Fact Check

Yes, USA Today Really Did Publish This Suggestive Heat Wave Graphic

To some, it may just be the greatest newspaper graphic ever made.

Published Jul 2, 2021

 (Screencapture / Twitter)
Image Via Screencapture / Twitter
In July 2011, USA Today published an infographic about excessively hot weather that shows a cartoon sun gripping a phallic thermometer.

On social media, the month of July frequently sees posts reminding folks about "the greatest newspaper graphic of all time," displayed in the tweet below. That graphic, credited to USA Today, describes the dangers of excessive heat by visualizing an anthropomorphized sun suggestively gripping a phallic thermometer. Heat stroke was a concern:

The graphic is real. It appeared in the print edition of USA Today on July 2, 2011. As described by Huffington Post at the time, "If you picked up last Friday’s print edition of USA Today, you might have stumbled upon this 'handy' graphic about the dangers of heat stroke featuring a sun holding a thermometer." The outlet described it as "the most erotic weather graphic you’ll probably ever see."

Because the graphic did indeed appear in print, the claim is "True."

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

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