The Internet and blogosphere have been buzzing with the news that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under attack by bees in Malawi during her African tour. According to reports, Clinton and her staff were literally chased on the tarmac of the Lilongwe International airport by a swarm of aggressive “African bees.”
“There was a slight panic as the bees winged across the airport. People could be seen running away to keep cover as the Secretary of State swiftly boarded her plane to avoid any stings,” the witness supposedly told the Nyasa Times, a local Malawian news agency.
At first glance, this seems like a great, visual story. News agencies and blogs from around the world including BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail and others picked it up, citing the Nyasa Times and the anonymous “eyewitness” account. There’s only one problem: The story isn’t true.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told ABC News by email that Clinton and her detail were not, in fact, chased out of Malawi by bees.
“There were some bees but no attack, no panic,” said Nuland.
Press traveling with the secretary reported that a small swarm passed the motorcade as they drove up to the airport, lasting a few seconds at most.
“I was there. Hillary Clinton was NOT chased out of Malawi by bees,” tweeted journalist Ayelet Waldman. “We saw a TINY swarm the van windows. End of story.”
Some reporters even questioned how the “eyewitness” would have seen such a thing, since there were very few Malawians on the tarmac as Clinton, her team and press traveling with her boarded the plane. And according to those traveling with Clinton, the Malawians that were there danced for the guests as a way to say thank you before the Secretary of State and her team left. Hardly the behavior of people panicking and ducking for cover, as this EXCLUSIVE video obtained by ABC News shows.
But the local report did get one thing right. Clinton’s team and the press did at one point actually see bees. Maybe the global headline should be “Hillary Clinton Sees Bugs in Africa?”