National

Snopes says rumor of chair-throwing Sanders supporters is false

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire when multiple media outlets reported his supporters had been violent when they felt the Nevada Democratic Convention was unfair. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire when multiple media outlets reported his supporters had been violent when they felt the Nevada Democratic Convention was unfair. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki) AP

It was the first two words of a New York Times story and was repeated over and over again by major news organizations.

“Thrown chairs. Leaked cellphone numbers. Death threats spewed across the Internet,” read the lead on the New York Times story.

But now it seems no one can remember seeing any thrown chairs at the controversial Nevada Democratic Convention, by supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders or otherwise.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses in February, but the Sanders campaign was hopeful the delegates for each candidate would come out fairly even. That hope was dashed when nearly 60 of Sanders’s potential delegates were deemed ineligible due to a dispute over the rules during the convention on May 14.

And while the chaos and ensuing death threats are indisputable, the chair throwing seems to be exaggerated, if not entirely fiction, according to a report by Snopes, a rumor-busting website.

The report says initial reports about the chair throw came from local journalist Jon Ralston, who live-tweeted events as they occurred at the convention. Ralston did not live-tweet about the chairs being thrown, but tweeted after the convention that it did happen.

One video does show a man pick a chair up and hold it above his head, but it is placed back down and not thrown. Afterward, it appears a couple of people hug the man who was picking up the chair.

In an exchange with another reporter on Twitter, Ralston asks if the other reporter got video of the chair-throwing incident because Ralston left early. That suggests Ralston likely heard about the incident second hand, Snopes argues.

“As far as we know, no video documenting such claims has yet surfaced, but coverage of the chair-throwing fracas continues unabated,” the report says.

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