Here Are the 5 Worst ‘Fake News’ Reports on Guns in 2017
Emily Miller /
President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are strongly pro-Second Amendment, which means new gun control laws were dead on arrival in 2017.
But the mainstream media, not to be quietly defeated, exposed its anti-gun bias more than ever this year.
The national newspapers and left-wing TV networks continued to churn out unbalanced reports on gun crime and laws, while refusing to learn accurate terminology. Here are the top offenders.
1. USA Today
The colorful newspaper that lands outside hotel rooms seized the mantel for this year’s most ridiculous, yet hilarious anti-gun propaganda reporting.
One story, authored by the unnamed “editors,” lists accessories that can be added to the popular AR-15 rifle. The authors include in that list a “chain-saw bayonet.” To illustrate this, USA Today tweeted a video depicting an actual chainsaw attached—somehow—to the bottom of a rifle.
A look at the gun used in the Texas church shooting. https://t.co/xdxIf5fR77 pic.twitter.com/sUY1mCCLZC
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 8, 2017
Anyone with common sense knows a chain saw weighs more than a rifle and its weight would pull it down, much less be stuck to an electric socket.
Readers immediately mocked the absurd getup by posting mockups of other “possible modifications” to an AR-15—laugh-out-loud things like a nuclear missile and a full-size F-16.
You forgot some other "modifications," @USATODAY . pic.twitter.com/MDChF5IrT2
— Guy Relford (@guyrelford) November 9, 2017
Andrew Wilkow added increasingly smaller AR-15s under the full-size one, like one of those Russian wood dolls of decreasing sizes.
Looks like @USATODAYfound another scary #AR15 mod #ChainsawBayonet pic.twitter.com/0P4ViMHSZV
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) November 9, 2017
After the horrifying shooting of Republican members of Congress on a softball field, CNN published a story in June titled “Where does the GOP baseball shooting leave the gun control debate?” It was not a news report by any definition.
The entire article is an interview—conducted by email—with the president of the (mostly irrelevant) Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The reporter did not “email interview” any pro-Second Amendment group or activist for any balance. CNN didn’t even include that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who almost died in the politically motivated shooting, had not changed his views on protecting the Second Amendment from any further infringement.
Also, there seems to be no one employed by CNN who has any knowledge of firearms statistics. Jim Acosta, the senior White House correspondent, tweeted: “Since Sandy Hook there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded.”
Since Sandy Hook there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded. https://t.co/RZeFDHhYmR
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 14, 2017
Acosta, who has almost a half-million followers on Twitter, was not actually citing CNN, but an article in the left-wing outlet Vox.
Click through the article and you’ll see the data it contains is riddled with errors. It takes statistics from a group called “Gun Violence Archive,” which makes up out of whole cloth the definition of “mass shooting” to include people who are shot, but not killed. The group includes “news reports” for media sources instead of citing law enforcement agencies.
Nowhere in the article does Vox mention that there is an official government definition of “mass shooting,” which is four or more people killed outside the home in one incident.
In fact, the number of people killed annually in mass shootings has been an average of 23 over the last 30 years.
Don’t believe me?
That statistic is from leading gun control voice in Congress Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who gets her data from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
Acosta never explained his promotion of the bad reporting. The tweet remains on his account, giving the fake news legitimacy to CNN viewers.
3. NBC News
In this story, published five years after the Sandy Hook massacre, NBC reports that Congress has passed no new gun control laws, even when President Barack Obama was in office. That was true (aside from regulations through the White House), but NBC gives every reason for this, except a fact-based one.
The reason Congress doesn’t pass more gun control laws is that not one has ever been proven to reduce gun crime.
Instead, NBC puts the blame on anti-gun groups not being unified against the powerful NRA. (That would come as big a surprise to the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, and other pro-Second Amendment groups.)
NBC also nonsensically reports that gun control groups can’t compete with the resources of the NRA. It leaves out that those groups receive tens of millions of dollars from billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while the NRA is funded by its grassroots members.
To cap off the bias in this story, NBC violates journalism rule 101, which is to ask a representative from the other side of the issue for a response.
4. The Economist
The Economist was once a reliable source of information on economics and finance. But, as this gun story makes clear, the magazine is now a partisan tool of the left.
In a November story about the tragic church shooting in Texas, The Economist cites “mass shooting” data from Mother Jones, a far-left outlet, rather than government agencies. Then the reporter writes that the shooter used an AR-15, which “was prohibited in 1994, but legalized in 2004 when America’s assault-weapons ban expired.”
That’s true, but not the whole story. The ban expired because Congress determined it was not effective in decreasing the number of homicides by rifle. The reader is left with the false impression that lack of a gun ban was directly responsible for the horrific church shooting.
The Economist does not even include data from the FBI, which would illuminate readers about the issue of gun violence. The most recent statistics available are from 2016. The FBI data show that there were 11,004 homicides by firearm. Of those, only 374 were by rifles of any kind.
5. The Associated Press
Almost every media outlet in the country—TV, print, and online—pays the Associated Press to use its wire service to supplement or replace its own reporting. This means AP has an outsized impact on news reports because its work appears in everything from local newspapers to network news.
Eagle-eyed Cargar Dolor recently tweeted to me: “This AP story from today claims that authorities recovered a ‘40mm pistol.’”
This AP story from today claims that authorities recovered a "40mm pistol". https://t.co/V8IxfPfoGU
— Cargar Dolor (@k_d_payne) December 14, 2017
Clearly, the reporter knows nothing about the basic ballistics of firearms, and neither do the editors.
I tweeted to AP to correct this to a .40 caliber pistol, which it eventually did. Meanwhile, the more educated public tweeted to me that “40mm” is the size of a cannon or a grenade launcher.
Many of these mistakes would be funny if they weren’t rooted in ideological narrowness. They show how the mainstream media deliberately attempts to confuse the public in order to build support for more gun control laws.
At a higher level, the repeated bad reporting in just one area of public debate that shows the top editors and managers in mainstream media assign reporters to cover gun crime, without any expertise on the subject, research into data, or fact-checking.
If it weren’t for conservative media and informed social media users, the average American might walk the streets in fear of being attacked by someone wielding a rifle with a chainsaw attached to the bottom.