Article:NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

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NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week is a purported fact-check article[1] by the Associated Press. The article commits several fallacies including threshold switches and strawmanning.

The article begins by claiming that what is about to be reviewed are "some of the most popular but completely untrue stories." "None of these are legit," it goes on claiming, thus setting the standard of expectation very high for the reader. Yet the article describes the story of a 37-year-old nurse who suffered from COVID-19 and got saved by the drug Sildenafil (Viagra) which opened blood flow to her lungs, diminishing the amount of oxygen she needed, as reported in an interview she did after waking up from coma with Lincolnite[2]. The Associated Press article does not question the story as reported, thus making their fact-check False. The article then purports to perform a fact-check on the claim "Viagra can cure COVID-19," but they then perform a threshold switch to "Experts say Viagra isn’t a known ‘cure’ for COVID-19." By switching from a matter of fact to a matter of experts' beliefs, the article goes on to attack a strawman, since none of the original interview nor the Tucker Carlson segment on this story[3] claims anything about Viagra being a proven cure accepted by experts. The article cites an expert stating that "There has never been a survival benefit demonstrated from using any of these drugs for patients in the hospital with respiratory failure," which further shifts the threshold as none of the original sources claimed such "proof."

In summary, the purported fact-check checks no fact as it invents a position which wasn't expressed in the sources cited. The article commits other fallacies including not citing its sources, thus complicating the attempt for any reader to evaluate the truth of the claims. The article also fails to represent the original claims as hypothetical. For instance the Tucker Carlson YouTube segment on the subject ends with a question mark. Thus the article commits an unfair reading.


  1. The Associated Press, (January 14, 2022) NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week. The Associated Press. Accessed on January 16, 2022.
  2. Verney, Joseph (December 30, 2021) Lincolnshire mum thanks NHS angels (and Viagra) for saving her from COVID coma. Lincolnite. Accessed on January 16, 2022.
  3. Carlson, Tucker (January 7, 2022) Tucker: Could Viagra treat COVID?. Fox News YouTube Channel. Accessed on January 16, 2022.