Fake News: Vice President Pence NOT Kicked Out Of Iceland

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Vice President Pence NOT Kicked Out Of Iceland

Was Vice President Mike Pence refused entry to Iceland on January 7, 2019 because that country has a White Southern Baptist travel ban in force? No, that's not true: the story originated from a satire blog but looked real enough to many people so it went viral anyway.

The story originated from an article published on Patheos on January 7, 2019 titled "Vice President Pence Kicked Out Of Iceland" (archived here) which opened:

Reykjavik, Iceland - Icelandic officials prevented Vice President Mike Pence from entering their country today. Law enforcement informed the Vice President and his team they were following the recent law protecting the populace from religious fanatics.

In 2017 Iceland's parliament passed a Southern Baptist travel ban. The article Atheist Iceland Issues A Travel Ban Against White Southern Baptists helps explain the reasoning behind the law:

"Four out of five white evangelicals voted for Trump in last year's election," explained Professor Andrew Kannard of the Icelandic Institute. "The government doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the sects that comprise evangelicism in the States. They just decided to start with the most toxic group."

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so there was no immediate clue the story was satirical in nature:

Vice President Pence Kicked Out Of Iceland

Vice President Mike Pence gets tossed out of Iceland.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes patheos.com as:

A website that publishes commentary from a range of religious leaders and thinkers and provides a "Religion Library" with information on more than 20 faiths.

According to NewsGuard the site can generally be trusted to maintain journalistic standards. Read their full assessment here.

However on January 7, 2019 Vice President Pence wasn't in Iceland, he was in the White House talking to the press as this tweet shows:

Archived copy of the tweet here.

And the "Laughing in Disbelief" section of Patheos has a satire disclaimer:

Have you clicked a link to a story and you're here?

The story you are reading is satirical. The post may have links to real events that the satire is based on, but the Laughing in Disbelief article is fake.

There are winks to readers in each piece besides the link(s) to this page that I humbly offer as hints that the story in question is satirical.

The story about the White Southern Baptist travel ban came from the same source and was also satirical in nature:

Atheist Iceland Issues A Travel Ban Against White Southern Baptists

Geothermal power and reason powers Iceland. Reykjavik, Iceland - This secular island country situated in the North Atlantic passed a law yesterday preventing white Southern Baptists from entering the country. Officials state that the United States of America is a country in turmoil and Southern Baptists are the ones mostly responsible.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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