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By Lee Williams

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 firearm, 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 un-read. That’s a lot of power for a kid who’s sometimes 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 pro-gun 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 9mm 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. Anthony 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 anti-gun 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.


The Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project wouldn’t be possible without you. Click here to make a tax deductible donation to support pro-gun stories like this.

This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.


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  1. Yeah, and Trump never advocated drinking bleach! He only asked about injecting it! Smart people surely know the difference. Ole Georgie boy Soros at it again.

    But seriously. If you’re anti vaxx please go drink some bleach. Alternative facts.

    • Trump used bleach as an analogy for developing a medication/protocol that would kill the virus on contact. He neither advocated drinking or injecting “Bleach.” That was the Media drawing conclusions unsupported by what was said.

      As for the “Vaccine.” To this date, recipients are required to sign a waiver giving up the right to seek redress against the manufacturer, should the “Vaccine” harm the health of the recipient. If that doesn’t set off alarm bells, you’re swallowing the Propaganda campaign Hook, Line and Sinker. If it’s truly so safe and effective, then there’s no need for the waiver.
      Not only are they close to mandating the vaccine, they’re forcing you to give up your rights related to the danger the Vaccine poses.
      Mandating the Vaccine and, Forced loss of Rights are in direct contradiction to the Nuremberg Laws.

    • For someone commenting on an article about the reliability of “fact-checking”, you seem remarkably devoid of any relationship to actual facts. Literally NONE of your examples are even close to objectively accurate.

      Try again, of STFU.

  2. From reading the context of Biden’s remarks, it is obvious he didn’t want to ban 9mm pistols.
    What he wanted, and failed to express, was a ban on higher capacity magazines.

    If you’re going to get your knickers in a wad, pick something that is worthy.

    Yes, fact checkers can be selective and biased, just as you have been.

    • Regardless of what was intended, what Biden expressed was contempt for people who want to own a gun capable of receiving a large (arbitrary number of rounds that will never be small enough) magazine.

      It is all part of the plan to make gun enthusiasts of all political stripes the “other” for wanting to own guns made in the last century. As others, we can be shamed, canceled, exiled, dehumanized, etc. by the largely ignorant and emotional masses.

      • how do you know what Biden meant without saying it? You don’t and the fact is that Biden has said it more than once. I’ll take what Biden said as fact and what you said as an attempt to cover for Biden.
        FYI 9mm handguns are not the only highguns made with high capacity magazines.

    • arlib…After mountains of Jim Crow Gun Control joe’s Gun Control rhetoric including authoring the 1994 Insane Clintoon Gun Ban it is impossible to be biased in any way towards Jim Crow Gun Control joe.

      Next time look beyond the end if your nose and you’ll see 9mm handguns are on his hit list as are all firearms. Only exception are the US Munitions that worthless Ratbassturd just left in the hands of terrorists.

    • No, it was not obvious. If it were obvious he would have specified magazines only. He didn’t do that.

      “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-millimeter pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things.”

      What does “those things” refer to? Can you read his mind, what’s left of it? No, you can’t. He also emphasized “weapon” twice, pistol and rifle once each and, again, never specified ​”magazines”, although that’s clearly inferred. I have written for a living my entire life. There is so much wiggle room in what Biden said that is impossible to conclude that all he meant were magazines. He wasn’t clear at all. This is also not the first time he has advocated against, specifically, 9mm. President Ice Cream Cone has tried to argue that a three-round limit in shotguns is good enough across the board.

      And since you are allegedly a fan of being technical, if you cap magazines at, say, 10 rounds, how many current 9mm will no longer be able to function? You may be able to design new magazines for those weapons. All of them? What about detachable magazines, period?

      Aside from that, use common sense. You think Biden would be happy with 19-round magazines instead of 20? Is this why some states have 10 max? You think they’re happy stopping at 10? NY tried to go lower. When does the left say enough is enough?

      How naïve can you get here?

      • Used to be when hunting with an sks it was legal to pin the 10rnd magazine limiting it to 5. That pin had to be spot welded in place. That’s Kansas dont know about the other states.

      • How about integral magazines? There are clip fed handguns as well as rifles. many of these integral magazines can be modified to hold more rounds, as can most magazines.

        This is much ado about nothing, except it is designed to create a creep of firearms to ban. There is always a reason – we have to stop them in their tracks NOW, before they do even more damage.

  3. The only thing that any of this means to me is that if you follow the media, social media, and the Democrats….

    You WILL be lied to. Perhaps by know-nothing idiots and maybe by America hating power-hungry pos’s with an agenda.

    But I already knew that.

    You can use Facebook/Twitter all you want but you will be manipulated, used, and lied to. It’s better to not be part of that. Just like choosing to not watch CNN. You cannot trust a ‘fact checker’ that can’t live in reality.

  4. The problem is that section 230 protects all of “Big Tech” from tort. This allows them to selectively destroy the free speech of anyone who takes a position they don’t like; and if you are a conservative, or a Republican, or a gun owner they don’t like you and will do whatever they can to deplatform you.

    Keep your powder dry cause something wicked this way comes!

  5. “[Biden] certainly has never taken pistols away from people who are legal gun owners.”

    — Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy

    The term “legal” was purposefully used by Mr. Webster so he could technically speak the truth while avoiding the larger truth. All that term means is that words are put to paper and codified into a State’s penal code. It does not equate with “moral/ethical” or “lawful”. For example, abortion is generally accepted as legal across our nation, but it’s certainly not moral to be killing the most innocent among us. Gun control in its entirety is legal, and that net can be tightened to dragnet more and more people on a whim.

    Yet our unfettered (hmm…unfringed?) ownership of guns is “lawful” under the USC.

    • Haz
      I must disagree “gun control in its entirely is legal ”
      HELL NO IT IS NOT! It is completely illegal, unconstitutional and all gun laws need to be abolished.

      • I’m struggling to understand how you missed my very clear point about the difference of legal and lawful.

        • I upstanding what your saying but i still stand by what I said. All gun control is illegal also unlawful. However anyone wants to say it. We potg have let the anti gun crowd run the narrative for far too long. This country only has one legitimate gun law. All others are infringements on said right. Its well past time that should be set straight. Won’t happen without CW2.0 but who really wants that?

  6. I think ganents should stick to catching fish.
    The called me raceiss when I voted against birds being taught to read. So be it, now we have fact checkers with bird brains.

  7. People manufactured a semi-retarded teen truant named Greta into a “Green” international celebrity. They also take investment advice from “social influencers” living at home who think GameStop is a great stock, too.

    Given the fact a lot of people seem to have recently fallen off the back of a turnip truck crossing the border, why be surprised at know-nothing twenty-somethings tucking dollars into their pockets for a living? If you’re looking around the room wondering who the bagholder is, it might be you.

  8. He said “9mm or whatever”. Why must we always give him the benefit of the doubt when her misspeaks? He could have just said the number of rounds he finds offensive, but he had to throw 9mm in there. Somebody makes 20 round mags for my SIG P365, an it’s in 9mm. So it’s a gun he’s talking about. Wishing it any won’t make it so.

  9. Checking facts used to be part of the job description for “journalists.” Now it’s the purview of smug, supercilious children with Mommy and Daddy issues and brain stem damage.

  10. I’m reminded of the scene in ‘Liar, Liar’ where Jim Carrey desperately tries, and fails, to say a pen is a different color from what it clearly is.

    • Props for including that. That was the funniest scene of the movie… well that and him kicking the crap out of himself in the bathroom… and I feel it’s an old enough movie that I don’t need to say spoiler alert. 😎

  11. Like everything else, the facts we must accept are arbitrary according to the needs of the Party. The Party says guns are bad, so we must accept that regardless that we know the Party is wrong on true facts. The Party has to keep control, they know they are outnumbered. If they allow one peasant to rise up unpunished, they know all peasants will rise up and the Party loses its power.

    These fact checkers feel power, they are exercising it against everyone who ever told them no one owed them a life, they have to earn their own way. What they don’t realize is their importance to the Party is over once the Party feels comfortable in its power.

  12. In my own examination of every fact check overlay I received on fb, I would say 95% are outright lies by anti-liberty, nanny staters. The nature of their beliefs and the “experts” they use to promote their “fact” checking, are lies.

    Lying liars conducting fact checking. Only in a leftist dystopia of deception and lies being called truth.

  13. So, here is my thought. If you call someone a liar, couldn’t almost call that libel or slander? So how about these fact checkers be held to that standard and since they are the ones making the claim, the burden of proof must fall on them to show that they were fully correct in their assertions. If they say the whole shebang is false yet there are parts that are true, then they and their parent company can be sued. If they claim that an opinion is false and you can prove it’s an opinion, they both can be sued. So on so forth. I have a feeling that soon enough, these little turds, let alone the company that hired them, would be more judicious in what they report as false. Also, anybody who is a source can be sued as well. I also believe that Facebook should be able to be sued because it is a publicly traded stock, so should be considered public domain. So they could be sued if a fact checker they pay, even through a secondary company, claims something is false when it isn’t. Here’s the thing, the only thing that will affect these companies is money. Money talks.

  14. The power of the media to lie unopposed is unbelievably powerful.

    I have yet, to convince my two left leaning neighbours that:
    a). Semi-Auto weapons are NOT automatic weapons and that automatics weapons are nearly completely illegal and difficult to get.
    b). the NRA does not advocate for criminals to get unrestricted access to the above “semi(or as they see them fully) automatic weapons.

    When I talk to them, I am able to explain to them the difference, but about 4 months later, I’ll get into the same conversation and the media will have “refuted” my statements.

    -so sad.

  15. On Second Opinion is a blog established to fact check the historians who argued for gun control in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases. Their Heller case brief is a classic example of experts beliefs repeatedly and directly contradicted by the very sources they cited. Root Causes of Never-Ending Second Amendment Dispute is a twenty-four part series fisking those errors and pointing out the extensive relevant information the historians simply ignored also contradicting their views. In addition to learning many facts regarding the Second Amendment’s origin and documenting its intent, you might very well enjoy having numerous PhD holding self proclaimed experts having their beliefs shredded and handed to them on a platter by a park ranger who likes to read boring historical documents and takes notes.
    Check out part 1: https://onsecondopinion.blogspot.com/2009/01/root-cause-of-never-ending-second.html

  16. all you can do is correct these folks on the liberal websites where the comments indicate a vast amount of misinformation….

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