Facts Matter: Ukraine video following attack not staged
Russian officials denied responsibility for a recent attack on Ukraine, claiming a video of the aftermath is staged and dead bodies shown in the clip really are actors.
The video is filmed from a car driving through a street with dead bodies and debris scattered on both sides of the road.
The Russian Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared a social media post claiming the video contained actors "deliberately laid out to create a more dramatic picture."
"The video of the bodies is confusing," the Russian defense ministry wrote. "Here at the 12th second the 'corpse' on the right is moving his arm. At 30th second in the rear view mirror the 'corpse' sits down."
The video, however, is real but the Russian claims are false, according to PolitiFact. The bodies of those killed in the attack didn't move.
At one point in the clip, a raindrop or speck of dirt moves across the windshield at the moment the car passes a body, making it appear as if an arm moved. And a different body seen in the rearview mirror seems to move, but it's actually an illusion due to distortion in the glass.
"(I) can see no evidence whatsoever that the corpse either moved its arm or sat up," University of Arizona professor emeritus Charles M. Falco told PolitiFact.
"What I do see is the effect on the reflected image of the stationary corpse caused by the distortion of the moving convex mirror."
Firefighter wearing donated jacket
In a different video of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some social media users claim the clip also shows a fictional scene.
The video, taken from a CNN news report, shows firefighters working at an oil facility in the outskirts of Lviv, Ukraine, following a bomb strike in the area. During the report, firefighters are seen in the background, and one is wearing a jacket that reads "Edmonton."
Various Twitter posts claimed the jacket is proof the war scene was staged or filmed somewhere else. One user wrote, "CNN caught faking the news ... again."
But the scene is real, according to The Associated Press. A firefighter in Edmonton gear doesn't prove the video was filmed in Canada.
The jacket was part of a donation of equipment from Edmonton firefighters through the group Firefighter Aid Ukraine.
"Without a doubt, that equipment did come from us," Edmonton firefighter and founder of the aid group Kevin Royle told The Associated Press. "That was not a firefighter from Edmonton. I can guarantee you that wasn't an event or an incident in our city, as many people are claiming."
The letters are supposed to be removed before the gear is donated, Royle said, but with the recent volume of donations, some pieces slip through the cracks.
"It's impossible for us to put hands on every single item that comes to us," he said.
Tweet about Musk is satire
Elon Musk recently became the largest shareholder of Twitter, causing the company's stock to rise more than 27%. But that appeared to rile up one social media user.
"My name is Jackson Mulholland & I'm one of many ppl here working at @Twitter in charge of developing terms & conditions for users ... I refuse to work with or for @elonmusk. I'm resigning (rainbow flag emoji)," @MulhollandL0ver wrote.
But that tweet isn't real, according to Reuters. A Twitter spokesperson told Reuters, "(@MulhollandL0ver) is not a current or former Twitter employee."
The user @MulhollandL0ver's profile says "Mostly satire." The same user has posted previous tweets claiming they were working as a production coordinator at the Oscars, a sports writer from Philadelphia and a restaurant owner.
Obama didn't start new birther hoax
A screenshot of a tweet that appears to come from former President Barack Obama has been circulating on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
"I think most Americans would agree that I'm a level-headed individual, not a man who's prone to indulging in conspiracy theories," the March 16 tweet reads. "I've certainly had a fair number directed at me. But has anyone checked to make sure Donald Trump doesn't have a Russian birth certificate?"
The tweet, which includes a profile photo of Obama, seems to be retaliation for Trump's false claim that Obama was born in Kenya.
But the tweet is fake, according to PolitiFact. A Reddit user, who creates satirical posts, told Reuters she made up the false Obama tweet.
This tweet doesn't appear on Obama's official Twitter page and it can't be found on any databases of deleted tweets, PolitiFact said.
Obama's actual March 16 tweets included articles he recommended reading and his picks for the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.