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Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting

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  • Nevada Attorney General corrects Fox News reporter’s misleading claim about the Las Vegas shooter

    AG Adam Laxalt: “As of right this moment, it is still a single person operation”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt immediately corrected misleading reporting on Fox News claiming that Las Vegas authorities currently believe that the gunman that killed scores of people from the Mandalay Bay hotel had an accomplice. He explained that despite the report on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, “The Clark County Sheriff has gone on the record saying that he believes Stephen Paddock did have an accomplice in all this.”

    Laxalt stated “the Sheriff did not say there was any evidence of an accomplice,” and that “I think he was expressing what we all feel, which is it’s hard to believe that a crime of this magnitude could have been done by one person.” Laxalt additionally stated “as of right this moment, it is still a single person operation.” From the October 5 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:

    TRACE GALLAGHER: The Clark County Sheriff has gone on the record saying that he believes Stephen Paddock did have an accomplice in all this. He said he would be Superman if he did not have an accomplice, and pulled this off on his own.

    We have now learned that in the days running up to this shooting, that Stephen Paddock was gambling very heavily inside the Mandalay Bay for hours at a time, seven, eight hours at a time, also drinking heavily, and that he was with a female companion. Police are now looking for that female companion.

    And there are reports tonight that his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told the FBI in her five and a half hours of interviews yesterday, that he may have had some mental issues, that she would see him on the bed moaning, things like "Oh, my god," and screaming "Oh, my god." Four days later, Tucker, still no motive for this mass shooting.

    TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is playing a major role in that investigation, of course, and he joins us tonight with the latest. Mr. Attorney General, thanks a lot for coming on. So, I'm sure you've got to be as anxious as anyone to understand why this man, Paddock, did something like this. Are you any closer to figuring that out?

    ADAM LAXALT: You know, I'd like to correct at least one thing that was said in the last segment. You know, the Sheriff did not say there was any evidence of an accomplice. I think he was expressing what we all feel, which is it’s hard to believe that a crime of this magnitude could have been done by one person.

    CARLSON: Yes.

    LAXALT: But as of right this moment, it is still a single person operation. And, you know, dealing with this horrific tragedy here in our great city, it has been a real shocker for all of us, but people have really pulled together to try to get some answers that we know that we want, and the country as a whole want.

  • Hannity repeats a Las Vegas conspiracy theory from the Gateway Pundit

    Despite being forced to apologize for sharing incorrect information from the site previously, Sean Hannity shares another conspiracy theory from Gateway Pundit, just a day after it was ridiculed for sharing a 4chan hoax about the Las Vegas massacre

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    Radio personality and Fox News host Sean Hannity repeated an unverified conspiracy theory hyped by The Gateway Pundit suggesting that multiple people may have been involved in the Las Vegas shooting that left scores of people dead.

    Hannity claimed that according to The Gateway Pundit, receipts from Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s room service order indicates that another person could have been in the room during the massacre at Mandalay Bay. The theory was first floated by Infowars with the headline “Receipts show Paddock had another guest in his room before shooting.” The story was then picked up by serial liar Jim Hoft’s outlet The Gateway Pundit, which Hannity cited in his radio program without independent verification.

    Hannity is known for pushing conspiracy theories, including his campaign to prove that DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered for leaking to WikiLeaks. Hannity has previously also had to apologize for repeating another hoax pushed by The Gateway Pundit that claimed then-President Obama rescinded his endorsement of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton days before the 2016 election. Hannity legitimizing The Gateway Pundit as a credible source comes just days after the outlet published a 4chan-inspired hoax accusing the wrong person of being the Las Vegas shooter:  

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The investigators are now looking for some mystery woman that was spotted with Paddock just before the massacre. This was NBC News’ report they said the FBI is trying to track down this so-called mystery woman spotted with him in the days prior to the attack. They don’t know if she has any connection with the attack but they’d like to speak with her as they build the timeline of his last days and as we pointed out the girlfriend was out of town.

    Gateway Pundit added that the Mandalay Bay room service receipt for Paddock’s room and I see the Washington Examiner now has copies of it and a couple of times that he ordered room service and it’s like the first question that they always ask you, “will you be dining with, how many people will be dining?” I mean every single time I order room service since I’ve been here, “how many people will be dining?” You say one. Well the check says two, so was there somebody else in the room? Now, some people said that the brother had suggested, “Well it wouldn’t be unusual for him to order two meals.” OK, but that doesn’t give an answer when asked the question, how many people will be dining?

  • The conspiracy theories being spread about the Las Vegas massacre

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    After a mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, left at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured, far-right media, fake news purveyors, and fringe sources including 4chan and 8chan engaged in and spread many conspiracy theories about the shooting including that the gunman may have had an accomplice and was connected to ISIS, antifa, and/or former President Barack Obama.

  • Discredited gun researcher John Lott’s misleading Las Vegas massacre claims are falling apart

    Lott doesn’t want readers to know that strong gun regulations are associated with lower levels of homicide

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Discredited gun researcher John Lott attacked strong firearms regulations in a op-ed with a dishonest comparison between the United States and Europe relating to gun laws and public massacres.

    Following a mass shooting sniper attack on a Las Vegas country music concert that left 59 dead and more than 500 people wounded, Lott -- a go-to source for conservative misinformation about gun violence following high-profile shootings -- published an opinion piece at comparing machine gun attacks in Europe versus the United States.

    Lott wrote that “Europe, which has all the gun controls that are being pushed in the aftermath of the Las Vegas carnage, has actually suffered more bloodshed from these types of attacks than the U.S.,” before noting that machine guns have been used in multiple public attacks in Europe in recent years while the Las Vegas attack “may be the first mass public shooting in the U.S. involving a machine gun.”

    Using this comparison to attack strong gun regulations is highly misleading because it is premised on a narrow subset of gun violence -- public mass shootings involving machine guns. For example, the parameters of Lott’s comparison exclude mass attacks in the U.S. where the shooters used semi-automatic assault weapons, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which killed 26, and the Pulse nightclub shooting, which killed 49.

    What Lott fails to tell readers is that overall, Europe has much stronger gun laws and much lower rates of gun homicide than the United States.

    And it’s not the case that murders by means other than guns in Europe make up the difference in rates; European countries -- and high-income nations generally -- typically have lower homicide rates by all means compared to the United States:

    Overall, the association between stronger gun laws and lower gun violence is well-established. As the Harvard Injury Control Research Center has concluded, “A broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.”

    Lott’s comparison between the U.S. and Europe also underscores that he failed to wait for the facts of the Las Vegas shooting to play out before attacking strong gun regulations.

    At the time Lott published his article, audio and video footage of the attack were spurring lots of speculation that the gunman used a fully automatic machine gun, which is legal to own in the U.S. if manufactured before 1986 but is more heavily regulated than other weapons. But this may have not been the case, further undercutting Lott’s cherry-picking comparison.

    Following his piece’s publication, The Associated Press reported that, according to authorities, the gunman possessed “two ‘bump-stocks’ that could have converted semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic ones.” These weapon attachments are legal in the United States, although Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) 2013 assault weapons ban bill proposed to outlaw them.

    Lott is best known as the author of More Guns, Less Crime, a book whose conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics who found serious flaws in his research.

    While Lott is often quoted in media following high-profile incidents of gun violence, he should not be considered a credible source for information. In addition to pushing flawed research, Lott has been embroiled in a number of ethics controversies, including regarding his admission that he used the pseudonym "Mary Rosh" to defend his works from critics and praise his own research in online discussions. He has also faced allegations that he fabricated the results of a study on defensive gun use and has been caught attempting to surreptitiously revise his data after critics discovered errors.