The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft said the Trump administration has promised that the site will “have a White House correspondent this year.” Hoft's website is one of the worst purveyors of false information on the internet, having repeatedly fallen for fake stories, published numerous articles with factual inaccuracies (later pulling some, but leaving others uncorrected), and pushed fact-free conspiracy theories about a wide range of topics including President Obama’s birthplace.
22 Times Jim Hoft And The Gateway Pundit Were Absurdly Wrong:
Jim Hoft: “We've Got” The Trump Administration’s “Word That The Gateway Pundit Is Going To Have A White House Correspondent.” During a January 19 event, Gateway Pundit editor Jim Hoft announced that the Trump administration promised that his site would have a White House correspondent and Hoft said Lucian Wintrich would fill the position:
JIM HOFT: The new administration, we've been in contact with. As you know, the Gateway Pundit -- I'm based out of St. Louis, Missouri, I have the largest website in the middle America, I have the largest political website --
MIKE CERNOVICH: One million people a day. Tell them.
HOFT: During the election, I had one million readers a day come to Gateway Pundit. Thank you, thank you. And the reason was because I was telling the truth, and the mainstream media was telling the fake fucking news.
And so, today, we have a great announcement to make. We've been talking to the Trump administration -- what was that? Real news, real news, real news, real news, real news. I love you, Pamela.
So tonight, we have this announcement, we've been in contact with the Trump administration, they're going to do some things different, and we've got their word that the Gateway Pundit is going to have a White House correspondent this year, and his name is Lucian Wintrich. [Media Matters, 1/19/17]
Lucian Wintrich Says He Will Be In White House Press Briefings “In A Few Weeks.” [Twitter, 1/22/17]
BuzzFeed Analysis: Trump Tweeted Out Gateway Pundit Links 14 Times During Campaign. On December 3, BuzzFeed “analyzed all the links Donald Trump tweeted since he launched his presidential campaign” and found that he shared links to Gateway Pundit 14 times. [BuzzFeed, 12/3/16]
Trump’s Campaign Website Repeatedly Cited Gateway Pundit. Trump’s campaign website cited Gateway Pundit and linked to its work in multiple instances, according to a Media Matters search of the site. [DonaldJTrump.com, 6/16/15, 6/16/15, 6/17/15,; accessed 1/20/17]
WH Press Secretary Has Tweeted Out Gateway Pundit Links. White House press secretary Sean Spicer has tweeted out links to Gateway Pundit, including on January 11. [Twitter, 1/11/17, 3/25/14, 3/25/14, 12/4/12]
Trump Administration Wants To Flood White House Press Briefings With Sycophants And Propagandists. [Media Matters, 1/17/17]
Trump Team Is Building Up Alternative Pro-Trump Media Outlets. Trump and his aides have been building up pro-Trump alternatives in the media. Those outlets include Alex Jones’ Infowars, Breitbart.com, Right Side Broadcasting Network, and One America News Network. [Media Matters, 1/17/17]
Trump Has Repeatedly Sought To Delegitimize Media Outlets He Deems Insufficiently Pro-Trump. [Media Matters, 1/17/17]
Wash. Post Reporter Abby Ohlheiser: Gateway Pundit “In The Weeks Before The Election, Regularly Published Outright False Stories That Became Talking Points On The Conservative Internet.” [The Washington Post, 12/7/16]
Wash. Post Reporter Callum Borchers: “‘Telling The Truth,’ Is Not, By Any Objective Measure, What The Gateway Pundit Does.” Borchers said the website is “known for spreading hoaxes” and that it would “bring a record of reckless unreliability to the White House.” [The Washington Post, 1/20/17]
Kimberly Ross Writing For Conservative Blog RedState: Gateway Pundit Is A “Purveyor Of Fake News” And Features “Absolutely Incorrect Reporting.” [RedState, 1/16/17]
BuzzFeed Editor Craig Silverman: Gateway Pundit "Often Posts False Information." [BuzzFeed, 1/24/17]
Here Are 22 Times Gateway Pundit And Jim Hoft Were Absurdly Wrong
The following are examples of some -- but certainly not all -- of the most egregious mistakes from Gateway Pundit and Jim Hoft over the years.
Gateway Pundit Falsely Claimed Wash. Post Reporter Snuck Photos At Tillerson Hearing. Gateway Pundit started the false story that Washington Post homepage editor Doris Truong “was caught on film sneaking photos of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s personal notes at his hearing today before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee,” based on a photo of an Asian woman seemingly directing her phone at the papers. (The site later updated the piece to include the Post’s statement that the woman in the photo was not Truong.) The claim soon spread to the Drudge Report and Sarah Palin and spurred harassment against Truong that she likened to her “own personal Pizzagate”:
Before I could do anything about it, someone had decided the woman was me. No one ever bothered to contact me, but it was this post that Twitter seized upon overnight. By the time I woke up, trolls had commented on social media channels besides Twitter. My Facebook feed had dozens of angry messages from people I didn’t know, as did comments on my Instagram account. Even my rarely used YouTube channel attracted attention. My emails and my voicemail included messages calling me “pathetic” and a “sneaky thief.”
A lot of the comments also focused on my Chinese heritage, implying — or outright stating — that I must be spying for China. Some called for an FBI investigation of what they deemed illegal behavior.
The woman at the hearing wasn’t me. I wasn’t there, and I don’t know who she is. What we have in common is that we’re both women, and we’re both Asian. However, that should not be enough grounds for people to jump to dangerous conclusions. [The Gateway Pundit, 1/11/17; Media Matters, 1/12/17; BuzzFeed, 1/12/17; The Huffington Post, 1/13/17; The Washington Post, 1/12/17]
Gateway Pundit Used The Headline “WOW! Look At MASSIVE LINE To Trump’s Town Hall Event” Above A Picture From The Championship Parade Following The Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA Finals Victory:
[Media Matters, 8/4/16]
NY Times Documented How Gateway Pundit Started A Fake News Story. The New York Times wrote a November 20 piece documenting how “fake news goes viral” and highlighting Gateway Pundit’s role in spreading a fake story about paid anti-Trump protesters:
Eric Tucker, a 35-year-old co-founder of a marketing company in Austin, Tex., had just about 40 Twitter followers. But his recent tweet about paid protesters being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Donald J. Trump fueled a nationwide conspiracy theory — one that Mr. Trump joined in promoting.
Mr. Tucker's post was shared at least 16,000 times on Twitter and more than 350,000 times on Facebook. The problem is that Mr. Tucker got it wrong. There were no such buses packed with paid protesters.
Around 6 p.m., the conservative blog Gateway Pundit posted a story using Mr. Tucker’s images under the headline “Figures. Anti-Trump Protesters Were Bussed in to Austin #FakeProtests.” The post, which included a mention of “Soros money,” has been shared on Facebook more than 44,000 times, according to statistics on the website.
The story line became a prominent one throughout the conservative blogosphere, with other sites incorporating Mr. Tucker’s tweet into posts about paid protesters, referring to him as an eyewitness in Austin. [The New York Times, 11/20/16]
Gateway Pundit: “BREAKING: Far Left Group Is Paying Activists A Monthly Salary To Stop TRUMP.” The Washington Post documented a hoax that Gateway Pundit and other conservative websites fell for, in which a group called Demand Protest claimed to provide paid protesters on behalf of liberal causes:
The website for an organization calling itself Demand Protest made its mission pretty clear: “When your strategy demands paid protest, we organize and bring it to life.” Billing itself as a group that generated the “appearance of outrage” on behalf of left-wing causes, the existence of Demand Protest became an attractive story for many right-wing media outlets. The group, it appeared, was proof that dissent against Trump was manufactured by shady leftist organizations, and could be lucrative: one Backpage.com ad placed in Demand Protest’s name promised a full-time job that paid a $2,500 retainer, plus $50/hr., and benefits.
It was the perfect story to share, if you’re inclined to believe that anti-Trump protesters must be getting paid to be there. Something to that effect has long been in the canon of largely unsubstantiated rumors circulating on the Trump Internet. A well-known fake news writer even fabricated an “interview” with a protester who said he was paid $3,500 to protest at a Trump rally — a story that was shared on Twitter by Trump’s then-campaign manager. And like that made-up story, it also appears that Demand Protest is a made-up group, one that fooled quite a few news sources before being dramatically debunked on-air by Tucker Carlson.
Here’s an incomplete look at how we got here: a few days ago, the Gateway Pundit wrote a piece titled “BREAKING: Far Left Group Is Paying Activists a Monthly Salary to Stop TRUMP,” and cited 4Chan in mentioning a possible link between Demand Protest and George Soros. InfoWars was a bit more skeptical, hedging their story on Demand Protest as a “report” and writing that “it’s unclear if the DemandProtest.com website is actually legitimate.” The Washington Times also credulously reported on the Backpage ads. Breitbart, meanwhile, used the ads as evidence in an article that suggested that fears of pro-Trump inauguration violence was “fake news.”
Tucker Carlson’s bizarre on-camera interview with a Demand Protest representative who gave his name as “Dom Tullipso” felt like a piece of performance art, something even Carlson himself said out loud in the middle of the interview.
“So, this is a sham, your company isn’t real, your website is fake, the claims you have made are lies, this is a hoax,” Carlson began, before saying that his team couldn’t find a record of a person by the name “Dom Tullipso.” [The Washington Post, 1/18/17]
Gateway Pundit Falsely Claimed John Podesta Said “It’s OK For Illegals To Vote With Driver’s License”
Gateway Pundit “Podesta Says It’s OK for Illegals to Vote With Driver’s License.” Hoft wrote a post claiming that Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta endorsed the idea of undocumented immigrants voting illegally with driver’s licences in hacked WikiLeaks emails. He published a blog with the headline “WIKILEAKS: Podesta Says It’s OK for Illegals to Vote With Driver’s License.” [Media Matters, 10/20/16]
Email Was Not About Immigrants. The email Hoft was referring to was not about immigrants. As FactCheck.org noted, the email in question said “not one word about illegal immigrants. Nor does it say anything about encouraging fraudulent votes. Instead, the apparent email chain, from early 2015, is a discussion about whether the campaign should propose ways to make it easier for people to register to vote. The email is based on a poll one of the staffers sent on millennials, who said they favored online voting.” [Media Matters, 10/20/16; FactCheck.org, 10/21/16]
Gateway Pundit Posted -- Then Removed -- Article Claiming Clinton Campaign Manager Deleted Tweets Because Of FBI Announcement
Gateway Pundit: “Hillary Campaign Manager Deletes Twitter Timeline.” Hoft posted an October 2016 article claiming that “Clinton Campaign Manager Robbie Mook just deleted his Twitter timeline. Wow!” Hoft suggested the supposed deletions were in response to the FBI’s announcement that it was reviewing more emails that were possibly linked to Clinton’s email server. [Snopes.com, 10/29/16]
Mook Didn’t Delete Anything -- He Just Didn’t Tweet Until October 2016. As Snopes.com noted, “Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, joined Twitter in April 2015 but didn't post anything to the service until 26 October 2016. The lack of activity on his account was not due to a cover-up; rather, it shows that he simply doesn't use the service very often.” It also noted that “Gateway Pundit did not point to a single tweet that Mook had purportedly deleted or provide any evidence that his Twitter account was altered after the FBI's announcement. The Gateway Pundit deleted their article shortly after publication.” [Snopes.com, 10/29/16]
Gateway Pundit: “Barack Obama Had His Own 2012 Confederate Flag Pin. After a national debate arose over the Confederate flag when a white man killed nine black people at a church in Charleston, S.C., Hoft posted a 2015 article headlined “FIGURES. Barack Obama Had His Own 2012 Confederate Flag Pin.” It stated that “Democrats have been using Confederate flags in their campaigns for decades” and “Barack Obama had his own Confederate flag campaign pin… in 2012!” [The Gateway Pundit, 6/23/15]
Confederate Flag Pin Was Not Produced By The Campaign. Snopes.com noted that “the pictured button was not an official 2012 presidential campaign pin. … It appears that someone simply Photoshopped the pin or ordered it through a custom print shop service such as Zazzle.com in order to capitalize on the current Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina, during which vendors such as eBay, Walmart, and Zazzle announced they would stop selling Confederate flag memorabilia.” [Snopes.com, 6/24/15]
Gateway Pundit: “Look How CNN Doctored Photo Of Ft. Lauderdale Shooter Esteban Santiago.” As The Daily Beast noted, bloggers like Hoft “invented an elaborate and racist conspiracy theory that CNN had lightened a photo of alleged Fort Lauderdale airport shooter Esteban Santiago shortly after the Friday attack. … Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft even wrote a story about the so-called incident, titled ‘Look How CNN Doctored Photo of Ft. Lauderdale Shooter Esteban Santiago,’ which had 2,500 shares in its first hour on Facebook, according to BuzzSumo. ‘It appears CNN doctored the photo to make the suspect look more white,’ wrote Hoft. ‘Sad.’” [The Daily Beast, 1/6/17]
Story About CNN Was A Hoax. The Daily Beast wrote of the claims: “In reality, CNN had yet to air a picture of Santiago, let alone lightened a picture of him.” The picture used was also of a different Esteban Santiago. Hoft later added a note to his post: “An earlier version of this story claimed CNN had doctored a photo of the killer. The photo was not accurate and was not posted by CNN today after the Ft. Lauderdale shooting.” [The Daily Beast, 1/6/17; The Gateway Pundit, 1/6/17]
Gateway Pundit: “CNN Photoshops The Photo Of Oregon Killer Chris Harper-Mercer To Make HIm Look White.” As Little Green Footballs noted, Jim Hoft reacted to the 2015 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon by claiming CNN whitened the skin of the shooter. From LGF’s screenshot of the post at the time:
[Little Green Footballs, 10/4/15]
CNN Did Not Alter The Skin Color Of The Photo. CNN media reporter Brian Stelter tweeted that the photo is “not real” and that CNN “hasn’t shown any images of [the] gunman.” Snopes.com also wrote that the image was fake. [Twitter, 10/4/15; Snopes.com, 10/5/15]
Gateway Pundit: “Tests Show That Barack Obama's Birth Certificate Is a Forgery.” Hoft headlined a post “Tests Show That Barack Obama's Birth Certificate Is a Forgery” and claimed that far-right blog “Atlas [Shrugs] had tests performed on Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate that was posted at the Far Left Daily Kos blog and the Barack Obama Fight the Smears website. … After an expert friend evaluated the tests, Atlas announced that the Obama certificate of live birth document posted at Daily Kos is a forgery.”
[The Gateway Pundit, 7/20/08]
Obama’s Birth Certificate Is Not A Forgery. [PolitiFact, March 2011]
Gateway Pundit Claimed San Diego High School Rescinded “Obama Invite After Discovering His” Birth Certificate Was Fake. From Hoft’s May 2011 piece:
[Media Matters, 5/13/11]
The Birth Certificate Article Was Satire. Hoft’s article was from the San Diego Reader's satire section, which is called: "SD on the QT: Almost Factual News.” Hoft subsequently removed his post. [Media Matters, 5/13/11]
Gateway Pundit: “Michelle Obama Deletes Hillary Tweets From Her Timeline.” Hoft wrote:
[The Gateway Pundit, 11/1/16]
Michelle Obama-Clinton Deletion Story Was False. As CNN’s Brian Stelter noted, the story was false and “the deleted-tweets claim could have been disproven by a quick Twitter search.” Fox News host Sean Hannity, who blamed Gateway Pundit for the error, was forced to issue a correction for running with the story. [CNN.com, 11/1/16]
Gateway Pundit: “POSTAL WORKER Brags Online About Destroying Trump Ballots.” The Daily Beast summarized how Hoft fell for an obvious Twitter joke in which a user said he loves “working at the post office in Columbus, Ohio and ripping up absentee ballots that vote for trump.” Hoft ended up trumpeting the joke tweet as a major scandal:
You don’t have to be a great intellect to get that this is obviously a joke. For starters, @randygdub’s Twitter bio says he’s from California. And it takes about 60 seconds to go through his timeline and see that many of the tweets there are, well, not meant to be taken literally.
But Jim Hoft, the sage political mind behind the GatewayPundit blog, didn’t do that. Instead, at 9:17 a.m. on Monday morning, he wrote a blog post about RandyGDub’s tweet with this headline: “POSTAL WORKER Brags Online About Destroying Trump Ballots”
Reached for comment Monday afternoon—when it was obvious he had fallen for a joke—Hoft told The Daily Beast he didn't find the situation amusing. And he suggested Twitter might consider banning @randyGDub. [The Daily Beast, 10/17/16]
Gateway Pundit: “Hillary Clinton Has Seizure On Camera. Or Maybe It Was Something Else?” Hoft posted a piece repeatedly suggesting that Clinton suffered a seizure on camera. He headlined his piece “Wow! Did Hillary Clinton Just Suffer a Seizure on Camera?” and posted video of Clinton reacting jokingly to a reporter’s question. He commented: “The poor woman is in worse shape than we thought. Hillary Clinton has seizure on camera. Or maybe it was something else?” [The Gateway Pundit, 7/23/16]
Clinton Did Not Suffer A Seizure. Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer, the reporter who asked the question Clinton responded to in Hoft’s video, debunked Hoft’s claim in an August article:
Perhaps eager to avoid answering or maybe just taken aback by our volume, Clinton responded with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds. Video of the moment shows me holding out my recorder in front of her, laughing and stepping back in surprise. After the exchange, she took a few more photos, exited the shop and greeted supporters waiting outside.
Two months later, that innocuous exchange has become the fodder for one of some Trump supporters' most popular conspiracy theories: her failing health. Where I saw evasiveness, they see seizures. [The Associated Press, 8/12/16]
Gateway Pundit: “CAUGHT ON VIDEO=> Hillary Supporters Smash ‘Trump Car’ in Black Neighborhood.” Hoft wrote that “YouTuber Joey Salads held a social experiment recently. He parked a car with Trump stickers in a ‘black neighborhood’ to see what happens. It took 30 minutes before the Democrats started looting the car and beating out the windows.” [The Gateway Pundit, 10/17/16]
Gateway Pundit Fell For A Hoax Video. The racist Joey Salads video was a hoax. As The Daily Beast noted:
The only problem? The entire video was staged.
Pedro Torres said he was on the fifth floor of a building in Staten Island’s Park Hill neighborhood, when he saw the video being shot in a parking lot outside.
“To be honest with you I was just chilling and I look outside the window and see Joey,” Torres, 17, told The Daily Beast. “I [know he’s] known for making shitty vids, and I [know] they were all fake. I wanted to show the world that the videos were actually fake.” [The Daily Beast, 10/20/16]
Gateway Pundit: “Without Illegal Vote Tally Trump Would Have Won Popular Vote In A Landslide.” A post by Joe Hoft (Jim’s brother) claimed, “It has been widely reported that there were more than 3 million votes cast by illegal aliens and most, if not all these votes, were cast for Hillary Clinton. When accounting for these votes, Trump beat Clinton by more than 1 million in the popular vote.” [The Gateway Pundit, 11/24/16]
“Illegal Aliens” Did Not Cast “3 Million Votes.” Numerous media outlets have debunked the lie -- repeated by Trump -- that undocumented immigrants cast 3 million (or more) votes during the 2016 election. [PolitiFact, 11/18/16; Politico, 11/27/16; The Washington Post, 11/27/16]
Gateway Pundit: White House “Ask[ed] For” Applause At Tucson Event. Hoft claimed that the White House asked the audience for “applause” during President Obama’s speech at a 2011 memorial at the University of Arizona following the mass shooting in Tucson.
[Media Matters, 1/15/11]
Gateway Pundit Mistook Closed Captioning For Instructions. The text that Hoft thought featured instructions was actually closed captioning. A spokesperson for the University of Arizona told Media Matters at the time: "The text you see on the screen was part of the closed captioning provided for the individuals in attendance who were hearing impaired." [Media Matters, 1/18/11]
Gateway Pundit: Obama “Wants To Ban Sport Fishing.” In 2010, Hoft ran the headline "Obama's Latest Assault on Freedom-New regulations Will Ban Sport Fishing." The post claimed that Obama "wants to ban sport fishing." [Media Matters, 3/10/10]
Obama Didn’t Ban Sport Fishing. As PolitiFact noted at the time, conservatives like Hoft were twisting a draft framework that “says nothing about banning fishing. … While the panel's recommendation could change fishing practices in some areas, the framework is still in draft form; the administration has not made any final decisions on what the framework will look like.” Obama did not ban sport fishing during his administration. [PolitiFact, 3/17/10]
False Gateway Pundit Headline: "SHOCKING: Obamacare Provision Will Allow ‘Forced’ Home Inspections." PolitiFact noted that conservative bloggers claimed in 2013 that a provision of the Affordable Care Act allows “forced home inspections” by government agents. It noted that Hoft ran the headline "SHOCKING: Obamacare Provision Will Allow ‘Forced’ Home Inspections." [PolitiFact, 8/21/13]
PolitiFact On “Forced” Home Inspections Claim: “Pants On Fire” False. As PolitiFact noted, “The program they pointed to provides grants for voluntary help to at-risk families from trained staff like nurses and social workers. What bloggers describe would be an egregious abuse of the law — not what’s allowed by it. We rate the claim Pants on Fire.” [PolitiFact, 8/21/13]
Gateway Pundit Suggested Obama Was “Photoshopped Into Famous Situation Room Photo” Taken During Bin Laden Raid
Gateway Pundit: “It Must Be A Fake.” Hoft ran a post with the headline “Swedish Paper: Obama Photoshopped into Famous Situation Room Photo.” Hoft gave the report credence, writing: “They say Obama was photoshopped into the picture. [The paper] insists that the president was just way too small in the picture. It must be a fake. … Obama was really out golfing that day.” [The Gateway Pundit, 12/8/11]
There Is No Evidence That Photo Was Photoshopped. [Media Matters, 12/8/11]
Gateway Pundit: “Obama Gives Melania Trump A Little Butt Pat On The Way Out The Door. Hoft wrote a January 22 post with the headline “Obama Gives Melania Trump a Little Butt Pat on the Way Out the Door” and embedded an image purporting to show that Obama patted first lady Melania Trump on the butt. From the Google cache of his post:
The Image Gateway Pundit Posted Was Photoshopped. As BuzzFeed noted, the supposed Obama-Melania Trump image is “a very badly Photoshopped image” and “so bad that you can literally still see some of Obama’s original arm in the photo.” Hoft later deleted his post. [BuzzFeed, 1/24/17]
Gateway Pundit: “This Changes Things- Loughner's Hero Was Barack Obama.” Following the mass shooting in Tucson, AZ, Hoft headlined a 2011 piece about shooter Jared Loughner by writing: "Whoops! This Changes Things- Loughner's Hero Was Barack Obama.” He then linked to the shooter’s supposed Facebook page to claim that “Loughner idolized Barack Obama." [Media Matters, 1/10/11]
The Supposed Facebook Page Spelled Loughner’s Name Incorrectly. Gateway Pundit fell for a hoax Facebook page. The page spelled Loughner’s name as “Laughner” and was one of several fake Facebook pages created after the shooting. Gateway Pundit later removed the article and acknowledged it was “inaccurate.” [Media Matters, 1/10/11