The Olympics are always replete with geopolitical intrigue, and this year is no exception, as the Sochi games have come under a great deal of fire for Russia’s various anti-gay statutes. Indeed, it was only a couple of days ago that I wrote about an Russian parliamentarian and former Olympian who had made racist tweets about President Obama. As always, however, are less controversial subjects that have a tendency to flair up during the games, and the photo on the right provides an excellent example.
There has been a long-standing movement in the Canadian providence of Quebec for independence. The movement gained speed over the past few decades and a 1995 referrendum on the subject only failed by .8%. It remains an issue of controversy in the providence.
Back to the Games: the two women in the photo are Canadian sisters Justine and Chole Dufour-Lapointe, who won the gold and silver in the women moguls competition. The photo on the left is the original, but the photo on the right is a complete fake. It features the Quebec fleur de lys instead of the Canadian Maple Leaf, and switches out the Canadian colors and letters for those of Quebec. Clearly, if this photo were real, it would be viewed as a statement of political support for the Quebec independence movement.
However, just because it is fake doesn’t stop it from streaking across the internet as the real deal. One of the people who fell for the tweet: Pierre Duchesne, who is the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. Duchesne sent out this tweet:
Opps. Duchesne was later forced to admit that he had been duped, saying, “The perils of “Photoshop” … I’m a victim of it myself. :).”
However, the tweet was not taken lightly by many, including the Prime Minister of Canada. The Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Carl Vallee, blasted Duchesne’s tweet, accussing Duchesne of “using (the sisters’) image for political purposes…It seems that the Minister Duchesne lives in a dream world,” Vallee wrote.
Well, this can’t be good for Duchesne.
I can’t say I haven’t almost accidentally tweeted out false information: I remember once almost tweeting out a story about how walked out of Star Trek because there weren’t enough racial stereotypes, then Googling the story and discovering it was fake. A more recent example if a supposed quote from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:
Yeah, this quote definitely isn’t real.
A good rule of thumb: if something looks too outrageous to be real, it probably is. Elected officials are held to a higher standard – make sure you fact check what you put out there, even if you are not the originator of the content!