As America has learned the hard way, misinformation and complete lies spread quickly in tense moments as major national stories unfold, typically to push one narrative or agenda over another. Friday’s tragic shooting massacre in Santa Fe, Texas, is just the latest example of rampant misinformation.
But one local Houston reporter was there to debunk the lies and shine a light on the truth.
As Ben Shapiro noted at the Daily Wire, CNN was quick to claim that Friday’s tragedy was the 22nd school shooting this year.
Including today’s shooting incident at a Texas high school, this year there have already been 22 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to more than 1 shooting a week. https://t.co/DL1wCUAipq pic.twitter.com/Qsw0WlLlJv
— CNN (@CNN) May 18, 2018
However, as Shapiro pointed out, CNN’s standards for “shooting” are not exactly on par with what happened at Santa Fe High School or at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Included in CNN’s inflated number are non-purposeful shootings (accidental discharges) that occur on school campuses, gang violence and domestic violence, university shootings and incidents that did not even include pupils.
In addition to CNN’s claim, another claim, this one alleging there have been 18 school shootings, also circulated. Meanwhile, claims Friday’s killer used an AR-15 rifle quickly circulated on social media, despite officials confirming he used a shotgun and handgun he stole from his family.
To combat the misinformation, KHOU-TV reporter Tiffany Craig placed information in three columns on a screen while reporting on the story. One column included verified information, the middle column included reported, but unverified information and the last column contained information about the massacre that had been confirmed untrue.
Two more things to mention that go in the “false column.” Social media has been abuzz today with this. There are a couple of things to mention in here. The first one is this information that there were 18 school shootings in 2018. This number — 18 — is not mass shootings like what you’re seeing today here in Santa Fe. These include smaller incidents that might be around the school or even suicides, and all of those numbers get pooled together and they’re presented in a way like this that instills fear in some people. So this is a false piece of information, and we want to let you know that.
And one other thing that just came about, there are a lot of reports saying that an AR-15 was used. According to officials here in Santa Fe, an AR-15 was not used in this school shooting.
Updated and #verified info on #SantaFeHighschool shooting #khou11 #tegna @tegna #verify pic.twitter.com/aKuIoPJMyA
— Tiffany KHOU (@TiffanyKHOU) May 18, 2018