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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Bernie Sanders Did NOT Fill In For Factory Worker Unable To Take Time Off To Vote

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 07 Nov 2018 11:01:47 Z)

Did Vermont senator Bernie Sanders fill in for a factory worker who was otherwise unable to take time off to go vote? No, that story originated on a famous satire website as a joke and was later retweeted by Sanders as a funny way to make a political point about polling dates.

The story originated from a photo published by The Onion on November 6, 2018 under the headline "Bernie Sanders Fills In For Factory Worker Unable To Take Time Off To Vote" (archived here).

Screenshot of https://www.theonion.com/bernie-sanders-fills-in-for-factory-worker-unable-to-ta-1819592698

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Bernie Sanders Fills In For Factory Worker Unable To Take Time Off To Vote

America's Finest News Source

Sanders later retweeted a link to the picture and got over 25,000 retweets with it:

Of course the image was altered, it seems to have been based on this stock photo:

Welder at work, glowing sparks view - one person, looking down - Stock Photo | #180091646

Download Welder at work, glowing sparks view #180091646 high-end stock photo. Expensive images and pictures of Welder at work, glowing sparks view are authentic and high-quality, brought to you by professional photographers. one person, looking down

The Onion is one of the oldest and best known satire websites on the internet. Their about page claims:

The Onion is the world's leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events. Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1756, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.

In addition to maintaining a towering standard of excellence to which the rest of the industry aspires, The Onion supports more than 350,000 full- and part-time journalism jobs in its numerous news bureaus and manual labor camps stationed around the world, and members of its editorial board have served with distinction in an advisory capacity for such nations as China, Syria, Somalia, and the former Soviet Union. On top of its journalistic pursuits, The Onion also owns and operates the majority of the world's transoceanic shipping lanes, stands on the nation's leading edge on matters of deforestation and strip mining, and proudly conducts tests on millions of animals daily.

If you somehow find that hard to believe: you are right. Scroll down a bit futher on that page and you'll find this:

What if I want to sue The Onion?
Please do not do that. The First Amendment protects satire as a form of free speech and expression. The Onion uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The Onion is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

Articles from The Onion are frequently mistaken for real news by people on social media that only see the headline, short description and thumbnail image. Being one of the best known satire sites their articles also frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that don't carry a satire disclaimer. Always Google before sharing something that sounds improbable!

We wrote about theonion.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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