Yesterday, on June 17, we posted an article that claimed that Sheriff Howard Sills reneged on the reward for the capture of escaped convicts. We relied on a video from wsmv.com. The news reader, Chris Miller, says that no one will receive the reward money. Then they played a clip of Sheriff Howard Sills in which he said:

 “It looks like we going to get saved that money. Because the apprehension was the result of officers seeing them after a crime. So I don’t think that, ..

Again I appreciate everyone who put that money up. We are very grateful.”

What is not shown: the context of the Sheriff’s statement.

An alert TTAG reader, Jeff Young, shared a link to the original video at 13WMAZ. In the video, it’s clear that Sheriff Howard Sills is announcing the capture of the two escapees. It’s clear that he believes that law enforcement captured them. In that context his remarks make sense.

We now retract our article — removed from the site — and apologize to Sheriff Sills for our misleading article. The Sheriff was acting in good faith in a stressful situation. The TV station edited the video to misrepresent his views. It’s another instance of “fake news.”

[ED: The Truth About Guns is dedicated to telling the truth about guns. We apologize for failing to keep that promise to our readers, and thank them for keeping us honest.]

65 Responses to RETRACTION: Sheriff Howard Sills Did Not Renege on Reward

  1. You make a mistake, prominently correct and apologize for it, hopefully learn from it. That’s almost unheard of in media today.

    It’s why I keep coming back day after day (that, and everything is about guns).

    • You left out the part where TTAG shifted blame to the other source. The promptest part about TTAG response, was deleting their original post, so now you can’t go back line by line and verify exactly what was written, who relied on what, and who just spewed fake news of their own.

        • no kidding, I was just getting into that article and it locked up. I thought it was my phone.

          Happy Fathers Day!

        • How about, when this happens again, leave the main article up, but post in BIG RED LETTERS, that the original was a mistake and has been corrected.
          Paper trails are good and everyone can see you did not destroy “something”

        • Leaving it up would be the most ethical choice but it might not be the best- studies show that people read an article with corrections like that and many ignore the corrections and just end up believing the original article anyway.

        • A good idea.

          I haven’t checked the link to the original (removed) story. If it currently points to a 404 page, I suggest adding a redirect to the retraction post.

      • Hannibal what “Studies” show that people don’t read etc….please cite your source other wise that is just B.S.

  2. “It’s another instance of “fake news.”

    Yeah, fake news that TTAG perpetrated! When I read this article yesterday and the source article, even to me, upon a cold read, it seemed to be the case that the Sheriff made a statement at one point based on information available at that moment. However, later, as that statement began to receive widespread reporting attention, new information had come out.

    That new information rendered the Sheriff’s original statement well out of step with the new information. His statement and the new information were conflated in the conclusion-drawing and finger pointing section of TTAG’s reporting, as if his statement were made in the context of that new information, ignoring that it had been made much earlier, prior to the new details of the capture/surrender coming to light.

    Now, with a chance to make a full apology for jumping the gun on obvious-at-the-time shaky information, TTAG doubles down with a retraction blaming the other source? Shame on you.

    • So what do you consider a full apology? After all, right in the article above there’s this:

      “We now retract our article — removed from the site — and apologize to Sheriff Sills for our misleading article. ”

      And this:
      “We apologize for failing to keep that promise to our readers, and thank them for keeping us honest.”

    • Thanks for showering us with your angelic wisdom. You’re the pinnacle of perfection the rest of us strive to emulate! One day, when humans have evolved another few hundred thousand years maybe we’ll catch up with you.

  3. Thanks for the article and thanks for the followup with new facts. I don’t think anyone is going to confuse this site with any of the shady fake-news sites. You guys have “cred”. And publishing the article above only confirms it.

  4. I’m sure TTAG is going to have a board meeting about its future policy/procedures when reporting; especially when relying on Main_Stream_Media (MSM), other [not first hand] or unauthorized (leaked) source(s). If the facts cannot be confirmed ‘first hand’ or with ‘hard evidence’, perhaps the best caption would start with:

    “Reports are coming in that … ”

    Instead of throwing a reputation on the line. –Screw a deadline.–

    Any thoughts on this?

    • My guess would be no. They’re doing better than they were with Sara Tipton and Firearmconcierge though.

    • We’re a blog not a news org. We simply don’t have the resources to check every fact. When we doubt a source, we say so, or refrain from publishing.

      • Robert, I read the post and then read your retraction. What you said was entirely sufficient. Many, if not most, blogs are a lot more cavalier about handling misinformation and many would simply move on without comment. You based a post on a source that turned out to be spurious and, on finding out the truth, made a full retraction. The fault lies with the apparently deliberate editing of the original news report. In an age were politicization has replaced journalist standards, this probably won’t be the last time fake news gets posted. You did enough. Oh, yeah. The guy who captured the convict/killers ought to get paid.

  5. Getting back to the story at hand… Regardless of the “fake news” issue, the two convicts should hang and never make it back to Georgia. Save the tax payers a bunch of money and just put the two scum suckers to death. They brutally killed two LE officers! It’s on video, they deserve to die!!

    • “Getting back to the story at hand…”

      … the story at hand, in this instance, is the “RETRACTION:” as noted above (the first word).

      No offense intended.

  6. IF the gentleman who held the 2 on his driveway does NOT get paid you were CORRECT! Or am I missing something?!? Anywho HAPPY FATHER’S DAY dad’s!

  7. DON’T just stick to guns. I read(and open my big mouth) mainly for politics. Gun reviews good, bad and BS elsewhere. Giant props for the Illinois coverage…

  8. The best way to avoid future f**k ups like this is to confine Dean to doing what Dean does best; obsessing over open carry and writing ridiculously goofy articles about his obsessive mission in life along with his occasional deviation to articles on truly delusional topics like international carrying of firearms reciprocity with Mexico.

    • The story of what Dean did to your mother must be a hell of a read. It would be the only explanation for the hard on you have for Dean.

        • There has to be a reason you’re angry with and stalking Dean. I just went for the low hanging fruit. I can’t believe I’m the only one that has noticed your obsession with Dean, in a negative way.

        • There are some people here with a serious boner for going after JWT too.

          I don’t get it but hey, something about a lady kissing bovine creatures for enjoyment.

    • As far as I’m concerned, Dean is a national treasure. You, Ted, are something less. Much, much less.

      • Ralph, your flames burn so much better than the ones that warrant a deletion.

        No need to curse when you can twist the knife oh so brutally without nasty language.

  9. Yeah, bad on me, as well. I forgot the advice I gave my kids: question every source, even the ones you agree with.

    TTAG does all right, but they’re not perfect, and neither am I (believe it or not.) A learning moment for all.

  10. Mistakes happen, thanks for the clarification. I would be interested to know when/if the citizens get their money.

  11. Thanks for the retraction.

    I wish a bunch of TTAG readers would visit the Putman Sheriff’s facebook page and post a positive review to pump his stars back up to where they were before this started.

  12. The accounts I read indicate that an armed citizen held them at gun point until police arrived. That’s an apprehension. Period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *