Factchecking The Mainstream Media’s Fake Anti-Gun ‘Factcheckers’

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USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- For today’s media, factchecking is an entry-level job.

Most media factcheckers are liberal, woke, in their early 20s, and politically biased. Most have never even touched a weapon, yet they wade into gun and Second Amendment issues as though they’re the reincarnation of Jeff Cooper or Bill Jordan. But unlike those distinguished gentlemen, the factcheckers usually get it wrong.

This is the problem because even though most factcheckers are fresh out of college and lack any real journalism experience, they wield tremendous power. If a factchecker determines that a pro-gun story is false or misleading, social media giants like Facebook or Twitter will limit its reach and the story won’t be seen on any feeds. It will go largely unread. That’s a lot of power for a kid who’s usually not old enough to even purchase a firearm.

The legacy media’s sudden obsession with factchecking wasn’t caused by any journalistic desire to seek and publish the truth. For at least one media giant, it was a financial decision.

Case in point: Gannett’s Factcheckers for Hire

In March 2020, Gannett announced it was partnering with Facebook to “identify misinformation.”

“As a media organization with unparalleled local-to-national reach, we take our commitment to providing people with truthful information very seriously, and fact-checking is integral to the journalism being done by USA TODAY and in Gannett newsrooms across the country,” Maribel Perez Wadsworth, Publisher of USA TODAY, said in a press release.

USA TODAY, Gannett’s flagship paper, created a dedicated factchecking page on their website and assigned a managing editor to oversee the project.

Facebook was jubilant.

“Continuing to expand our fact-checking program is an important part of our work to fight misinformation,” Keren Goldshlager of Facebook Integrity Partnerships said in the press release. “We welcome USA TODAY to the program and value their cross-country coverage and perspective on misinformation spreading at the state level.”

What the public wasn’t told – what I learned while I was still working at a Gannett newspaper – was that Facebook paid Gannett millions of dollars for the partnership. Gannett couldn’t have cared less about the “distribution of false information on social media.” They viewed this payoff as their due, because Facebook had cost them millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue. These were dollars Facebook “owed us,” Gannett editors were told. Facebook benefitted because they were able to tout that they had enlisted actual journalists as factcheckers. Most of the stories they chose were political. Many involved President Trump – many still do.

Today, Gannett’s factcheckers are young and inexperienced, since seasoned journalists want to write their own stories, rather than being a whiny hall monitor censoring other people’s work. As a result, the only folks available to fill the positions are the aforementioned kids.

Case in point: Biden’s 9mm handgun ban

During a CNN townhall July 21, Joe Biden said he wanted to ban 9mm handguns.

“The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon, whether – whether it’s a 9 mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous,” Biden said. “I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things.”

The NRA wrote about Biden’s statement. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms wrote about it. House Republicans issued a statement. I wrote about it. Dozens of other progun sites wrote about it, and millions of Americans shared and discussed Biden’s comments on Facebook and other social media.

Turns out we were all wrong, according to David Funke, a 20-something factcheck reporter who covers online misinformation for USA TODAY. According to his bio, Funke previously worked for the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact. He has never worked as a real journalist.

“Independent fact-checking organizations, gun policy experts and the White House have debunked the claim that Biden wants to ban 9 mm pistols,” Funke wrote. He then found an expert to agree.

“President Biden has never proposed the ban of 9 mm pistols or other caliber pistols,” Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, reportedly told Funke in an email. “He certainly has never taken pistols away from people who are legal gun owners.”

Professor Webster is not exactly the unbiased expert Funke would have you believe.

Webster is also the Bloomberg Professor of American Health and a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. His areas of study include “the prevention of gun violence, gun policy, gun acquisition and carrying by underage youth and other prohibited persons, intimate partner violence, and youth violence prevention. He developed one of the first courses on violence prevention in a school of public health. Dr. Webster was also co-editor and contributor to Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy and Evidence and Analysis.”

Webster actually believes background checks will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

“When criminals get guns, they get them from friends, family, or from an underground market source. Without universal background check requirements, there is little deterrent to selling guns to criminals or gun traffickers. State laws mandating universal background checks deter the diversion of guns to criminals,” Webster wrote in in a June 26, 2014 article titled: “Guns Kill People. And If We Had Universal Background Checks, They Wouldn’t Kill So Many.”

An examination of Funke’s factchecking topics reveals he is as biased as his so-called expert.

Funke’s stories have targeted: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Donald Trump, QAnon, election fraud, anti-vaxxers, gun owners, and the NRA, while providing cover for Biden, Kamala Harris, mask mandates, mandatory vaccinations, and Dr. Fauci.

Funke did not respond to several requests seeking his comments for this story.

“I’m a reporter/editor who fact-checks and writes about online misinformation for USA TODAY. When I’m not debunking viral memes, tracking disinformation or editing fact checks, I’m probably cycling, binge-reading or walking my hounds,” his LinkedIn page states.

Politics, NOT Science

Factchecking is nothing new. For more than 100 years newspapers, and especially magazines, have employed factcheckers, although they operated behind the scenes, before stories were published. They weren’t public-facing like their counterparts are today, and they certainly never wrote bylined stories.

Today’s factchecking process is far from scientific – keep in mind they factcheck editorials, opinion pieces, satire and even memes.

Once a checker finds a story they don’t like, usually because it offends their leftwing politics, they call a likeminded source or two, get a couple quotes and then, as young Mr. Funke demonstrated, label the entire story false. To be clear, these are judgement calls by young reporters of stories they cherry-picked themselves.

Once the story is published, it’s not a kid like Funke saying the story is wrong, it’s now USA TODAY, the Washington Post or the Associated Press labeling it false. In Funke’s case, millions of Americans heard Biden say he wanted to ban 9mm pistols, yet a 20-something reporter and an anti-gun professor concluded we were all wrong. The gun banners know this, and they tout every progun story the factcheckers label false. They use them as ammunition in their calls for more antigun laws and regulations.

There are other concerns.

In a scientific paper published in January, two journalism scholars found that for more than one-third of all factchecking stories published by PolitiFact that involved a “complex proposition” – statements that involved multiple claims – PolitiFact assigned only one truth rating to the entire statement, rather than singling out the false portion of what was said. “This is problematic as the reader might misinterpret the truthfulness of an individual claim. PolitiFact also checks claims that we considered uncheckable,” the authors noted. Labeling a complex statement as entirely false, is, again, cherry-picking and deceptive.

The “uncheckable” stories the authors referenced are clearly opinion pieces. For example, if I write a column that says guns save lives, the factcheckers may not agree with my opinion, but the column is not false. It is my opinion. Labeling opinions as false makes even less sense than factchecking memes.

The New Censors  

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty more innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Malcolm X said that of the news media in the 1960s, and it’s even more true today. He’d be shocked by the political powerhouse today’s media has become.

Nowadays, the antigun left – aided and abetted by their supporters in the legacy media – are using factcheckers to shut down any speech they disagree with. That’s censorship, pure and simple, but they don’t care. They consider anything they find offensive false, untrue, a lie, something that needs to be concealed from the public. They consider the public nothing but a bunch of ignorant rubes who need to be shielded from offensive statements, because they’re too stupid to decide for themselves what is true and what is false. The media considers it their duty to be society’s sole arbiter of the truth. I’ve always considered this elite, ivory-tower and paternalistic attitude one of the media’s greatest failings.

Readers should be able to decide the truth for themselves. They don’t need it rammed down their throat, especially by kids who are barely old enough to shave. In short, the ability to make up one’s own mind is freedom, and we all know how the antigun left feels about freedom.

Today’s media has short-circuited one of journalism’s most basic tenets, which says the best way to counter any offensive speech is by more speech. Unfortunately, if the speech involves guns or gunowners, today’s media prefers to censor rather than debate.

This story is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and wouldn’t be possible without you. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.


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About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Lee Williams

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Larry
Larry
10 days ago

В Истине нет новостей, и в Новостях нет правды.
There is no news in The Truth (Izvestia), and no truth in The News (Pravda).

gregs
gregs
12 days ago

just how stupid are you that you rely on a fact checker to determine if the story/article is true. you read it and decide for yourself if it is true. it isn’t that hard to do, unless you are of low intelligence and believe whatever someone tells you (majority of democrats) a.k.a. sheeple. these factcheckers do not even get simple statements correct. what journalism school did they go to?
you get better usa news coverage from overseas outlets and the lamestream media or internet platforms here, especially from fakebood and tshitter.

Vinnie
Vinnie
12 days ago
Reply to  gregs

The problem is that the fact checkers label something false and it gets removed EVERYWHERE. You know how hard it is to get the truth out when the media is in control of what you can even see?

BaerArms
BaerArms
6 days ago
Reply to  Vinnie

too bad we cant “myspace” them and everyone on gab/minds/odysee

Larry
Larry
10 days ago
Reply to  gregs

When I was a kid, if you had told me that someday I would be relying on media with names like Sputnik News and Russia Today to learn the real truth about current events, I would have kicked you in the shin.

Tank
Tank
13 days ago

Pseudo-intellectualism Fact Checkers on display.

Clinton help start & foment that whole BS mindset when he got his BJ’s WH.

“It depends on what the definition of is … is” was his reply.

Figures lie & liars do the figuring.

Control the Sea (Media) you control the ignorant Fish who swim in it w/ the Sharks.

Qui Bono?
Qui Bono?
13 days ago

Bias is natural, normal, and will be present as long as the human race survives. The only “Fact Checker” you can trust is yourself – IF you are aware of and brutally honest about your own biases, willing to challenge your own preconceptions, open to being persuaded to change your opinion if that’s where the facts lead, and know how to identify bias when you see it – in others as well as in yourself. It’s natural, but intellectually dishonest and self-serving to reject anything that appears to contradict one’s own opinions and beliefs. When doing historical research, I always… Read more »

Montana454Casull
Montana454Casull
13 days ago

Go peddle your bullshit somewhere else TWAT !

Qui Bono?
Qui Bono?
10 days ago

You’re obviously not mature enough to engage in adult conversation. Come back when you’ve grown up and have something intelligent to say.

Arny
Arny
13 days ago

Exactly why I quit reading USA TODAY. They used to report unbiased news. Imagine that.

Larry
Larry
10 days ago
Reply to  Arny

When? I’m old enough to remember its debut. From day one, it was derided as “McNews” — bland, shallow, zero insight. Its main virtue was being cheap enough for hotels to distribute for free outside guests’ doors, much as CNN’s main virtue was as a distraction from the boredom of the wait at airport gates.

Larry
Larry
10 days ago
Reply to  Arny

I can’t wait to learn what triggered moderation of my accompanying comment on USA Today. I can’t even find a single mild crudity.

Laddyboy
Laddyboy
13 days ago

When are these “fact checkers’ ” feet going to be held to the fires of PROSECUTION for the LIES they are manufacturing?!

Vinnie
Vinnie
12 days ago
Reply to  Laddyboy

When the democrats have destroyed society to the point that gun owners decide to live up to being the scourge that anti-gunners claim we are.

Larry
Larry
10 days ago
Reply to  Laddyboy

Actual punishment for evil is patriarchal and theocratic.
And racist. It also has to be racist. Somehow.

Patriot Solutions
Patriot Solutions
13 days ago

Fact checkers are modern day book burners, post republic book burners that are taking orders directly from our elected officials through a link on their desktop all designed and protected by DHS and none of it is limited to only those evil Dem’s. General Flynn is not calling out ALL Republicans because they are innocent, nope. Sheep were told it’s all a conspiracy theory and they believed it and lost the republic and now have to go get jabbed. Embrace the suck.

Last edited 13 days ago by Patriot Solutions
Larry
Larry
10 days ago

Put this in perspective.
Winston Smith’s job in his society was literally to be a “fact checker.”
Now do you comprehend what function our own fact-checkers serve?

JimmyS
JimmyS
13 days ago

This whole article is pointless to a degree that borders on absurd.

Nobody clarified with Joe Biden or the White House, but we all just decide what Joe meant, and the involve fact checkers who, once again, don’t ask the fucking source?

Stop consuming ANY media with the goal of getting “the news.”. They all have an ideological agenda which prevents the reporting of news. Including this site. The author here also made no reported attempt to discover whether Joe Biden wants to ban 9mm handguns, but he reported that is what he heard.

You’re all fucking silly children.

Terry
Terry
13 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

“The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon, whether it’s a 9mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things.”
Joe Biden CNN town hall meeting July 21

Now if Biden didn’t “mean” 9mm pistol he should learn to articulate a little better.
Of course, we all know Joe should learn to articulate a little better.

Last edited 13 days ago by Terry
Wild Bill
Wild Bill
10 days ago
Reply to  Terry

,
Based upon your opinion, you have obviously lived a save and secure life. We who provided that security would rather that you just kept your naive thoughts to yourself.

Terry
Terry
10 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

Wild Bill;
What in the hell are you talking about? How in the hell did you come up with that blithering piece of horseshit from my reply to Jimmy S

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
10 days ago
Reply to  Terry

,
Well… it seems that I owe you an apology! I did not see the quotation marks. Presbyopia, and tiny writing, I suppose.

I thought that “The idea that you need a weapon …” verbiage was your words rather than you quoting another.

I was mistaken, and I apologize for my oversight that lead to my blithering piece of horseshoe!

Terry
Terry
10 days ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

No problem WB. You just had me confused as all getout.

swmft
swmft
13 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

every one here has watched the video on youtube of the town hall statement, there are hours of he and harris from all over,making anti gun statements I have searched for and found clips from others including rick turncoat scott seek and you shall find arfcom has links to the most glaring anti gun stuff

swmft
swmft
13 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

and no the jab does not work, but there is a trial of an actual vaccine(oral so it mimics exposure) ,but the fake news will never report about it. Is being tested in Israel because they have 16 to 20 fully vaccinated people die each day dont believe search it if i give links I am making them truth is out there you have too look like hell the lies are thick and the “fact checkers” are part of the lie in many cases. people say the news was more honest in the past hahahahaha Remember the Maine! A war… Read more »

Choogie
Choogie
12 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

The statement that you just made:

The author here also made no reported attempt to discover whether Joe Biden wants to ban 9mm handguns, but he reported that is what he heard.

Well that would be because Joe Biden announced that himself on national TV. NEWS MSN.

So, since we’re all silly children on this site, What are YOU doing here. Did you feel the need to come and watch over this site or are you just looking for a place to make Your Silly Comments?

Larry
Larry
10 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

Are you actually criticizing the article? Because you sound like your issue is with the verifiable social mechanisms in play today that it is reporting on. “The author here also made no reported attempt to discover whether Joe Biden wants to ban 9mm handguns, but he reported that is what he heard.” I’ve seen the video where Joe says these words himself, and this is an accurate transcription. I’m quite capable of understanding what he said, and that is precisely what he said. Unless you have a literacy defect, you cannot disagree, because the words are crystal clear, even if… Read more »