Beware of Political Hoaxes

Thursday, July 28, 2016 Written by 
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By: Willie Brown

As convention season comes to a close, you can expect all types of political shenanigans popping up to influence the outcome of the General Election.  One persistent rumor floating around on YouTube is that some disaster is on its way that will keep President Obama in office beyond Inauguration Day.  Supposedly, America will be under martial law and neither Trump nor Clinton will be able to assume office.  The details are very sketchy, and similar stories surfaced during previous elections.  


It is a ploy to keep folks from voting.  Please don’t buy it.


Political hoaxes during election season are usually tied to current events, ongoing scandals, and the perceptions and actions of key politicians and their campaigns. They are designed to appeal to the political base on one side or another, and reinforce existing beliefs and perceptions.


From now until Nov. 2, you can expect to see political drama played out on a daily basis to rouse up the base, and appeal to people’s emotions.  Case in point is the beautiful but fake bloodied Trump supporter.  The fake story was she was beat up by anti-Trump protestors when in fact the whole thing was a lie.  Truth is she is an actress whose image was used to make it appear that Democrats were perpetuating violence.  


Another thing you can bet on is hearing all sorts of phony quotes from candidates.  One of the best ways to fact-check questionable quotes is to type the words in quotation marks in the Google search box.  See what comes up, and whether the quote is actually found in a legitimate publication.


As we get closer to Election Day, we must be on guard for sudden voting “changes.”  Every time there is a major election, certain states try and impose restrictive voter ID laws to make it harder for minorities, younger and older people to vote.  Be sure to check your voting place and check it twice. Make sure you are registered if you have recently moved or changed your name.  You can register online or pick up a registration form at your local library.  


Be sure to bring your photo ID with you when you vote.  If you do not have your ballot by Election Day or did not receive your vote-by-mail ballot, please contact your nearest election office ASAP or go online to  In Inglewood, you can contact the City Clerk’s Office at (320) 412-5280 or visit the office on the 1st Floor of Inglewood City Hall.  


Whatever you do, please don’t sit out this election.  The stakes have never been higher. 


The case of the fake bloodied Trump protestor is a good example. There have been flashes of violence inside and outside Trump rallies, but Trump’s supporters feel their side has been unfairly portrayed as the instigators. The story of a beautiful Trump supporter being bloodied by left-leaning protestors is the perfectly shareable counter narrative.


All the stories below are fake, and there will be more. Here’s a look at the types of US political hoaxes we’ve seen so far. For tips on how to spot an online hoax, see this previous First Draft article.


Check out US Elections: Make your social monitoring great again for tips on campaign coverage


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