturers from most lawsuits. And like gunmakers, there are exceptions to those law.
Boosters don't hurt immune system
Although more than half the world's population has received the coronavirus vaccine, only 15% of that group and 27% of Americans have gotten a booster shot.
Some social media posts back up those statistics.
"PLEASE, Do not get the boosters! It is destroying your immune system!" reads a recent Facebook post.
But this claim is false, according to USA Today. Booster shots increase immunity.
"The booster vaccinations do not have a negative impact on the immune system. In fact, they increase protection against omicron," Florian Krammer, immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, told USA Today.
The two-dose COVID-19 vaccines produce antibody responses, but the effectiveness diminishes over time. That's the reason for the booster.
"Three-dose vaccines are not uncommon in routine adult vaccination against other pathogens," Yale University professor of immunobiology Akiko Iwasaki told USA Today.
Planned Parenthood, Girl Scouts not linked
A recent social media post links the Girl Scout organization to Planned Parenthood and abortion and includes an image of a cookie in which the Girl Scout logo has been replaced with the Planned Parenthood logo.
"Our family will not be buying Girl Scout Cookies this year. Until the Girl Scouts stop supporting Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians, this pro-life family won't be buying their cookies," the post reads.
Some commenters on the post claim they stopped buying Girl Scout Cookies years ago because of the Planned Parenthood connection.
But there is no connection, according to PolitiFact. The Girl Scouts organization has no relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood and they have not endorsed any politicians or organization.
The claim resulted from two incidents a decade apart, PolitiFact said. In 2004, a Texas Girl Scout council put its name and logo on a Planned Parenthood brochure that advertised sex-education programs. In 2014, the national organization, on its website's list of women who made a difference, featured Texas Sen. Wendy Davis and then-Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius, of whom both support abortion rights.
A Texas scout group said the sharing of news articles about those women was not an endorsement but rather to highlight what they had done the year before.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.