Fox 5 Chief Investigative Reporter Told Different Versions Of "Home Invasion" Story That Propelled Her Into Gun Advocacy
Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON
Emily Miller, chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG (Fox 5), has given different accounts of a 2010 "home invasion" in order to "squeeze the story for additional terror" in support of her pro-gun advocacy, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reported.
Miller has recently faced scrutiny because she works for Fox 5 as a reporter who frequently covers local gun laws while also appearing at local pro-gun rallies as an activist for gun rights. WTTG, for the first time, identified Miller as "a proponent of Second Amendment rights" before her latest report on D.C. gun laws.
In her book Emily Gets Her Gun ...But Obama Wants to Take Yours and while serving as the gun blogger for the conservative Washington Times, Miller described becoming involved as a gun advocate after a home she was watching for a friend was burglarized on January 1, 2010. The incident led Miller to write a series of articles on navigating the requirements to own a gun in D.C. which turned into a book that also alleged President Obama is plotting to disarm Americans. In conservative media circles Miller has become a go-to voice for pro-gun commentary and she often shares her burglary account to set up her often misleading arguments in favor of looser gun laws.
In a February 26 article, Wemple, who writes a reported opinion blog on the media, described how Miller has changed her account of the burglary in order to "please" a pro-gun audience.
In her first post for Washington Times' gun blog and in her book Miller described encountering "a man coming from the house" and hours later realized he had been inside and taken her wallet after receiving a phone call from her credit card company.
But in subsequent tellings, including a dramatization of the story by the National Rifle Association for it's All Access series, Miller claimed to have encountered the man inside of the home and needing to "talk him out of the house without" being harmed.
Miller's original story, about encountering the man outside of the home, is backed by a police report of the incident and by the recollections of the homeowner, Wemple reported. According to experts contacted by Wemple, a home invasion is generally understood to be the invasion of an occupied dwelling.
According to Wemple, the discrepancies in Miller's story -- namely whether the incident occurred inside or outside -- are significant because it is a story "to which Miller has hitched her career... Nothing animates lobbying pushes quite like the story of a criminal invading the home of a law-abiding citizen."
Referencing recent controversy over Miller's dual role as a reporter and Second Amendment advocate, Wemple wrote that "the migration of Miller's story from a terrifying front-yard encounter to an unthinkably terrifying home invasion stands as a warning sign to journalists who become too beholden to a cause. Facts suffer when you seek to please an audience."
The revelations over Miller's "home invasion" story follow Wemple's February 25 report that that Miller's latest WTTG appearance included the disclosure that Miller "is a proponent for Second Amendment Rights."
WTTG's disclosure does not resolve criticism of Miller's pro-gun advocacy -- which journalism experts have identified as a clear violation of journalistic ethics -- although the identifier of Miller as both a "proponent" and a "reporter" does bring the issue into focus.
Media Matters documented two recent appearances by Miller at pro-gun rallies outside of the capitols of Maryland and Virginia. At each event, attendees were urged to enter the legislature to lobby for looser gun laws after listening to speeches by Miller and other pro-gun advocates. The Maryland rally was organized in part by the NRA while the Virginia event was organized by extremist gun group Virginia Citizens Defense League.
Journalism experts contacted by Media Matters criticized Miller's advocacy as a breach of journalistic ethics. Patrick Pexton, a former Washington Post ombudsman, said that Miller should not advocate for gun rights while still a reporter and later said, "To call her a reporter is a stretch. She's more like an activist; there's no pretense of objectivity here. Emily Miller can call herself whatever she wants, it's a free country. Free enough that we can see right through her."
Miller, who often appears on Fox News to discuss gun issues, was similarly identified during a February 26 appearance on Fox & Friends as a "Second Amendment rights proponent" who is also "an investigative reporter for WTTG."
According to a review of internal Media Matters archives, Miller was previously solely identified as an "investigative reporter" during her last six appearances on Fox News (dating to October 2014) to discuss gun issues.