Twitter is reportedly launching an effort to rein in “lies and misinformation posted by politicians and other public figures,” and one of the samples reported by NBC News recently was a message from Sen. Bernie Sanders about gun sales without background checks that was demonstrably false, and a leading rights organization is calling on the senator to correct the record.
Sanders, who is currently leading in the race for the Democrat party’s nomination, is running as a Democrat Socialist. In a tweet about gun control, he recently posted this message: “Forty percent of the guns in this country are sold without any background checks. We have to end the absurdity of the gun show loophole.”
But Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the grassroots Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, says that’s just not true, and he pointed to a Fact Checker article in the Washington Post as proof.
“Truth always seems to be the first casualty when gun control advocates start talking,” Gottlieb said in a statement to the media, “but Bernie ought to know better. That 40 percent claim has been debunked so many times in the past, especially when Barack Obama used it, that one would think Sanders might have heard about it. The Washington Post Fact Checker took Obama to the wood shed when he repeated the claim a few years ago, and surely Sanders must remember. He can’t be that long in the tooth.”
There was no immediate reaction from Sanders or his campaign. Maybe they were too busy trying to respond to a suggestion from the campaign manager for billionaire Michael Bloomberg, whose campaign office in Knoxville, Tennessee was vandalized Thursday night. Someone spray-painted “oligarch,” “classist,” “authoritarian” and “F—k Bloomberg” on the campaign office door, according to the Daily Caller.
Campaign manager Kevin Sheekey reportedly acknowledged his organization doesn’t really know who is responsible for the vandalism.
Twitter, according to NBC, is targeting what it calls “harmfully misleading” information, and Sanders’ posted message is being used as an example. Gottlieb read the tweet and suggested that it may be time to require a waiting period before politicians start discussing subjects they don’t know anything about.
“Bernie’s estimate comes from a very small telephone survey done more than 25 years ago, during the Clinton administration, and it has been discredited,” Gottlieb recalled. “But for some reason, this 40 percent claim has become something of an urban legend that too many people persist in repeating. Maybe they think that if they say it often enough, it will become the truth.
“Frankly,” the veteran gun rights advocate explained, “we’re delighted Twitter is trying to identify disinformation, and using Bernie’s bogus tweet as an example just might send a message to other people—especially his rivals on the Democratic presidential campaign trail—to be more careful, especially when talking about Second Amendment issues.
“It would help for Sanders to come clean and admit the mistake,” Gottlieb added. “Then, again, he’s running as a Democrat Socialist, so we probably shouldn’t hold out much hope.”