Media fact-checkers largely ignore Rep. Cori Bush's story about being shot at by White supremacists

Media top headlines November 18

In media news today, Bill Maher and Chris Cuomo clash over Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, The Washington Post corrects over a dozens Steele dossier articles, and a New York Times contributor says inflation panic is driven by ‘rich people’ mad over their devalued assets

Media fact-checkers have been quiet on Rep. Cori Bush’s, D-Mo., recent claim that she and fellow protesters were shot at by White supremacists seven years ago.

On Monday, Bush sparked controversy by tweeting out a claim that White supremacists stalked and shot at her and fellow protesters during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, seven years ago.

“When we marched in Ferguson, white supremacists would hide behind a hill near where Michael Brown Jr. was murdered and shoot at us. They never faced consequences. If Kyle Rittenhouse gets acquitted, it tells them that even seven years later they still can get away with it,” she tweeted.


UNIVERSITY CITY, MO – JUNE 12: Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Cori Bush leads protesters as they take to the street to protest against police brutality on June 12, 2020 in University City, Missouri. Protest continue across the world since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Prior to winning her congressional race, Bush was a prominent Black Lives Matter activist and led protests following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. Although she did take part in protests during the time, Ferguson Police Chief Frank McCall Jr. couldn’t recall any incident like the one Bush described during the protests.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Bush’s claim was met with skepticism from critics that cited a 2015 conviction of Jeffrey Williams, a Black man who was found guilty of shooting and wounding two police officers during a Ferguson protest in front of the police station on March 12, 2015. Witnesses said at the time that they believed the shots originated from the top of a hill about 220 yards directly opposite the station.

However, mainstream fact-checkers have yet to show interest in verifying the progressive lawmaker’s story. As of Friday, there were no stories from the fact-checkers at The Washington Post, CNN’s Daniel Dale, Politifact and USA Today. Snopes published a report on Bush’s claims but was unable to find evidence in support of the congresswoman’s story. It rated her claims as “unproven.”

Meanwhile, Bush appeared to double down on her claim, with her campaign telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the congresswoman was indeed shot by “White supremacist vigilantes.”

“While on the frontlines of the Ferguson Uprising, Congresswoman Bush and other activists were shot at by White supremacist vigilantes,” her campaign said. “The question we need to ask is why White supremacists feel empowered to open-carry rifles, incite violence, and put Black lives at risk across our country.”

PolitiFact added a lengthy editor’s note to defend a widely mocked "fact-check."

Bush’s campaign also pointed to local activist Ohun Ashe, who backed up Bush’s claim. 

“I vividly remember hiding under porches in Canfield as shots were fired at us,” Ashe tweeted. “No one came to help us. Ferguson police would be nearby. We would come from under porches using cars as shields in between gun shots to make it out.”

A local news story on January 19, 2015, reported there were calls of gunfire near an apartment complex but when police went to investigate, they could not find anything. 

A man watches a burning building after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri November 24, 2014.   REUTERS/Jim Young
( REUTERS/Jim Young)

Conservatives often accuse mainstream fact-checkers of a liberal bias and focusing too much on Republicans compared to Democrats. 

Politifact more recently came under fire for its “fact-check” from August 2020 that argued Kyle Rittenhouse broke state laws by possessing a weapon prior to shooting three individuals during the Kenosha riots.

“Whether Rittenhouse violated Wisconsin law by possessing a firearm underage is the subject of ongoing litigation. But the Facebook post claimed that it was “perfectly legal” for the teenager to carry an assault-style rifle in Kenosha,” Daniel Funke wrote at the time. “At best, that’s unproven. At worst, it’s inaccurate. Either way, we rate the post False.”

The post was ridiculed on Monday after Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is overseeing the Rittenhouse murder trial, decided to throw out the charge against Rittenhouse for possessing a dangerous weapon as a minor citing exemptions in the law. 

In September, Funke was criticized again, this time for his reporting for USA Today declaring accusations of Biden checking his watch during the ceremonial transfer honoring fallen U.S. Marines as “partly false.” He was later forced to change the rating to “missing context” after several people corrected him.

“As many of you already know, this story has been corrected. Biden checked his watch multiple times during the ceremony. I regret the error,” Funke wrote. “Journalists and fact-checkers are human (yes, even me!) We make mistakes. When we do, we correct them and try to make it right.”

Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn and Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.

Source: Read Full Article