If you were on Facebook this week, there's a good chance you saw a shocking, totally not fake-sounding article that claimed an ailing Charles Manson is being paroled. Unfortunately for fans of race war-inspired folk music, that story is bogus.
Lt. Anthony Baer, a spokesperson at CSP-Corcoran where Manson is held, confirmed via email that the 79-year-old convict is still very much imprisoned and going to stay that way:
I've heard the rumors and "It's all a Hoax". There is no Parole Hearing next week and/or a planned released due to his medical condition. Manson is in good health, he is getting up there in age, however, he gets around fine without the assistance of any assistive devices.
The source of the phony report was Empire News, one of several fake news sites that spin political outrage into pageview gold. With over 600,000 Facebook likes, "Charles Manson Granted Parole" is now a viral hit and, like any popular news story, has inspired people on social media to blame Obama.
But even those who didn't fall for the hoax still managed to get the story wrong. News stations in Denver, Phoenix, Detroit, Kansas City and Indianapolis published articles on Friday referring to Manson's parole hearing "next week." In reality, the infamous cult leader won't be up for parole for another 13 years. Those reports, apparently based on a 2012 LA Times story, were scrubbed from the sites as of Saturday, but remained viewable thanks to the terrible power of Google's web cache.