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The AP Reports White Nationalist ‘Appears to Have Lied’ to Them About FL Shooter Being Group Member

Yesterday there was reporting about the Florida school shooter being part of a white nationalist organization, but now the AP is reporting they were apparently lied to.

And no, that’s not a paraphrase:

A white nationalist appears to have lied to The Associated Press and other news organizations when he claimed that Florida school-shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his obscure group.

Multiple news outlets picked up this news yesterday, but law enforcement said today they’ve seen no evidence of the claim made by Jordan Jereb.

Politico filed a report earlier Friday on “how white nationalists fooled the media” that contains this statement from the AP:

For its part, an AP spokesperson said, “AP spoke with the leader of Republic of Florida, who said Cruz was a member of his group and had participated in exercises in Tallahassee. In the course of continued reporting, police and other groups were not able to confirm Cruz’s association with the white nationalist militia, and that is what is reflected in the wire.”

And per the AP tonight:

Jereb told The Associated Press on Thursday that Cruz had participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee, where his group is based. Jereb said he didn’t know Cruz personally and that “he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did.”

Jereb told the Miami Herald that he knew “with certainty” that Cruz “had something to do with us.” He told the Daily Beast that Cruz “wasn’t particularly active” in his group but came to Tallahassee with a “secretive cell” from Clearwater, Florida. ABC News reported that three former schoolmates of Cruz said he was part of the Republic of Florida and was often seen with Jereb…

Jereb quickly backed away from his claims. Someone posting under Jereb’s name on Gab, a social media site popular with far-right extremists, complained about getting criticized over a “prank.”

The AP, of course, got some criticism over running with the claim in the first place:

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac