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Back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio claimed the lives of at least 31 people and injured about 50 others. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for false rumors and conspiracy theories about the tragedy to proliferate across the internet.
As politicians commented on the shootings and mused about a potential link with violent video games, a viral Facebook post spread a fake quote attributed to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarth, R-Calif.).
The post purports to show a recent Fox News interview in which McCarthy said there are "no mass shootings in Japan because there are no video games there." The post’s caption reads: "HOW ARE REPUBLICANS EVEN REAL."
The post, which has been shared over 6,000 times, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
This is not accurate. While McCarthy did say that violent video games dehumanize players and can be a factor in mass shootings, he never mentioned that in the context of Japan. We don’t find anything close to this quote in his Aug. 4 appearance on Fox News’ show "Sunday Morning Futures."
At one point, McCarthy responded to a question from host Maria Bartiromo about the role video games play in violent behavior. (Read our fact-check about research disproving such a link.)
"The idea that these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others ... I’ve always felt that is a problem for future generations and others," McCarthy responded. "We’ve watched from studies shown before of what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others."
While mentioning video games, McCarthy did not mention Japan in the Bartiromo interview after the shootings.
The Facebook post’s claim came from a screenshot of a tweet that has since been deleted.
This faux quote is Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, August 5, 2019
Wall Street Journal, Mass Shootings in El Paso, Dayton Leave 31 Dead, Aug. 5, 2019
PolitiFact, Why do some people think mass shootings are staged every time?, Aug. 8, 2019
PolitiFact, No, the Dayton shooting suspect didn’t die in 2014, Aug. 6, 2019
YouTube, Kevin McCarthy touts first responders in El Paso shooting, Aug. 4, 2019
Daily Beast, Republican Politicians on Fox News Blame Video Games for Latest Mass Shootings, Aug. 4, 2019
CNN, Trump, McCarthy cite video games as a driver behind mass shootings, Aug. 5, 2019
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