What happens when stereotypes and catchy headlines intersect? Stories that get recycled over and over again, even if they’re completely false.
Our inbox, messages and personal Facebook streams got flooded today with people sharing a story that’s not only more than a year old of a woman who “just had” their 14th child with a 14th father.
It’s from a site called WorldNewsDailyReport.com. No, we’re not linking to it. But here’s a false quote from the false story:
“I’m extremely proud to have broken a World Record,” Ms. Sullivan told reporters. “My mother always told me that I was lazy and worthless, and that I would never accomplish anything in my life. Now, I’ve shown everyone that she was wrong, and that I can even be the best in the world when I put my mind to something. In fact, I’ve just accomplished something that no one had done before!”
It goes on to stoke the flames with:
The Detroit native is already the beneficiary of pensions paid by 11 different men, and is implicated in two other custody cases, which should proceed before the family court over the next two months.
This one has been debunked in the past by multiple places and since it seems to be topical again among people after first surfacing in early 2016, let’s debunk it again.
Fake news takes on a variety of forms, and this one is a tall tale that won’t go away.
- The family in the photo is actually not from Detroit. They are from Connecticut.
- The child pictured is not her fourteenth, but was her first.
- Her name is not Anna Sullivan. It’s Karena Bennett.
- She wasn’t 36 at the time, but 21.
Sadly, there are fresh comments calling the as we’ve explained fictitious woman a “whore” on the site because people still haven’t gotten the message.
Here’s the original actual news story about what should be a happy thing – the first baby of the New Year at their local hospital.
An example of how lies spread farther than truth in this case is the social shares. The US World News Daily whatever the heck (not the only or most popular version of the story, mind you, but is what is flying around right now) has 225,522 social interactions according to CrowdTangle. The Snopes debunk? 4,783. The original Milford Mirror Story? 1,576.
Like Mark Twain didn’t say in 1919 as he was already dead when it was attributed to him, “‘A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” That version of the quote was actually by C.H. Spurgeon in 1855, and there were many versions of the quote before that.