Ben Swann

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Ben Swann
Ben Swann speaking at the 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) in Chantilly, Virginia.
Swann in 2013
Born Benjamin Swann
(1978-07-17) July 17, 1978 (age 39)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Brigham Young University
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Occupation Journalist
Television KFOX-TV/El Paso (1999–2007)
KTSM-TV/El Paso (2008–2010)
WXIX-TV/Newport, KY-Cincinnati (2010–2013)
Newsmax TV (2014)
RT America (2014–2015)
WGCL-TV/Atlanta (2015–2018)
Website truthinmedia.com

Benjamin Swann (born July 17, 1978) is an American television news anchor, political commentator and journalist who has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories and fake news in his work. He has worked in New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Georgia.[1][2][3]

At Fox affiliate WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio, he produced a series entitled Reality Check that garnered media attention for his advocacy on behalf of Ron Paul and for promoting the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.[3][4][5] Swann has repeated conspiracy theories surrounding the Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings[6] and the 9/11 attacks,[4] and pushed scientifically-discredited claims of a link between vaccines and autism.[4][2][7]

After leaving WXIX-TV in 2013, Swann regularly appeared on RT America, part of the Russian state-owned TV network RT,[8] while independently continuing to produce his show Reality Check. Swann worked at CBS affiliate WGCL-TV in Atlanta, Georgia as chief evening news anchor from 2015 to 2018.[2][9]

Education[edit]

Swann was homeschooled with nine brothers and sisters in El Paso, and earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts from Brigham Young University in 1993, at the age of 15, and a master's degree in History from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1994, at the age of 16.[10][11][12]

Career[edit]

After graduating college at 15, he worked bagging groceries. When he was 21 he married and moved to Portland, Oregon, where he became an assistant pastor at a Presbyterian church. A year and a half later he moved back to El Paso. Three of his brothers worked as TV news photographers, and in 2001 he started working with them. He began filming, editing, and reporting his own stories. He became a morning co-anchor on a local station, and in 2008 became an anchor for the NBC news affiliate nightly news.[10] The station was NBC affiliate KTSM-TV.[11][13] He won Lone Star Emmy Awards in 2005[14] and 2009.[15]

During this period, Swann also wrote for CBN News, focusing on Mexico's drug wars on the Texas border.[11][16]

He left El Paso in December 2010 to become a TV news presenter at Cincinnati, Ohio's WXIX-TV Fox 19 Evening News at Six and Fox 19 Ten O'Clock News with Tricia Macke.[10] While he was there he started a Facebook page called "Full Disclosure" where, according to Adweek, he asked "questions about controversial subjects he says are ignored by the national media."[17]

On October 23, 2012, Swann served as a panel member on a third-party presidential candidates debate hosted by Larry King in Chicago, Illinois, and broadcast on C-SPAN, Al Jazeera America, and online through the sponsorship of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation.[18][19]

In April 2013, Swann announced he would be leaving WXIX-TV Fox 19 at the end of May,[17] and then started a social media channel called "Truth In Media" to continue production of his show Reality Check.[5] Truth in Media was a collaboration with Republican Liberty Caucus and Joshua Cook.[2] From May 2013 until June 2015, Swann appeared regularly on RT America in Washington, D.C.[2]

In 2015 he was hired by CBS affiliate WGCL-TV in Atlanta, Georgia.[9] He was suspended in January 2017 for running a story attempting to revive the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and was reinstated after he took down his Truth in Media and Reality Check sites.[3][5][8] He was fired on January 29, 2018, after the station learned that he had been trying to revive Reality Check without their knowledge.[3]

Reality Check[edit]

In addition to news anchoring, Swann is a reporter and media critic. His Reality Check show covered controversial stories. The Daily Beast has reported that many of Swann's segments echo talking points from media outlets such as RT and InfoWars that are rarely seen in more mainstream news media.[2] Swann's Reality Check segments were uploaded to his YouTube channel and had garnered 10,376,570 views and over 73,500 subscribers before he took his channel offline.[20] One theme of Swann's Reality Check has been his support of Ron Paul's presidential campaigns.[21][22] Swann relaunched Reality Check in 2018 shortly after he was fired by CBS46.[23]

Views and claims[edit]

Mass shootings[edit]

While working for a Cincinnati-area Fox affiliate WXIX-TV in 2012, Swann suggested on his personal YouTube channel that Adam Lanza was accompanied by another shooter.[4][24] He has said that he had “major problems with the theory” that 2012 Aurora shooting and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings were conducted by lone gunmen.[2][6] There is no evidence that any additional shooters were present at the shootings. Some such reports may have been influenced by confused early news reports of the events.[25][26][27]

Pizzagate conspiracy theory[edit]

While working for CBS affiliate WGCL-TV, Ben Swann dedicated a Reality Check segment to the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that emerged during the 2016 United States presidential election cycle and called for a police investigation of the Pizzagate allegations.[2][28][29][30][31][32] After reporting on the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, Swann was briefly suspended from WGCL-TV and he later closed some of his social media accounts.[33]

Syria conflict and ISIL[edit]

In December 2016, Swann aired a segment titled "If (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad is Committing Genocide in Aleppo, Why Are People Celebrating in the Streets?"[2] Swann has sought crowdfunding for an episode titled, “U.S and partners intentionally created ISIS”.[2]

September 11 attacks[edit]

Swann has questioned whether 7 World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001 the way authorities said it did.[4]

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17[edit]

In an appearance in 2015 RT America, Swann said that “any credible evidence does not seem to exist” that Russia shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.[2]

Russia–United States relations[edit]

Swann has hosted on his personal website posts with headlines such as "Putin: Russian military not threatening anybody, we are protecting our borders" and "Putin demonized for thwarting neocon plan for global domination."[34][35] One such post stated, "For it is a rule which invariably holds true – if the Western elites praise the leader of a foreign country it means he is doing something which is good for those elites and bad for his country. If he’s demonized, as Putin is, it’s the other way round."[34]

Alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta's e-mails[edit]

Swann hosted a segment on WGCL-TV titled “5 Problems with CIA Claim That Russia Hacked DNC/Podesta Emails.”[2]

Vaccines and autism[edit]

Swann is an anti-vaccine activist and, by way of conspiracy theories, has attempted to deny or discredit the scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause autism.[7][36][37][38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ben Swann: KFOX Morning News Anchor/Reporter". KFOX. January 24, 2006. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Collins, Ben (2017-01-19). "Meet Ben Swann, the Republican Pizzagate Truther Hosting Atlanta's CBS Nightly News". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ho, Rodney (January 29, 2018). "CBS46's Ben Swann fired after attempt to bring back Reality Check". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Haberman, Maggie (January 13, 2016). "'Super PAC' Backing Jeb Bush Uses Conspiracy-Minded Journalist in Ad". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c Eck, Kevin (January 19, 2017). "WGCL Anchor Tries to Prove Pizzagate is Real Without Any Evidence". Adweek. 
  6. ^ a b Seitz-Wald, Alex (14 January 2013). "Sandy Hook truther-reporter?". Salon. 
  7. ^ a b Swan, Ben (2016). "CDC, Vaccines & Autism". Truth in Media. 
  8. ^ a b Ho, Rodney (January 27, 2017). "CBS46's Ben Swann returning Monday January 30 after post-'Pizzagate' hiatus". Atlantic Journal-Constitution. The Daily Beast also noted that he had worked for Russia Today, a Russian government funded media operation... 
  9. ^ a b Ho, Rodney (June 15, 2015). "CBS46 management explains radical changes including five new anchors June 15". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 
  10. ^ a b c Kiesewetter, John (December 13, 2010). "Precocious Texan climbed ranks to anchor". Cincinnati Enquirer.  Abridged version at "Meet Ben Swann, New Fox19 Anchor". Cincinnati.com. December 13, 2010. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c "FOX19 names Ben Swann as new co-anchor". Fox19. 
  12. ^ "Upcoming Events: Ben Swann". Liberty on the Rocks, Houston. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014. A 1993 undergraduate of Brigham Young University, Swann went on to receive his Master's in Humanities from California State University in 1994 at age 16. 
  13. ^ NPT Staff (February 8, 2008). "Media Watch: Swann Flies to a New Station". Newspaper Tree. El Paso, TX: EPmediagroup.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Outstanding New Segment: Breaking News/Single Story". 2005 Lone Star Emmy Awardees. Lone Star Chapter of the NATAS. 
  15. ^ "News Special". 2009 Lone Star Emmy Nominations. Lone Star Chapter of the NATAS. 
  16. ^ Swann, Ben (July 30, 2010). "Pastors Take Godly Approach on Border Violence". CBN News: World. The Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Eck, Kevin (April 3, 2013). "Anchor Ben Swann to Leave WXIX". Adweek. 
  18. ^ Harper, Jennifer (19 October 2012). "Inside the Beltway: Third Party Goes Forth". The Washington Times. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  19. ^ Groer, Annie (24 October 2012). "Third-party candidates finally get their own presidential debate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "Ben Swann". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  21. ^ Wemple, Erik (January 19, 2012). "Cincinnati anchor does deep on Paul campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 'Reality Check' ’s probing of national political issues is working for Fox 19.... [The stories] consistently fill out four of the top five traffic-generators for the Fox 19 site. 
  22. ^ Gauthier, Andrew (January 20, 2012). "Cincinnati Anchor Gains National Following with Ron Paul 'Reality Check's". TVSpy. WebMediaBrands. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  23. ^ Ho, Rodney (January 31, 2018). "Ben Swann reintroduces his Truth in Media site and Reality Check program". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  24. ^ Weigel, David (January 14, 2016). "How a libertarian TV host became the focus of a Bush-Rubio fight". The Washington Post. 
  25. ^ "Sandy Hook Exposed". Snopes.com. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Stuart, Hunter (11 February 2013). "Sandy Hook Hoax Theories Explained: Why Newtown 'Truther' Arguments Don't Hold Up". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  27. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan (16 January 2013). "Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory Video Debunked By Experts". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  28. ^ Menegus, Bryan. "CBS Imbecile Just Fanned the Pizzagate Flames for No Reason". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  29. ^ "Reality Check with Ben Swann". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  30. ^ Wemple, Erik; Wemple, Erik (2017-01-18). "CBS affiliate's 'big question': Why no law enforcement investigation of 'Pizzagate' allegations?". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  31. ^ "'Why Hasn't Any Investigation Taken Place?' CBS Host Defends Pizzagate Conspiracy". www.mediaite.com. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  32. ^ Editor, Ed Mazza Overnight; Post, The Huffington (2017-01-19). "CBS Affiliate Reignites Debunked Pizzagate Conspiracy Theory". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  33. ^ Ho, Rodney (February 1, 2017). "Ben Swann's Truth in Media site down, Twitter, Instagram, FB accounts gone". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved February 9, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Swann, Ben (November 8, 2014). "Putin demonized for thwarting neocon plan for global domination". Archived from the original on August 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Putin: Russian military not threatening anybody, we are protecting our borders". Ben Swann. November 12, 2016. Archived from the original on December 12, 2016. 
  36. ^ Bonhoeffer J, Heininger U (2007). "Adverse events following immunization: perception and evidence" (PDF). Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases. 20 (3): 237–46. doi:10.1097/QCO.0b013e32811ebfb0. PMID 17471032. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-26. 
  37. ^ Boseley, Sarah (February 2, 2010). "Lancet retracts 'utterly false' MMR paper". The Guardian. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  38. ^ Taylor, Luke E.; Swerdfeger, Amy L.; Eslick, Guy D. (June 2014). "Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies". Vaccine. 32 (29): 3623–9. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.085. PMID 24814559. 

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