‘Anybody can buy any weapon, any time without much, if any, regulation…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) It is not the least bit uncommon for former President Barack Obama to fudge the facts when it comes to the self-aggrandizement of his mediocre legacy or the downplaying of his administration‘s deep-seated corruption issues.
On Tuesday, the Poynter Institute-based (read: Soros-funded) fact-checking operation debunked a torqued-up bit of anti-gun-rights rhetoric from Obama from a recent summit in Brazil.
The erstwhile community organizer claimed that, in the U.S., “Anybody can buy any weapon, any time without much, if any, regulation.”
PolitiFact added Obama’s two subsequent statements to its fact check: that guns can be purchased over the internet, and that it was legally possible to buy machine guns.
The catalyst for the fact-check, it noted, was the outraged reaction from conservative media outlets such as Townhall and The Blaze, even eliciting a response from National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch via Twitter:
Literally everything Obama says here is false. https://t.co/zObvw0HUgf
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 31, 2019
While PolitiFact’s prestidigitators were able to work their magic to soften the blow on Obama’s gun claim, qualifying it as merely “mostly false” instead of an outright mistruth, they did pick apart several nuances.
“The assertion that anybody can buy a weapon flies in the face of the many types of people, from felons to drug abusers to spouse abusers, who may not buy weapons,” it said.
Although it noted that online sales were legal, as Obama said—allowing them to give him points for a partial truth—“they take place under the same rules that govern other gun sales,” said the PolitiFact analysis.
“As for machine guns, they are strictly illegal, with the exception under legal controls of models from 1986 and earlier,” it added.
In its article criticizing the claim, The Blaze observed that the middle part of Obama’s claim, regarding online sales, also was brazenly misleading in context since he was speaking specifically about his experiences following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
“[T]he Sandy Hook shooter actually was prevented from purchasing a weapon, by our laws and regulations in this country,” wrote The Blaze’s Caleb Howe.
“In fact, that evil murderer had to steal a weapon to commit his heinous acts,” Howe said. “Stole them from his own mother, whom he murdered first.”
Rather than let their own fact-checking stand on its merits, PolitiFact later allowed an Obama official to continue to spin the comments with an addendum at the bottom of their analysis, somewhat defeating the purpose of an ‘impartial’ and ‘independent’ fact-check.
“Initially, we did not hear from Obama’s office, but after publication, Obama spokesman Eric Schultz sent us links to articles, including one from PolitiFact, that described how people circumvent gun laws,” the site posted in an update.
“But a plain reading of Obama’s words, by us and the firearms legal specialists we reached, is that he was describing current laws, not whether people were breaking them,” it said, deciding to maintain its “mostly false” rating.
PolitiFact was founded in 2007, meaning it was around for the entirety of Obama’s White House tenure, and it won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on his 2008 race against the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Of the 600 times it had fact-checked Obama as of June 2019, only 151, or 25 percent, were deemed below the halfway mark on truthfulness. Only 1 percent (9 claims) received its lowest rating of “Pants on Fire.”
By comparison, with President Donald Trump’s first term slightly past its halfway point, the site already has launched 679 fact-checking queries against him, of which it deemed 479 (70 percent) below the median mark of truthfulness.
It designated 15 percent of Trump’s statements as “Pants on Fire” and only 5 percent of its fact-checks against him as entirely truthful statements (Obama’s fully truthful rating was 20 percent).