Obama's 19-Year-Old Son Makes Rare Appearance at DNC

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As posted on Facebook, Sep. 14, 2012:

Obama's Son
Netlore Archive: Facebook posting links to a 'news story' claiming President Obama has a heretofore unknown 19-year-old son who appeared on stage with his father at the 2012 Democratic National Convention..

Description: Viral "news story" / Satire
Circulating since: Sep. 2012
Status: False (see details below)

Text example:
As posted on Facebook, Sep. 14, 2012:

CHARLOTTE, NC—The first family has turned more than a few heads at this week’s Democratic National Convention, where the president, as he greets delegates and waves to crowds of supporters, is often accompanied not only by his wife and two daughters, but also his rarely seen 19-year-old son, Luther.

The shy, slightly overweight teenager, who has lived his entire life with his mother in central Illinois, seldom appears in public with the president, with whom he has reportedly shared a somewhat distant and occasionally strained relationship.

-Full Article-

Analysis: In reality, Barack Obama has two daughters, and no sons. The text and photo above originated in a satirical (i.e., fictitious) article published on the humor website The Onion on Sep. 6, 2012.

Judging from the credulous responses to Facebook postings of this article, some people are unaware that TheOnion.com is a satirical website — as in, everything published on the site is fictitious and meant to be laughed at, not taken seriously.

Think about it. If a heretofore unknown illegitimate son of the President of the United States had been paraded before the delegates of the Democratic National Convention, not to mention the national media, you would have read about it first somewhere other than The Onion.

In this age of viral information sharing, it pays to check the legitimacy of sources before believing what they say. It's a no-brainer. Pass it on.

More examples of satire mistaken for fact:
• Mitt Romney: 'I Was Too Important to Go to Vietnam'
• Mitt Romney: 'Of Course I'll Win, I'm the White Guy'
• Ann Romney: Equal Pay 'Detrimental to the Future of Women'
Obama Explains 'Refusal' to Salute the Flag

Sources and further reading:

Obama's 19-Year-Old Son Makes Rare Appearance at DNC
The Onion, 6 September 2012

Barack Obama Biography
About.com: American History

The Onion
Wikipedia, 14 September 2012

Last updated 09/14/12