Very Fake News Alert: Univision Misrepresented SSA Gun Rule Repeal

February 18th, 2017 9:50 AM

Univision has just sprung a report so awfully biased and deceptive that after watching it, one is left with the impression that President Trump may have been a bit too hasty in bestowing his coveted "Very Fake News" label upon CNN.

The Feb. 15, 2017 edition of Univision's late night national newscast featured a story on the Senate vote to repeal an anti-gun rule issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) which totally misrepresents both the rule and its intended scope. Here is the story, as broadcast by Univision, in its entirety:

ILIA CALDERON, UNIVISION ANCHOR: The Senate approved, by a margin of 57 votes in favor and 43 against, the repeal of a law that will prevent persons with mental disorders from purchasing a firearm. The measure had been approved by the previous administration as part of efforts to restrict purchases of firearms after the killing of twenty students and six teachers at a Connecticut school in 2012. The legislation now goes to President Donald Trump for signing.


<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>


None of this is in any way accurate or factual, and I can't recall the last time that so much sophistry was packed into just 24 seconds. The backdoor gun ban just repealed by Congress was not actually a law as Calderón states, but a rule capriciously issued by the Social Security Administration just before Christmas Eve, in the waning days of the Obama administration. 

The rule labeled Social Security recipients with a designated payee as "mental defectives" "unable to manage their own finances" for purposes of the federal Gun Control Act, and referred those names to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (also known as the NICS database) for inclusion as prohibited posessors - and summarily barred from purchasing a firearm or ammunition. Many of these individuals may have elected to designate a payee for reasons other than mental illness, however, they were arbitrarily stripped of a constitutional right without any due process. 

None of this even remotely sounds like "a law that will prevent persons with mental disorders from purchasing a firearm". The facts of this story were too inconvenient to squeeze into 24 seconds, so they went entirely unreported.  

So blatant was this violation of due process rights that both the NRA and the ACLU joined in support of its repeal. That, too, went unreported at Univision. Instead of actual news, the network's viewers received wildly inaccurate gun-control talking points. Par for the course, given the network's longstanding bias in support of gun control (see hereherehere for partnership with Bloomberg front group Everytown, here, and here). 

One more thing that Calderón left out of the report: the rule was repealed via the Congressional Review Act, which means that no version of this arbitrary rule can ever again be issued by a governmental agency.

If we learn anything at all from this awful report, it is that Univision's news division will ALWAYS make time for pushing all of its preferred liberal policy agenda, even when it's coverage is mostly dominated, as it is at present, by immigration grievance and Trump Resistance narratives.