Fake News: UCLA Student Did NOT Donate College Fund to Bernie Sanders' Campaign

Fact Check

  • by: Molly Weisner
Fake News: UCLA Student Did NOT Donate College Fund to Bernie Sanders' Campaign

Did a UCLA student donate their entire college fund to Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign? No, that's not true: the story is a piece of satirie from a spoof site, and no such student by the name of Bryan Holmes made that kind of contribution to Sanders.

The claim originated from an article (archived here) where it was published by NPC Daily on March 6, 2019, under the title "I Donated My College Fund to the Bernie 2020 Campaign Because Education Will Be Free When He's Elected". It opened:

"Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign is raising money faster than Trump's wall fund. The numbers speak for themselves. In just two short weeks, Bernie Sanders raised upwards of 30 million dollars from donations alone. Most of these donations came from millennials and progressives who were more than willing to give all they could in order to make into reality a future they could believe in.

The promises made by Bernie Sanders are astounding and we know he will keep them should he become president. Free health care? Count me in! Free college tuition? Get me some of that! Since the Sanders plan includes guaranteed free tuition for all colleges and universities, more and more millennial students are donating their college funds to his campaign."

This is what social media users saw:

It's old news that one of Sanders' most defining policies of his campaign is reducing the cost of higher education in the U.S. His campaign site pledges debt-free college, cancelling student loan debt, investments in private, non-profit HBCUs and expanding student aid programs like Pell Grants and federal work-study jobs.

But Sanders was also quick to accrue millions of dollars in campaign donations. The New York Times reported Sanders received $10 million in donations within a week of declaring his candidacy in February of 2019.

In the last completed fundraising quarter of 2019, Sanders led with $34.5 million led for the period ending December 31, 2019. For comparison, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in second with $24.7 million for the quarter.

In November of 2019, it was announced that Sanders' campaign would spend $30 million on television ads in the first four 2020 voting states and California.

While Sanders has been welcomed by some college campuses, including UNC-Chapel Hill and Morehouse College, some of Sanders' biggest cohorts of donators are unemployed or retired Americans, those living in New England, California and the Pacific Northwest, as well as, unsurprisingly, populations of college graduates.

So far, a total of $73.8 million has been raised for Sanders' 2020 campaign, according to federal election data.

But the site has a satire disclaimer on its "about" page that reads:

NPC Daily is a satire site, providing political and cultural commentary with wanton sarcasm. NPC Daily pokes fun of modern journalism and liberalism. If you believe one of our articles is real, it's because the content is not too far adrift from what is published by mainstream news outlets. But, alas, our content is totally fictitious and is created to elicit laughs and bemusement.

The name of the site is a play on the NPC meme often used in certain conservative circles to depict political opponents as mindless people who have fallen victim to groupthink and conformity.

NPC Wojak

NPC Wojak is a depiction of the MS Paint character Wojak with a blank stare and facial expression, named after non-player characters within video games. The character is meant to represent people who do not think for themselves and conform to society, bearing many similarities to the terms "basic" and "normie".

We wrote about npcdaily.com before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Molly Weisner

Molly is a staff writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories based in North Carolina. She is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying media and journalism, with a specific interest in investigative reporting. Molly is also a reporter on several projects based out of UNC's journalism school, including another fact-checking initiative and an online weekly for a former news desert in Chatham County, North Carolina. Molly has also pursued freelance reporting in tracking the juvenile justice system in North Carolina.

Read more about or contact Molly Weisner

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