Fake News: All The Publications That Got A Basic Fact Wrong About Pence’s Speech

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Joe Simonson Media Reporter
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A number of news outlets reveled in the apparent hypocrisy over Vice President Mike Pence banning firearms from his upcoming speech at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in May.

The problem: The pro-Second amendment organization did no such thing.

In reality, the Secret Service prevents firearms from being in the vicinity of any appearances by the vice president. In a statement last year (when many of the same publications were running similar headlines), the organization made its policy clear:

The Secret Service works closely with our local law enforcement partners in each state to ensure a safe environment for our protectees and the public,” the agency told CNN. “Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event.

Nevertheless, a basic fact check by various journalists, or their editors, didn’t stop outlets like Politico from spreading fake news.

As one Politico headline read on Monday, “Parkland students criticize NRA for banning guns at upcoming Pence event.”

Oddly, the lede in the Politico piece seems to directly contradict the following paragraph.

Parkland survivors criticized the National Rifle Association after it banned guns from Vice President Mike Pence’s upcoming speech at the organization’s annual convention later this week.

The NRA posted a disclaimer on the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum event page, saying that due to Pence’s attendance, Secret Service will be responsible for event security. Therefore, “firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance.”

Despite the fact that Politico’s own reporting makes clear that the Secret Service will be in charge of security (and therefore the ones enacting the firearm ban), the first paragraph nonetheless misleads the reader into believing that the NRA is the group forbidding any weapons.

USA Today had a similar article entitled “NRA draws fire for banning guns at event featuring Vice President Mike Pence.

A number of local outlets also made the same mistake, including St Louis’ KSDK, Delaware Online, The Milwaukee Journal, and a number of others.

The lie also made its way to cable news Monday morning, with MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle who thought she was cleverly pointing out the NRA’s “serious hypocrisy” by not allowing guns into the event area while Pence was speaking.

“Gun control advocates are claiming some serious hypocrisy, pointing to the NRA’s long history of arguing that allowing guns in public spaces make people safer,” she said.

Unfortunately, it seems that none of her producers bothered fact checking the assertion.

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