What do President Obama and the McDonald’s coffee lady have in common?
They’re both the subjects of outright fabricated stories otherwise known as “urban legends”.
Claim: Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not in the United States. The facts are that Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate has been proven to be legitimate, and that a purported Kenyan birth certificate produced by “birther” Orly Taitz has been proven to be a forgery. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?
Claim: A lady got 6 million dollars when a runaway jury made McDonald’s pay her that amount because she spilled their hot coffee on herself while she was driving. The facts are that she got $160,000 dollars in compensatory damages, she wasn’t driving, the car was parked, the coffee was 40-50 degrees hotter than the temperature at which liquid burns human skin, McDonald’s had received more than 700 complaints from consumers and hospital burn units about their coffee temperature before this incident occurred but refused to turn down the temperature, she received third degree burns to her buttocks, genital and groin areas for which she was hospitalized, and the adjusted punitive damage award was less than $500,000. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?
For a good source to fact-check these and other stories that smack of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”, check out snopes.com.