For many readers and supporters of Ben Swann’s Truth In Media Project, the fact that Swann asks tough questions and calls attention to issues and facts ignored by most of the mainstream media is nothing new. Over the past several years, Swann has developed a knack for delivering under-reported news that resonates with millions of individuals across the globe.
When reporting on any given topic, be it the drug war, mass shootings, politicians, terror attacks, police brutality, or our government’s foreign policy, Swann has never been one to gloss over these subjects or direct viewers and readers to reach any particular conclusion. This quickly becomes clear to most people who have watched Swann’s Truth In Media episodes examining a number of subjects including the origin of ISIS, medical cannabis, and police militarization. Swann’s Reality Check segments that have pointed out misleading statements as well as outright errors of GOP candidates, challenged common narratives about gun violence, and exposed questionable behavior at the CDC are not much different.
On Wednesday, a brief article, regarding a pro-Jeb Bush super PAC video ad which attacked Marco Rubio’s voting attendance record by using a portion of one of Swann’s Reality Check segments, was written in The New York Times by Maggie Haberman. The ad can be seen below:
The full version of the Reality Check segment, which the pro-Jeb Bush PAC Right to Rise pulled an excerpt from to use in its ad, is below.
However, the Times article did not focus on verifying the validity of Swann’s statements about Rubio’s voting attendance. The author instead chose to describe Swann as a “conspiracy-minded journalist” without delving into any examples of Swann’s so-called “focus on conspiracy theories.”
Haberman claims that Swann “examined questions about whether 7 World Trade Center could have collapsed as authorities said it did, and allegations that the gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings didn’t act alone.” This is absolutely true, and Swann has always stood by these examinations. However, the leap that Haberman made to then identify Swann as a “conspiracy-minded journalist” is a large one.
It’s also a leap that was already made by Salon in 2013 in an attempt to label Swann as a “truther-reporter” for his coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting. Salon’s allegations were rebuked by Mic a few days later. “It is quite obvious that Ben Swann is striking a nerve with the national media,” wrote Mic’s Christopher McDaniel. “His latest piece, via his web-based, ‘Full Disclosure’ series, does not allude to any of the shootings being a ‘false flag’ or a ‘hoax.’ However, it does what we the people should demand of journalists— it asks questions.”
Merely asking questions that the mainstream media has never touched upon does not make a journalist “conspiracy-minded.”
Nor does it make one a “truther,” as Marco Rubio’s camp claimed while accusing Right to Rise, the pro-Jeb Bush PAC behind the ad, of using a “noted 9/11, Boston Marathon Bombing, and Sandy Hook Truther as the mouthpiece for their false attacks.”
The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out that Joe Pounder, an adviser for Marco Rubio, had once tweeted more favorably about Swann’s earlier work. “What was remarkable about Swann’s insta-infamy is that he had been reporting like this for years— and at least one of the people now ringing alarms about him had cited that reporting,” Weigel wrote. “After Swann saw his reputation battered on Twitter, he noticed that Pounder, in his old role at the oppo shop America Rising, had promoted his work at least twice. As a segment on Ohio’s Fox 19, ‘Reality Check’ seemed perfectly acceptable as a source.”
Right to Rise spokesman Paul Lindsay said that “What matters are the facts in the ad, and there’s no conspiracy over the fact that Marco Rubio has missed more votes in the last three years than any other U.S. senator.”
In response to Haberman’s article, Swann pointed out that Haberman had not spoken with him at all, and reached out to him after the article had already been published. “It’s a shame the New York Times did not bother to contact me prior to publishing the article,” Swann said, “and that the Rubio campaign felt the need to attack me personally rather than address the Senator’s voting record, which any journalist can look up as part of the Congressional record.”
When Truth In Media reached out to Haberman to ask why she declined to address Swann’s reporting of Rubio’s voting record, she only stated that she had reached out to Swann and did not receive a reply.
The word “truther” is a slang term commonly used to describe an individual who rejects media narratives as a whole and touts ideas about false flag stories as fact. These words are simply inaccurate for a journalist who has the courage and tenacity to express refreshing skepticism about one piece of information, or happens to bring forth facts that presidential candidates don’t appreciate. The word “conspiracy,” once meant to describe harmful actions planned in secret, appears to have been used in this case in an attempt to ostracize Swann for being one of the last few journalists who takes this responsibility seriously.