Back in 2016, a 20-year-old writer for a site called The Tab published a story headlined, “I was able to buy an AR-15 in five minutes.” A couple days ago, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, a Twitter user named @usaphotodude sent out a tweet quoting the headline and subhead of that piece along with the hashtag #GunReformNow. The tweet, which didn’t include a link to 20-month-old story, was liked and RT’d thousands of times.

One of the people who RT’d it this morning was CNN’s Chris Cuomo. He was immediately called out for it.

Indeed, the old article is misleading in a couple of ways. First, author Cody Davis never bought the gun. He was handed five pages of forms to fill out and then told the salesman he wanted to think about it and left the store. So he wasn’t actually able to buy the gun in 5 minutes. He was only able to walk in and get a photo with it. So the claim about being able to buy a rifle in 5 minutes is extremely misleading. Also, it’s not quite accurate that his ID was expired. In fact, Cody Davis had his recently expired ID on him along with a receipt showing he’d already renewed it. After he was called out for RTing the misleading claim, Cuomo moved the goalposts:

Well, no, that’s not the point. Because he didn’t “lack” an ID. He had an expired ID on him (which he’d renewed already) and more importantly he didn’t actually try to buy the gun. If he had, lack of ID would have stopped him. So Cuomo is adding one misleading claim on top of another here. In fact, it makes me wonder if he read the story at all. NRO’s Charles Cooke responded to Cuomo:

To be fair to Cuomo, the old article didn’t actually lie about what Cody Davis did, but the headline and subhead were both very misleading since he a) didn’t buy a gun and b) had renewed his ID. The fact that the tweet Chris Cuomo RT’d didn’t include a link to the story meant most people would never see that context.

Cuomo is right that the bogus story about pro-gun-control high school students being actors is garbage, but shouldn’t a CNN reporter be equally interested in avoiding falsehoods and misleading claims on both sides of this debate? This gets back to what I wrote a couple days ago about CNN crossing a line with the Parkland kids from reporting to a promotion of their agenda. Chris Cuomo seems to be falling in line here, behaving more like an activist with a popular cause (97% of people want it!) than a reporter. In fact, he explicitly warned Kurt Schlichter not to ask questions about the teen activists his network is busy promoting:

If it’s not acceptable to criticize teens making explicitly partisan political arguments on television, then CNN should stop putting those teens on television. You can’t promote these kids on air every day and then demand no one criticize them when they are saying millions of adults have blood on their hands and should be ashamed of themselves. That’s not how politics works. If you make a claim like that in public, people get to respond to it. Cuomo did eventually come around to admitting the story wasn’t what it appeared to be:

Again, this is moving the goalposts all over the field. They were willing to sell him one because there was no reason not to do so. Is Cuomo suggesting that no 20-year-old in Virginia (or anywhere) should be able to buy an AR-15? If so, he should just say that. What system of checks does he propose that would stop a 20-year-old from walking into a gun store and talking to a salesman for 5 minutes? But Cuomo clearly isn’t interested in the details, he’s on a political crusade:

It’s dishonest to make a case for background checks based on an old story about someone who never underwent a background check because he didn’t get as far as filling out the paperwork required. Cuomo ought to have just admitted right off the bat that the facts didn’t really apply to the argument he was making (probably because he didn’t read the story). Instead, he is sounding like an activist who is pushing for a cause, while simultaneously shielding the teen activists who are spearheading that cause from criticism. And please, let’s not pretend this isn’t a highly partisan point. The Parkland teens calling for gun control are explicitly anti-Trump, anti-GOP, and anti-NRA. CNN’s Chris Cuomo seems to be right there with them.

Update: Stephen Miller points out that this bogus story, circulated by Chris Cuomo to a million people, made it into President Trump’s listening session today.

I wonder where he heard this misleading story which CNN then covered as news?