The left-leaning website ThinkProgress was criticized for a report linking the National Rifle Association to Parkland, Fla. shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
On Friday, ThinkProgress published an article that claimed the NRA gave $10,000 to help train Cruz on firing a rifle, but the headline did not mention that the donation went to Marjory Stoneman High School’s JROTC program, in which Cruz was enrolled.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) February 17, 2018
The article was titled “The NRA donated $10,000 to help train the Parkland shooting suspect to use a rifle,” and featured a sub-headline that noted Cruz, a former student at the school, “practiced on indoor ranges shooting at targets the size of coin.”
The ThinkProgress piece mentioned in subsequent paragraphs that the four-person marksmanship team in which Cruz participated was part of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
The $10,000 donation was made out to the Stoneman Douglas JROTC–not to Cruz directly.
The article also noted further down that Cruz and his teammates trained with air rifles, not actual fire arms.
Other news outlets used similarly misleading headlines in reporting the NRA donation to the high school’s JROTC team.
When the shooting broke out on Wednesday, two members of the Stoneman Douglas JROTC program protected their classmates by using a kevlar curtain to shield the room from gunfire.
A number of readers pointed out the discrepancy between ThinkProgress’ headline and the story’s reporting.
Actual headline: “Parkland shooting suspect took part in an Army J-ROTC marksman course that the NRA sponsored.”
Sad to see that @thinkprogress cares more about clicks and lying to the American people than reporting the truth.
— Terry Ochal (@OchalNV) February 17, 2018
When are you going to add the part about JROTC to your story?
— Jon (@JonStillNotaBot) February 18, 2018
This is what’s wrong with our media, click bait lies (or bent truths)that people of all ages will say is a fact for years.
— Tristan Hopkins (@HopkinsTristan) February 17, 2018
He trained with a glorified BB gun for JROTC. Maybe tell the story of people he trained with that got their classmates to safety.
— Tim Bowers (@TimBowers62) February 17, 2018
The USMC taught Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot. Shall we disband the Marine Corp? Seriously….think a moment before you tweet and put the bong down.
— Just Rick? (@soonerrick) February 18, 2018
Headline is soooo misleading. Standard practice for y’all. #FakeNews
— J J the sQuirrel (@moseisleyport76) February 17, 2018
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