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The Gateway Pundit

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The Gateway Pundit
The Gateway Pundit logo.svg
Type of site
Available inEnglish
OwnerJim Hoft
Created byJim Hoft[3]
EditorJim Hoft
RegistrationOptional, required to comment
LaunchedOctober 23, 2004; 17 years ago (2004-10-23)

The Gateway Pundit (TGP) is an American far-right[2] fake news website.[1] The website is known for publishing falsehoods, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories.[33]

Founded by Jim Hoft in 2004, The Gateway Pundit expanded from a one-person enterprise into a multi-employee operation that is supported primarily by advertising revenue.[34][35] During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the site received over a million unique visitors per day.[36] Twitter permanently suspended Hoft's account (@gatewaypundit) on February 6, 2021, for repeatedly publishing misinformation about the 2020 U.S. presidential election.[37][38][39] In September 2021, Google demonetized the site for publishing misinformation.[40][41][42]


The Gateway Pundit was founded prior to the 2004 United States presidential election,[43] according to its founder, Jim Hoft, to "speak the truth" and to "expose the wickedness of the left."[44] In 2016, it provided favorable coverage of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and, after Trump's election, was granted press credentials by the White House.[45] A 2017 study by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University found that The Gateway Pundit was the fourth most-shared source among Trump supporters on Twitter during the 2016 election, behind Fox News, The Hill and Breitbart News.[46][47]

The website's name makes reference to the Gateway Arch in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, where Hoft resides as of February 2018.[48] He operates the site from Ellisville, a western suburb.[49]

A study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that The Gateway Pundit earned up to $1.1 million in Google Ad revenue between November 2020 and July 2021.[42][50][51]

White House press credentials

In February 2017, founder Jim Hoft and The Gateway Pundit's Lucian Wintrich, a 28-year-old writer and artist, were granted White House press credentials by the Trump administration. Wintrich has collaborated with Milo Yiannopoulos, the former editor at Breitbart News.[45][52]

As official correspondents, Hoft and Wintrich were able to attend all press briefings and address their questions to the White House press secretary. In an interview, Wintrich said they would: "be reporting far more fairly than a lot of the very left-wing outlets that are currently occupying the briefing room. We will be doing a little trolling of the media in general here".[45] According to Wintrich, The Gateway Pundit's mission in the White House was "to help drain the press swamp" by covering the press corps' "very leftist and biased reporting,"[35] and to alleviate what he saw as bias among reporters in the White House press corps.[52]

On August 14, 2020, after President Trump called on invited Gateway Pundit reporter Alicia Powe for a question at his televised White House press briefing, the White House Correspondents' Association president told the Washington Examiner that including Powe as a guest was an "outrageous" violation of the group's social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.[53][54]

False stories and conspiracy theories

The Gateway Pundit is known as a source of viral falsehoods and hoaxes.[10][29][55] It has been described by the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology as one of the websites that "primarily propagate fake news",[19] by Newsweek as a fake news website,[56] and by CNN as a website "prone to peddling conspiracy theories".[57] In August 2019, journalism professors Erik P. Bucy and John E. Newhagen observed that "The most aggressive fake news sites and associated YouTube channels, such as InfoWars, The Gateway Pundit, and The Daily Stormer, are routinely sued by victims of these published reports for libel and defamation."[18] As a result of a number of lawsuits against The Gateway Pundit over its false stories, it was reported in March 2018 that Jim Hoft had told his writers to be more careful: "I don't want any more lawsuits so we have to be really careful with what we put up."[58] Hoft stated that he believes the lawsuits "are part of a multi-pronged effort to attack media outlets on the right."[58]

In November 2019, the Wikipedia community deprecated The Gateway Pundit as an untrustworthy source of information.[59][60]

A 2020 study by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern and Rutgers universities found that among Republicans and older people The Gateway Pundit was the most shared fake news domain in tweets related to COVID-19, significantly outperforming other fake news domains such as InfoWars, WorldNetDaily, Judicial Watch and Natural News. The study also found that The Gateway Pundit was the 4th and 6th most shared domain overall, in August and September 2020 respectively.[9]

In July 2021, a spokesperson for Google said that the company had demonetized The Gateway Pundit's homepage and some of its articles, stating: "We have strict publisher policies that prohibit content promoting anti-vaccine theories, COVID-19 misinformation, and false claims about the 2020 U.S. Presidential election – and our enforcement can be as targeted as demonetizing a specific page. We already actioned the majority of pages shared from this report back in 2020 or early 2021 and similarly stopped serving ads on the site’s homepage last year. We will continue to take appropriate action if new content is uploaded that violates our policies."[51] In September 2021, Google demonetized the site.[40][41][42] A Google spokesman stated: "We gave the Gateway Pundit ample notice to address persistent policy violations before we took action. We will not serve Google ads on the site until they can comply with our guidelines."[40]

2016 election

The Gateway Pundit promoted false rumors about voter fraud and Hillary Clinton's health.[45][61][62][63] Specifically, rumors of Hillary Clinton's poor health were disseminated via The Gateway Pundit's articles entitled, "Breaking: 71% of Doctors Say Hillary Health Concerns Serious, Possibly Disqualifying!" and "Wow! Did Hillary Clinton Just Suffer a Seizure on Camera?"[61][63] Regarding voter fraud, The Gateway Pundit published an unsubstantiated report during the 2016 presidential election from the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, claiming that Republicans had accused Broward County, Florida officials of tampering with mail-in ballots.[64]

Misidentifying shooters and terrorists

The Gateway Pundit has a record of misidentifying perpetrators of shootings and terror attacks.[65]

Shortly after the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, in which a person drove a vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one, The Gateway Pundit falsely identified a young man from Michigan as the driver.[66] After the misidentification took place, the family went into hiding after receiving several death threats.[67][68] Together with his father, the Michigan man filed a defamation lawsuit against the publication and other related parties.[66]

In October 2017, The Gateway Pundit published an article falsely implicating an innocent person as the shooter in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. The article was promoted by Google as a "top story" for searches for his name.[69] The Gateway Pundit asserted that New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi had reported that ISIS may have evidence that it was behind the shooting, but Callimachi denied that she had ever made such an assertion.[70]

The Gateway Pundit promoted conspiracy theories about the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.[71] In February 2018, The Gateway Pundit published an article erroneously stating that school shooter Nikolas Cruz was a registered Democrat, citing a registered Broward County voter with a similar name. The website later corrected its mistake.[72][73] Later that month, The Gateway Pundit was one of a number of far-right websites that pushed the claim that at least one of the teenage survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting was a deep state pawn,[74] alleging that David Hogg's gun control activism was being coached by his retired FBI agent father.[75]

In July 2018, The Gateway Pundit falsely claimed that a man arrested with bomb-making equipment and illegal weapons had been a "leftist antifa terrorist". The individual in question was however a conservative whose Facebook profile was littered with pro-Second Amendment memes.[76]

In August 2018, The Gateway Pundit falsely identified a Reddit user as the perpetrator of the Jacksonville Landing shooting.[77][60]

2020 election

In November 2020, The Gateway Pundit erroneously stated that a software glitch during the 2020 United States presidential election led to 10,000 votes in Rock County, Wisconsin, being "moved" from incumbent president Donald Trump to his opponent, Joe Biden; the article was then promoted by Eric Trump, President Trump's son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization. The article was disputed by the Associated Press, which stated that the supposed discrepancy was caused by a technical error in AP's reporting of results obtained from Rock County's election website, an error that was resolved within minutes and did not pertain to the counting of actual ballots. Rock County clerk Lisa Tollefson stated that The Gateway Pundit reported incorrect information, and that the county stood by the final tally. The Wisconsin Elections Commission later added: "The AP’s error in no way reflects any problem with how Rock County counted or posted unofficial results. The WEC has confirmed with Rock County that their unofficial results reporting was always accurate. [...] These errors have nothing to do with Wisconsin’s official results, which are triple checked at the municipal, county and state levels before they are certified."[78][79][80]

In December 2020, The Gateway Pundit falsely claimed that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's brother "Ron" worked for a Chinese tech firm. Raffensperger's brother's name was not Ron and he did not work for a Chinese company.[81]

In August 2021, The Daily Beast reported that according to a senior Trump White House official, Trump was seen holding printouts of articles from The Gateway Pundit during his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and on one occasion handed out an article from the site which alleged massive fraud in favor of Biden and told the official to act on it.[60]

Days after the results of the 2021 Maricopa County presidential ballot audit were released, The Gateway Pundit published an altered version of the auditors' report which falsely stated, "the election should not be certified, and the reported results are not reliable." The Gateway Pundit wrote that it acquired the altered document from "Byrne." Patrick Byrne, a staunch Trump supporter, was a major promoter of and donor to the Maricopa County audit. Byrne denied he was the source of the document.[82]

In October 2021, The Gateway Pundit used a study by the Poor People's Campaign to falsely claim that Democrats had used low-income voters to steal the election; the study had found that about 35% of the 2020 presidential electorate had household incomes below $50,000. PolitiFact rated the claim "Pants on Fire", finding that The Gateway Pundit had conflated voter outreach with voter fraud.[83]

In December 2021, two Georgia election workers sued The Gateway Pundit for defamation, alleging that the site and its owners had knowingly published false stories about them that "instigated a deluge of intimidation, harassment, and threats that has forced them to change their phone numbers, delete their online accounts, and fear for their physical safety."[32][84] In response, the website doubled down on its false claims with an article titled: "Ruby Freeman and Daughter Sue Gateway Pundit for Posting Video of Her Shoving Ballots Through Voting Machines Numerous Times – PLEASE HELP US Fight This Latest Lawsuit."[85]

Analysis conducted in 2022 by researchers with the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and the Krebs Stamos Group found The Gateway Pundit was the second-most prolific purveyor of election misinformation on Twitter during the late months of 2020.[86]


The Gateway Pundit has promoted the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.[32][87]

In December 2017, The Gateway Pundit published a Reddit post as evidence that Democratic activists were committing voter fraud in the 2017 Alabama Senate special election.[88] The redditor behind the post later said that the post was intended "as an obvious troll."[88] When asked by The Washington Post, the writer of the Gateway Pundit post declined to say whether he had contacted the redditor to verify the information; later the Gateway Pundit story contained an update at the bottom: "Liberals say these are fake Reddit posts(?) Regardless, the posts are still up on Reddit and the posters are still encouraging Democrats to cheat."[88] Also in December 2017, The Gateway Pundit published a story falsely saying that Facebook had taken down a previous Gateway Pundit story about the Alabama election, when in fact a Facebook algorithm had made it less prevalent after it had been flagged as fake news.[89]

In April 2018, The Gateway Pundit falsely claimed in a headline that two prominent African-American conservative video bloggers – Diamond and Silk – had been censored by Facebook.[90]

In July 2018, The Gateway Pundit falsely claimed that then-senator Kamala Harris had lied about her school's integration history.[91] The article was cited by radio host Larry Elder and others in June 2019 after Harris confronted then-presidential candidate Joe Biden over his opposition to busing during the first Democratic presidential debate.[92]

In September 2018, after psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford alleged that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s when they were teenagers, The Gateway Pundit published an article[93] erroneously claiming that Kavanaugh's mother, a district court judge in Maryland, had once ruled in a foreclosure case against Dr. Ford's parents, creating what The Gateway Pundit called "bad blood" between the two families.[94] In an update, The Gateway Pundit noted, "CBS News reports the case was settled amicably and the Blaseys kept their house."[94]

On October 30, 2018, NBC News and The Atlantic published articles detailing a scheme to falsely accuse Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct in 1974. The articles reported involvement by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, the latter a writer for The Gateway Pundit. Hours after these reports, The Gateway Pundit published on its site "exclusive documents" about a "very credible witness" to support the accusations against Mueller. Each document had in its header the phrase "International Private Intelligence," the business slogan of Surefire Intelligence, a firm created by Wohl. The site removed the documents later that day, stating they were investigating the matter, as well as "serious allegations against Jacob Wohl."[56] The following day, The Gateway Pundit's owner Jim Hoft retweeted Wohl's comment suggesting Mueller's office was actually behind the scheme. Mueller's office had days earlier referred the scheme to the FBI. Burkman and Wohl convened a press conference outside Washington on November 1, ostensibly to present a woman who they said signed an affidavit, which Gateway Pundit had published, accusing Mueller of raping her in a New York hotel room in 2010 — on a date he was contemporaneously reported by The Washington Post to be serving jury duty in Washington.[95] The men accused Mueller's office of "leaking" the eight year-old Post story to discredit their allegations. The purported accuser, a Carolyne Cass, did not appear at the press conference, with the men asserting she had panicked in fear of her life and taken a flight to another location. Soon after the press conference, Hoft announced that The Gateway Pundit had "suspended [their] relationship" with Wohl.[96][97][98][99]

Jim Hoft

In March 2013, Hoft was awarded the Reed Irvine Award for New Media by the Accuracy in Media watchdog at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[100][101]

In August 2013, Hoft contracted a serious strep infection, lost his vision in one eye, suffered five strokes, and required 12 hours of open-heart surgery. Three months after his treatment and before the imminent loss of his health insurance, Hoft stated that it was the Affordable Care Act that had caused insurance companies to leave the marketplace in his home state of Missouri.[102]

Following the 2016 mass shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Hoft came out as gay, blamed Barack Obama for the massacre and derided "leftwing gay activists" Sally Kohn and Perez Hilton for blaming the National Rifle Association and Christianity for the attack.[44]

On March 4, 2017, Hoft spoke at the Spirit of America Rally in Nashville, Tennessee, and announced that he was starting an event, "The Real News Correspondents' Dinner", to compete with the White House Correspondents' Dinner. The event occurred as planned on April 28, 2017.[103]

In February 2018, Hoft was scheduled to participate in a Conservative Political Action Conference panel titled "Social Media Censorship." After CPAC preemptively removed him from the discussion on censorship following Hoft's coverage of the recent Florida mass shooting, he stated that CPAC was in effect engaging in its own form of censorship.[104]

Notable writers

Notable writers for The Gateway Pundit, past and present, include Michael Strickland (2015–2016), Lucian Wintrich (2017–2018), Cassandra Fairbanks (2017–present), and Jacob Wohl (2018).

See also


  1. ^ a b [4][9][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]
  2. ^ a b [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]
  3. ^ Borchers, Callum (January 20, 2017). "Blog known for spreading hoaxes says it will have a correspondent in Trump White House". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Zeng, Jing; Schäfer, Mike S. (October 21, 2021). "Conceptualizing "Dark Platforms". Covid-19-Related Conspiracy Theories on 8kun and Gab". Digital Journalism. Routledge. 9 (9): 1321–1343. doi:10.1080/21670811.2021.1938165. In contrast, Gab users who shared more far-right "fake news" websites are relatively more visible on Gab. Some of the most cited sources under this category include the Unhived Mind (N = 2,729), Epoch Times (N = 1,303), Natural News (N = 1,301), Breitbart (N = 769), the Gateway Pundit (N = 422), and InfoWars (N = 656).
  5. ^ Krafft, P. M.; Donovan, Joan (March 3, 2020). "Disinformation by Design: The Use of Evidence Collages and Platform Filtering in a Media Manipulation Campaign". Political Communication. Routledge. 37 (2): 194–214. doi:10.1080/10584609.2019.1686094.
  6. ^ a b Wiggins, Bradley E (August 1, 2020). "Boogaloo and Civil War 2: Memetic antagonism in expressions of covert activism". New Media & Society. SAGE Publishing. 23 (11): 11. doi:10.1177/1461444820945317. S2CID 225356084.
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  8. ^ Salter, Michael (September 2019). "Online Justice in the Circuit of Capital: #MeToo, Marketization and the Deformation of Sexual Ethics". In Fileborn, Bianca; Loney-Howes, Rachel (eds.). #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 317–334. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_20. ISBN 978-3-030-15213-0. S2CID 203437591. Retrieved October 10, 2020 – via ResearchGate.
  9. ^ a b c Owen, Laura Hazard (October 26, 2020). "Older people and Republicans are most likely to share Covid-19 stories from fake news sites on Twitter". Nieman Lab. Retrieved October 20, 2021. The far-right site The Gateway Pundit… was the most-shared misleading site. Not only did it greatly outperform the other fake news domains… but in some months it was almost as popular as reputable news sites
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  11. ^ Kunzelman, Michael; Richer, Alanna Durkin (June 2, 2021). "Charges after US Capitol insurrection roil far-right groups". Associated Press. Retrieved August 8, 2021. The group also lost the ability to process credit card payments online after the company demanded that Rhodes disavow the arrested members and he refused, Rhodes said in a March interview for far-right website Gateway Pundit.
  12. ^ Menn, Joseph; Paul, Katie (November 4, 2020). "Twitter, Facebook suspend some accounts as U.S. election misinformation spreads online". Reuters. Retrieved August 8, 2021. Far-right sites Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit...
  13. ^ Cox, Chelsey (January 12, 2021). "Fact check: False claim of fraud in Arizona voter registrations". USA Today. Retrieved August 8, 2021. Gateway Pundit, a far-right wing news and opinion website...
  14. ^ Dreisbach, Tom (March 15, 2021). "UCLA Student Charged In Capitol Riot Took Inspiration From Online Extremist". NPR. Retrieved August 8, 2021. Secor commented to The Gateway Pundit, a far-right website known for promoting conspiracy theories...
  15. ^ Litke, Eric. "No, Wisconsin bill does not decertify and give Trump win here". PolitiFact. Retrieved August 8, 2021. The runup to the Jan. 6 finalizing of the Electoral College vote brings us one particularly absurd example from Gateway Pundit, a far-right online publication that routinely publishes stories unburdened by facts or common sense.
  16. ^ Fischer, Sara (August 11, 2020). "Trump trounces Biden in campaign site traffic, thanks to far-right outlets". Axios. Retrieved August 8, 2021. Nearly 60% of traffic to Trump's website from May to July of this year came from The Gateway Pundit, a far-right news and opinion website that has a reputation for spreading falsehoods and conspiracies...
  17. ^ "Hispanic Americans are curious about QAnon too". The Economist. June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 22, 2022. Jaime Longoria, a researcher from First Draft, a non-profit that fights misinformation, says other influencers provide daily commentary on transliterated articles from far-right websites such as Breitbart and Gateway Pundit
  18. ^ a b Bucy, Erik P.; Newhagen, John E. (August 2019). "Fake News Finds an Audience". In Katz, James E.; Mays, Kate K. (eds.). Journalism and Truth in an Age of Social Media. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190900250.003.0014. ISBN 9780190900250. Retrieved February 7, 2021. The most aggressive fake news sites and associated YouTube channels, such as Infowars, The Gateway Pundit, and Daily Stormer, are routinely sued by victims of these published reports for libel and defamation (Ohlheiser 2018; Tani 2018).
  19. ^ a b Goodyear, Michael P. (August 24, 2020). "Is There No Way to the Truth? Copyright Liability as a Model for Restricting Fake News". Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. 34 (1). doi:10.2139/ssrn.3647504. S2CID 225621025. This dichotomy would similarly be helpful for differentiating websites that are used as conduits of fake news, such as Facebook, and those that primarily propagate fake news, such as the Gateway Pundit.
  20. ^ Kornbluh, Karen; Goodman, Ellen P.; Weiner, Eli (March 2020). "Safeguarding Digital Democracy: Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative Roadmap". German Marshall Fund: 14. JSTOR resrep24545. Retrieved February 7, 2021. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
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