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Thursday, March 19, 2009
ConWeb Seizes on Unverified WashTimes Editorial
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb eagerly repeated a Washington Times editorial -- not a "news" article, an editorial -- asserting that "President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology." The editorial contains no named sources or, really, any sources at all; only "multiple interviews" are cited, but no elaboration is provided.

The Times appears to extrapolate that claim from a report -- like the rest of the editorial, unsubstantiated -- that "The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots." But the editorial does not explain how moving money from one program to another equals the end of that program, nor does it say how much total money the training program has.

Despite lacking any verified claims, the ConWeb shilled the Times editorial as if it were ironclad:

  • Newsmax's David Patten cited "a report in Tuesday’s Washington Times" (again, it was an unsourced editorial, not a "news" article) to claim that Obama "wants to disarm U.S. pilots." Patten quoted "a Second Amendment advocate" criticizing the purported claim.
  •'s Susan Jones also uncritically repeated the Times' claim and quotes the head of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms criticizing it.

One thing neither Patten nor Jones bothered to do was contact anyone actually involved with the actual pilot training program -- the federal Transportation Safety Administration and the Air Line Pilots Association. According to, the TSA called the Times editorial "inaccurate," and the ALPA stated that the editorial editorial "couldn't be further from the truth."

Newsmax's Jim Meyers has posted a rewritten version of the Fox News story, while CNS has thus far not been moved to tell both sides of the story.l

(h/t ChattahBox)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2009 10:08 PM EDT

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