NO REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely fake stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they have been widely shared on social media. The Associated Press verified them. Here are the facts:

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CLAIM: A federal court order in the legal dispute over government documents held by former President Donald Trump shows President Joe Biden ordered the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida home.

THE FACTS: While Monday’s court order from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon includes the phrase “as requested by the outgoing president,” it is unrelated to last month’s search at Mar-a-Lago . The phrase comes from a May letter from the National Archives denying Trump’s request to delay turning over documents to the FBI. Cannon granted Trump the request for a special master to review documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago on August 8. Its 24-page order notes that the National Archives and Records Administration informed Trump on May 10 that it would proceed to “provide the FBI with access to the records in question, as requested by the incumbent president, beginning Thursday, May 12, 2022. Conservative media and social media users were quick to seize on this phrasing as evidence that Biden knew of FBI plans to raid Trump’s Palm Beach resort, and in fact ordered it – which he and his administration strongly denied.” ‘As requested by the incumbent President,'” Rasmussen tweeted Reports. “Joe Biden initiated the Mar-a-Lago raid, then repeatedly lied to Americans about it. subject. Let that sink in. But the sentence in question is only a partial quote from the May 10 letter from the National Archives to Trump’s attorney. In it, Debra Steidel Wall, acting head of the National Archives, rejects Trump’s request to delay turning over some 15 boxes of documents to the FBI and outlines the timeline for his agency’s long quest to collect government documents held by the former president. Wall notes that the 15 boxes provided by Trump in January 2022 included “classified national security information.” This prompted her agency to notify the US Department of Justice, which then requested and was granted access to White House documents on April 11, she said. Under the Presidential Archives Act, any request for presidential archives held by the National Archives must be approved by the current president, not those in charge of the archives. “Accordingly, NARA will provide the FBI with access to the records in question, as requested by the outgoing President, beginning Thursday, May 12, 2022,” Wall’s letter concludes. The Biden administration declined to comment on the filing on Tuesday, but pointed to its earlier statements on the May letter. Spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre argued that the missive illustrates how far removed the White House has been from the Justice Department investigation. “It shows that the DOJ made a request for access to an older set of documents independently and the White House confirmed it, which is standard,” she said during a briefing. release on August 29. “And when former President Trump tried to assert executive privilege to prevent the FBI from evaluating the document, President Biden deferred to the National Archives and the DOJ Legal Counsel’s Office on the question.”

— Associated Press writer Philip Marcelo in New York contributed to this report.

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CLAIM: The National Institutes of Health recently added ivermectin to a list of COVID-19 treatments.

THE FACTS: The NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines website states that the agency advises against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 except in clinical trials. The page outlining antiviral drug data has included an entry for ivermectin since at least June 2021. Social media users have been sharing the false claim in recent days that the NIH just added ivermectin to the website, many suggesting that the agency was now approving the anti-parasitic drug to be used against the virus. “Yesterday the National Institute of Health added ivermectin to the list of covid treatments,” reads Twitter with more than 44,000 likes. “Looks like the conspiracy theorist was right and the ‘experts’ were wrong once again.” Many tweets point to an NIH webpage on the agency’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines that provides information on antiviral therapies that are being evaluated, or have been evaluated, as possible treatments for COVID-19. . However, the page does not say that the NIH recommends using ivermectin to treat COVID. Clicking on the entry for ivermectin takes you to a page that says, “The scientific panel advises against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in clinical trials.” The entry for ivermectin is also not new. Caches stored by the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine show that data from ivermectin studies was listed on the antiviral therapies page as early as June 2021. The ivermectin-specific page at the time stated: “There is no there is not enough data for the COVID-19 treatment guidelines panel. (the committee) to recommend for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. The page was updated on April 29, 2022 to add current wording recommending against treating COVID with ivermectin. Dr. H. Clifford Lane, clinical director at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed to the AP that the panel overseeing COVID-19 treatment guidelines does not recommend ivermectin as a COVID treatment. -19, except in clinical trials. “The body of evidence suggests it doesn’t work,” Lane wrote in an email to the AP. “There are other drugs that have strong evidence of efficacy. The concerns are not about safety but lack of efficacy. Lane is also one of three co-chairs of a committee that oversees these guidelines. The ivermectin is not cleared or approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use against COVID-19, and most experts and health agencies recommend against prescribing the antiparasitic drug for this purpose. Significant misinformation about ivermectin has spread throughout the pandemic.

– Associated Press writer Karena Phan in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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CLAIM: The sun does not cause cancer and people should stop wearing sunscreen because it is toxic.

THE FACTS: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a major risk factor in the development of skin cancer, and although some researchers are concerned that certain chemicals in sunscreens may be harmful, its benefits outweigh the risks. potential, according to experts and federal health authorities. A popular post circulating on Instagram this week featured a photo of a person lying in the sand covered with the text “the sun doesn’t cause cancer”. A caption on the post, which received more than 18,000 likes, implored people to “PLEASE STOP WEARING TOXIC SUNSCREEN!” But cancer experts largely agree that solar radiation plays a role in the development of skin cancer. “Most cases of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on their website. . The National Cancer Institute, part of the US National Institutes of Health, also advises that “exposure to UV rays causes early skin aging and damage that can lead to skin cancer.” Dr. Philip Friedlander, a medical oncologist specializing in skin cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told the AP that the sun is a clear risk factor in the development of skin cancer because UV rays can create mutations in skin cells. “The sun is a trigger to mechanically damage skin cells of various types that lead to different types of skin cancer,” he said. Health authorities such as the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration include sunscreen among their recommendations for protecting skin from the sun, despite claims that sunscreen is toxic. Some researchers have expressed concern about certain chemicals in sunscreens. In May 2021, an independent research lab called Valisure announced that it had found traces of benzene, a chemical that can cause cancer with repeated exposure at high levels, in 78 sunscreens and sun-related products. But benzene is not listed as an acceptable active ingredient in sunscreens by the FDA, which regulates sunscreens in the United States. The FDA acknowledged Valisure’s findings and said it was conducting its own review to assess the data. Valisure’s findings led to voluntary recalls later in 2021 by Coppertone and Johnson & Johnson, whose products were among those tested. Edgewell Personal Care voluntarily recalled three lots of one of its sunscreen products in July 2022 following an internal review that found traces of benzene in those lots. A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that repeated sunscreen use caused the products’ active ingredients to be absorbed into participants’ bloodstreams. He noted, however, that his findings did not mean people should stop using sunscreen and recommended further studies to determine the clinical significance of the findings. However, several studies have shown that sunscreen reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. A 2020 review of the effectiveness and safety of sunscreens published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that high-quality evidence has shown that sunscreens reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. He further advises that although “low-quality evidence has shown that some chemical ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed systemically,” doctors should recommend the use of sunscreen. According to Friedlander, the protection afforded by sunscreen dwarfs any possible harm. “We know that limiting sun exposure using sunscreen decreases the risk of skin cancer in people who already have skin cancer,” he said. “All the benefits outweigh the potential and theoretical risks of sunscreen.”

— Associated Press writer Melissa Goldin in New York contributed to this report.

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