Last June, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz informed millions of Americans for the first time during an appearance on Jesse Watters' show that the IRS has been loading up on guns and ammo for quite some time now - and that it's continued during the pro-gun control Biden administration.
"Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the heaviest artillery an IRS agent would need would be a calculator. I imagine the IRS in green eyeshades and cubicles — not busting doors down and emptying Glock clips on our fellow Americans. Certainly it's troubling that in 2022 alone, the IRS has spent around $725,000 on ammunition. So here's the Biden plan: Disarm Americans, open the border, empty the prisons — but rest assured, they'll still collect your taxes, and they need $725,000 worth of ammunition, apparently, to get the job done," he told Watters.
"And there was a report that showed over a 10-year period, the IRS actually stockpiled $11 million worth of ammunition" he added.
Tucker Carlson also covered the story earlier this month after Gaetz introduced a bill to disarm the IRS, and noted in his coverage that the IRS had spent $20 million on guns and ammo between 2006-2019.
PolitiFact's Jeff Cercone decided to cover the revelation in a fact check titled "No, Biden is not arming up the IRS with guns and ammunition."
Bizarrely, Cercone confirms the figures that Gaetz cited, but then arbitrarily decides it doesn't matter because the IRS has been doing this for a while, actually. "The division’s spending on ammunition this year is on par with previous years and less than what was spent a decade ago" writes Cercone, irrelevantly. Gaetz and Carlson both acknowledged that this spending wasn't unique to the Biden administration.
The headline of Cercone's fact check, denying that Biden is arming the IRS, is quite literally contradicted by its first sentence, which says the IRS is buying guns and ammo.
The most common strategy of the faux-fact checker to rate a true claim false is to nitpick anything else the person uttering it may have said that can be fact checked in lieu of the claim of substance. So in this case, because fact checking the data points that Gaetz cited would produce a "true" verdict, Cercone decided to make the specific claim he's rating false Gaetz' opinion statement that "Joe Biden is raising taxes, disarming Americans, so of course they are arming up the IRS like they are preparing to take Fallujah," which he made during the appearance on Tucker.
Cercone rates that statement false because "There is no evidence this continued tradition of spending by the IRS has any connection to Biden’s positions on taxes and gun restrictions" - but that's not the story. The story is that the IRS is stockpiling guns and ammo.
This just goes to prove how in politisized fact checking, framing is everything. In addition to the mental gymnastics that Cercone had to subject himself to get the "false" rating he wanted to give Gaetz, this is further evidenced by the fact that the fact checkers couldn't even agree with each other one this one. NewsWest 9's "Verify" fact checking segment rated Gaetz's statement that the IRS purchased $700k in ammunition between March and June of 2022 "true" (because it is) while acknowledging that this isn't new for the IRS (because Gaetz never said or implied that it was).
The key difference here is that NewsWest 9 fact checked what Gaetz actually said, while Cercone fact checked both an invented interpretation of Gaetz's claims, and an opinion statement irrelevent to the story at hand here, which is how insane it is for the IRS to be stockpiling guns and ammo for any reason.
Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros
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PolitiFact Fails Miserably at Fact Checking Matt Gaetz's Claim About IRS Stockpiling Guns and Ammo
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