Facts matter: Ammunition launch not just prior to Pelosi's Taiwan trip

  • U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, walks with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday. Social media posts falsely claimed that China fired rounds of ammunition toward the island in advance of her visit.

    U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, walks with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday. Social media posts falsely claimed that China fired rounds of ammunition toward the island in advance of her visit. Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP

Updated 8/6/2022 5:29 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday visited Taiwan amid threats from China. She is the highest-level U.S. official to visit there in the past 25 years.

Social media users shared video claiming China fired rounds of ammunition toward the sea before the speaker's visit.


"China conducts live-fire drills in Fujian near the Taiwan Strait," a Twitter user wrote, along with posting the video. "Crazy Nancy Pelosi better ask that pilot to make a U-turn! She is provoking and playing with fire. Taiwan is an inseparable part of China's territory."

Another tweet claimed, "China welcomes Pelosi with fireworks."

But the video, showing flares in the sky over the sea, has nothing to do with Pelosi, according to Reuters. It's not a recent clip.

The footage being shared is actually two videos spliced together, but both are nearly two years old. In November 2020, the clips, showing different angles of the ammunition rounds, were uploaded to the internet.

After Pelosi left Taiwan, the Chinese conducted live-fire military drills, launching ammunition into the sea in the direction of Taiwan, Reuters reported.

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Baby found in Arizona

A photo of an abandoned baby has been circulating on the internet, with different social media users claiming the infant was found in different states.

"BREAKING UPDATE: A newborn baby has been found in hot spring (sic) this morning by the police," a Facebook user wrote on July 27. "Let us spread the word and help identifying who this newborn baby belongs to."

But other posts claim the baby was found in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Harlingen and Lewisville, Texas; and Mingo County, West Virginia.

But there are no news reports or evidence of a baby being found recently in those areas, according to USA Today.

The photo being shared actually shows a baby discovered on a doorstep of a private home on July 22 in Mesa, Arizona. The Mesa Police Department, in a tweet, said the baby had been taken to the hospital for observation.


A woman called Mesa police after she answered the doorbell at her home, thinking it was a package delivery, and found the baby on the step, USA Today said.

Lewisville Police Capt. Craig Barnhart told USA Today he had were no reports of an abandoned baby.

"This appears to be a social media hoax," Barnhart said.

Officials from the Hot Springs Police Department and the Hattiesburg Police Department also told USA Today there were no reports of abandoned newborns in their cities.

Records not subject to FOIA

A recent post claims documents show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the phone with a man connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

"Freedom of Information Act requests show a dozen phone calls between the cellphone of Ray Epps and the office of Speaker Pelosi in the week before #January6th," read a tweet that was shared more than 15,000 times.

But that statement is wrong in a couple of ways, according to The Associated Press.

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill told the AP the claim is false. There is no evidence to suggest the calls happened.

The night before the insurrection, Arizona resident Ray Epps was filmed encouraging people to enter the Capitol building. Some conspiracy theories claim Epps is a federal agent who took part in planning the riots. But Epps, testifying before the House panel investigating the attack, said he didn't work for law enforcement.

Also, phone records of purported calls between Pelosi and Epps wouldn't be obtainable through a Freedom of Information Act request, because Congress is exempt from that law. "Congress is not subject to FOIA. It doesn't matter what type of records are at issue," Reporters Committee lawyer Adam A. Marshall told the AP.

House panel member and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger weighed in on the tweet.

"Take a gander. Absolutely false, literally made up, yet tens of thousands of RT's," he wrote on Twitter.

Sun and moon are still in place

A July 29 Facebook post included some disturbing information.

"The Sun is out of place, the Moon is out of place and the stars are out of place. The compases are off," the post read. The user also said "electrified neon double rainbows," are being covered up and there will be a "Global Pole Shift Cataclysm" in 22 weeks.

But the claim is false, according to PolitiFact. The position of the sun and the moon is constantly changing because of the Earth's tilt relative to the sun, Michigan State University's Abrams Planetarium director Shannon Schmoll said.

"All of these (movements) are highly predictable. We have been tracking these regular changes for much of human history," she said.

• Contact Bob Oswald at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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