COLUMBUS, Ohio — A website meant for comical purposes recently posted an article with this headline: "Biden is ordering the VA to withhold health benefits from unvaccinated veterans".
It turns out not only is the article meant to be funny and fake but the entire website itself states "everything on this website is made up".
"Is Biden ordering the VA to withhold health benefits from unvaccinated veterans"
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Gere Jordan, DelawareOhioNews.com
False, the Biden administration is not withholding health benefits from unvaccinated veterans. And the article referencing it and the website it is on are fake, according to the owner of the website, it is meant to be comical.
WHAT WE FOUND:
When you scroll down to the bottom of the website "delawareohionews.com", you see the "about us" section.
It clearly states "everything on this website is made up. Do not rely on anything said here."
When you click on the legal statements, it goes on to say, "All stories herein are parodies (satire, fiction, fake, not real) of people and/or actual events. All names are made up (unless used in a parody of public figures) and any similarity is purely coincidental."
Ohio University media professor with an expertise in fake news, Laeeq Khan said these types of websites should make it easier for people to know if their articles are real.
"I think that's where the problem lies, yes in a democracy we have free expression which is highly welcome and appreciated. But there needs to be a fine line between making sure websites like that have a more clearly defined objective and clearly mentions this is for entertainment purposes only," Khan said.
"We do not spend time verifying information, so some research I've been working on looked at how or whether people verify information and it takes a lot of effort finding truth takes time, lies spread very easily," he said.
In fact, a Congresswoman recently shared the fake article on Twitter.
"It's quite sad that got tweeted and retweeted and last I checked it was still there and that's even more sad," he said, "This is a time when we need to re-educate ourselves, we must stop and think and verify."
Gere Jordan publishes DelawareOhioNews.com. He said he doesn't feel responsible for writing the article and believes it's up to readers to figure out what is real and what is fake.
"Everyone should be discerning where their information is coming from and if something seems ridiculous if you see headlines that you wouldn't expect to see on a legitimate website those are indications that you should probably dig a bit further," Jordan said.
Jordan said he does not make money on the website and recently won a lawsuit in Franklin County that ruled in favor of his protected free speech.
"Ultimately it's entertainment, I want people to laugh. Some articles are funnier than others and the website is still developing it as well," Jordan said.
Have something you'd like us to verify? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org