WaPo Fact Checker Slams Pelosi for 'Bogus Talking Point' on Guns

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December 17, 2019

A Washington Post fact-check released Thursday gave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) four Pinocchios for a "bogus talking point" about the number of children killed with firearms each year.

Pelosi has repeatedly claimed that 47 percent of gun deaths were "teenagers or children," according to the Post. CDC data show the real number is closer to 9 percent, meaning the House speaker exaggerates the true number by more than fivefold. This discrepancy led the Post to assign Pelosi's claim the harshest rating on its fact-checking scale.

"For months, in speeches, news conferences, tweets and interviews, Pelosi has been using a version of an incorrect talking point to make the firearms death toll for teenagers and children appear significantly higher than reality," the fact-check read. "When we queried her staff, we were told she had simply misspoken. But that was false, too."

When asked about the discrepancy, Pelosi's office said the speaker meant to say 47 teenagers or children were killed with guns per day. However, that number would amount to 43 percent of gun deaths, still very far from the CDC's findings.

The new claim from Pelosi's office, the Post said, seemingly "took advantage of" the paper's policy to not assign scores to false statements made by politicians who later correct themselves. The Post made an exception to the policy and gave Pelosi four Pinocchios, its harshest possible score.