No, Michelle Obama (shown) didn't say that. But the mainstream media came close.
Politifact immediately jumped on the fake news story that was beginning to gain traction on Friday following the ghastly atrocity in Florida by rating the story “Pants On Fire!” Politifact praised Facebook users who smelled the odor of fake news:
Facebook users flagged a suspicious post on a site called American President Donald J. Trump. The headline read, “Michelle Obama: Florida shooting is clearly Trump’s fault, these shootings are happening constantly since he became our president.”
Politifact searched for confirmation elsewhere and finding none, informed its readers “that former first lady Michelle Obama did not make those remarks … in any format whatsoever.” No website that picked up the story “should be trusted,” added the fact-checking service.
But members of the mainstream media covering the president’s statement of grief over the shooting came close to making that very accusation. Said Peter Alexander in an interview hosted by Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News on Friday evening, “Despite emphasizing mental health, the White House’s newly unveiled budget would slash funding for Medicaid that covers a quarter of mental health care in the U.S. And President Trump last year revoked a hotly-contested Obama-era regulation that would have made it harder for some people with mental illness to buy guns.”
Chip Reid, being interviewed on CBS Evening News on the day after the shooting, told host Jeff Glor: “Just last year, the president signed legislation reversing an Obama-era regulation that would have made it more difficult for some people with mental illness to buy guns.”
That same day Cecelia Vega told David Muir, host of ABC’s World News Tonight, “Shortly after taking office, President Trump blocked an Obama-era rule that made it tougher for the mentally ill to obtain guns.”
The implication was clear: by reversing an unconstitutional executive order that infringed Fourth Amendment rights of millions of citizens, Trump was somehow making it easier for crazies to get guns. Missing from these conversations was any mention of that, or any mention that the Florida shooter wasn’t on any “mental health list” at the time he purchased the firearm used in the shooting.
None of them even mentioned the claim the mainstream media picked up and repeated without thinking: that there have been 18 shootings at schools in the first 45 days of 2018, according to that bastion of unbiased analysis, Everytown for Gun Safety. John Lott, the founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of best-seller More Guns, Less Crime, put the torch to the lie:
To get 18, one has to count all instances from kindergarten through college where a gun was fired on or near school property. This includes a case of a police officer accidentally discharging his gun, as well as suicides — such as that of a 31-year-old military veteran with no connection to the school who killed himself in the school parking lot.
Excluding suicides, there have only been five cases where someone was actually shot at a K-12 school. Four actually involved a gun being fired on school property, and two of those resulted in fatalities.
Nor did any of the mainstream media talking airheads comment on the fact that the shooter knew in advance that the school was, by Florida law, a gun-free zone. Lott took them to task for that as well:
While Democrats keep pushing for gun control laws that won’t help, they won’t discuss the one change that might have made a difference: abolishing gun-free zones, where the defenselessness of general citizens is guaranteed by law.
It has long been held that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. In today’s era where true news and fake news are often intermingled, one must now extend that vigilance to include careful perusing of output from the mainstream media. Thanks to President Trump and his Twitter account, the cover has been blown on the liberal media’s promotion of its anti-freedom agenda disguised as genuine reporting. Its coverage of the Florida shooting is just one more unfortunate example of that bias.
Photo of Michelle Obama: Gage Skidmore