Was Chris Pratt Criticized for a 'White Supremacist' T-shirt? Not Really

A handful of dumb tweets do not a story make.


The actor Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Recreation) was photographed wearing a t-shirt depicting the Gadsden flag. It's a well-known symbol for libertarians, which dates back to the American Revolution and symbolizes opposition to coercive government.

More recently, it has been a symbol of the Tea Party movement. And since the Tea Party movement contained some bad actors—or at least, some people who had a fairly limited conception of what individual liberty means—the flag's reputation has been tarnished by association.

This was all Yahoo needed to run the following story: "Chris Pratt criticized for 'white supremacist' T-shirt." While the author did manage to identify the correct Chris, virtually every other word of the headline is misleading.

It's not just that the Gadsden flag is hardly a white supremacist symbol. The idea that Pratt faced some massive public backlash is also quite wrong. The article cites as evidence a couple of tweets, but aside from the initial tweeter—Hunter Harris, a writer for Vulture—none of them come from verified or prominent accounts. We're not talking hundreds or even dozens of tweets. And again, we're talking about just a few tweets. There were many, many more tweets—as evidenced by the replies to Harris—in defense of Pratt, or taking issue with the attempt to drag him for this. "Nothing Really Happened to Pratt Except a Lot of People Thought This Attempted Dunk Was Dumb," would have been a more accurate headline.

We need a name for the noxious trend of journalists writing stories based on nothing more than a handful of tweets. I propose the Black Ariel Effect, with reference to a previous example of this exact same thing. I talked about it on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday:

NEXT: Amash: Republicans Defending Trump Are 'Hurting Themselves and They're Hurting the Country'

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  1. A handful of dumb tweets do not a story make.

    Uhhh… I’m willing to accept that. Your move, Journalism.

    1. Robby’s got standards. All his stories are based on at least a dozen dumb Tweets. He would do anything drastic or irresponsible, like cry out publicly for an investigation or criminal trial, for anything less than three baseless accusations made to public officials or journalists via email.

      1. On a side note, the hot chick on the panel with Robbie, Samantha Vinograd, totally would. Robbie might have been able to get something off her.

        Too bad Robbie is gay.

        1. On a side note, an internet search for ‘Samantha Vinograd nude’ yielded disappointing results. Nor does she have an entry on

  2. So I guess it’s totally okay to gloss over the terrible history of Chris Pratt being in Everwood.

    1. Everwood was my nickname in women’s history class

      1. Great screen name, and a very good comment.


  3. Recent evidence indicates that a handful of dumb tweets are the basis of most stories in journalism these days.

  4. The actor Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Recreation) was photographed wearing a t-shirt depicting the Gadsden flag.

    There is only one remedy: Chris Pratt should be held down and the T-shirt should be ripped from his sweaty body! And then… why stop there?

  5. Reliable sources is such a clown show.

  6. “And since the Tea Party movement contained some bad actors…”

    Who exactly are these bad actors that tarnished the Tea Party movement with perceived support for white supremacy?

    1. They’re confusing the Tea Party with Hollywood.

    2. Here is the whole sentence:

      “And since the Tea Party movement contained some bad actors—or at least, some people who had a fairly limited conception of what individual liberty means—the flag’s reputation has been tarnished by association.”

      Which is true enough as far as it goes. But I think the tarnishing of the reputation is mostly among the kind of people who think that any support for limited government or ostentatious show of patriotism is a dog-whistle for racism. Just finding value in Western civilization is “white supremacy” to some.

      1. Which means, the tarnishing may have happened, but it is a smear and Soave accepts the smear as a given.

      2. “The Tea Party had some people in it who weren’t anarchists! Wah! Muh Gadsen flag! Mine!”

    3. The Tea Party didn’t even litter.

  7. “Cover the controversy” merges seamlessly into “create the controversy, cover it, get clicks.”

    1. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.

  8. Chris is going to have to be careful–he’s an open, unapologetic Christian in a modern-day Vanity Fair, and that’s a recipe for getting unpersoned these days.

    Maybe the wedding to Arnie’s daughter was strategic so that he’d have someone with stroke in the industry to fly top cover in dealing with the Sodomites.

    1. Stossel also said he engages in animal cruelty.

      He didn’t really, but fuck journalistic integrity when it comes to people eating meat right? People meaning what they say and saying what they mean is for the plebes.

  9. Yeah, yahoo is trash. And so are left wing/social justice warriors tweeters.

    And “white supremacist” and “racist” have become synonyms for anything other the extreme Left wing. So the labels are meaningless.

    The Gadsen flag has zero to do with White Supremacy and so does the Tea Party – even if you make that association.

    1. As I mention above, a lot of people seem to think that any claim that Western culture is superior in any way is “white supremacy”.
      Which is really pretty racist as it supposes that non-white people can’t participate in or take advantage of the things that made Western civilization so successful and asserts an unbreakable link between race and culture.

        1. What the fuck?

          Who cares who discovered the math? If it’s valid it’s valid.
          And no one is trying to hide the fact that Indian and Islamic scholars contributed a lot to math.

          1. Do you remember the Simpsons episode were the boys and girls were divided by sex in school and Lisa had to dress as a boy to get real math education?

      1. Agreed.

        Anybody who points out the positives of Western culture is labeled a “white supremacist” by the lunatic Left. It’s insane. Somehow, they consider the concepts of reason, individual rights and even science to be white supremacist. As you point out, these concepts aren’t linked to race and can benefit all of humanity. If you have any respect for human welfare and find human suffering to be intolerable, it is lunacy to consider all cultures to be equal.

      2. Western culture IS superior.

        The empirical evidence is overwhelming. Throngs of people, you might even call them mobs, are risking their lives to enjoy the prosperity that western culture has created. A quartet of Quasimodos are screaming at the top their hysterical lungs not withstanding.

        1. Western culture IS superior.

          Also, the Western in ‘Western culture’ is a convenient descriptor, somewhat whimsical and even a bit of a metaphoric, not a defining quality of a/the culture which is and will be dominant now and for the next thousand years.

          1. After “Christendom” became passe as a descriptor.

        2. The new Spice Girls…..

          Scary Spice
          Stupid Spice
          Ugly Spice
          Jihad Spice

          1. I think I even know which one is which.

          2. Very good. Now as long as they don’t compound their offenses by actually singing…

            1. Well we know Cortez can dance pretty well in a t shirt while braless. So more of that would be nice. And I’m sure she would be total lez chow for Megan Rapinoe too.

              1. Based upon her level of self delusion as to her own importance, I bet she thinks she is the Bambi and thus doesn’t date anyone even marginally more attractive then her.

                1. Her fiancé is some little soyboy.

                  1. I was referring to Rappinoe, but, yeah your point is valid as well.

        3. I’m not going to say it’s superior in every way, but there is a reason why it came to dominate in the world and it isn’t because Europeans were any more violent or oppressive than anyone else.

          1. Fork > Chopstick

            (Tho that big dipper spoon with the pho is genius)

            1. Depends on the food.

  10. so what’s the over/under then?

  11. When did Adam Conover start appearing with that little twink on Unreliable Sources?

    Oh, my bad …

  12. “We need a name for the noxious trend of journalists writing stories based on nothing more than a handful of tweets.”

    Since “fake news” has already been taken and devalued, let me suggest a few possible names for this trend:

    1. “Journalistic malpractice.”
    2. “Termination offense.”
    3. “Reason to be told to learn to code”

    Other suggestions welcome.

      1. +1

    1. Socially Irresponsible Media

    2. Come on guys, you act like this is a negative for the “journalists” involved.

      How about these:
      4. Fast track on the Facebook train
      5. Google management material
      6. The Grey Lady’s Handmaiden

      and the ever popular

      7. Cocktail party A List

    3. “We need a name for the noxious trend of journalists writing stories based on nothing more than a handful of tweets.”


    4. What once was “yellow journalism” is now “yelling journalism”.

    5. “Blue Check Journalism”

    6. We’ve got one:

      Robby Soave.

  13. And I recommend that you
    Stop watching the news
    Because the news contrives to frighten you
    To make you feel sad and alone
    To make you feel your mind isn’t your own

    1. what is this quote?

      1. Morrissey song

      2. From the ice-age to the dole-age
        There is but one concern
        I have just discovered :
        Some girls are bigger than others
        Some girls are bigger than others
        Some girl’s mothers are bigger than
        Other girl’s mothers

        Truer words have never been spoken.

    2. You will obey me while I lead you
      And eat the garbage that I feed you
      Until the day that we don’t need you
      Don’t go for help . . . no one will heed you
      Your mind is totally controlled
      It has been stuffed into my mold
      And you will do as you are told
      Until the rights to you are sold

  14. Dude.

    Pratt is also an out-of-the-closet Christian.

    Wore a clearly racist T shirt.

    A person of pallor.

    How many dog whistles do you need to hear before you pick up the scent?

    Clearly racist.

    1. How many dog whistles do you need to hear before you pick up the scent?

      I approve of this mixed metaphor.

      1. Thank you. I like my metaphors mixed, not stirred.

        1. If you can’t stand the heat, don’t live in a glass house.

          1. Nine stitches in time makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

          2. can lead a gift horse to water but don’t look him in the mouth.

            1. Don’t your meat loaf, especially is a pan of boiling frogs.

              1. I’ll do anything for love but I won’t do that.

        2. If you’re the only one hearing the dog whistle, you’re probably a duck.

          1. “If you sit down at a poker table and everyone else is hearing dog whistles, you must quack like a duck.” -Old Henry Saul

  15. That Trump dominates Twitter ought to be all that is necessary to prove the absolute uselessness of it as a form of communication.

    Journalism based on Twitter is akin to post processing of effluent.

    1. But it sure makes journalism easy. Just go to twitter, and you have the Pulse of America by merely by looking at the “trending” tab.

  16. The criticism wasn’t coming from twitter. The criticism was the article itself, trying to hide as objective reporting.

    1. That’s what this journalistic trend really is. “I saw people on Twitter saying something I agree with, so I’m going to write an article about it.”

  17. “”A handful of dumb tweets do not a story make.””

    Trump disagrees.

    1. When does Trump ever make just a handful of dumb tweets?

  18. Would’ve been more fun if they called him Star Lord.

  19. “A handful of dumb tweets do not a story make.”

    Listen! That wooshing sound is 80% of mainstream media vanishing – – – – –

  20. Chris Pratt was wearing a white t-shirt under his shirt.
    That makes him a racist.
    Just ask Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Omar or Tlaib.
    These women know a racist wearing a white t-shirt under his suit better than anyone.

  21. Generally, when any news outlet (including Reason) uses tweets as the primary source and/or opinions for its story, I get bored and stop reading. It’s not good journalism to cite several or dozens of tweets, in my view. It’s akin to salacious, unfounded gossip mongering. But journalists, evidently, do not have time to contact the original sources for an explanatory opinion, so they rely on citing tweets to try to put a “human” or man/woman-on-the street feel to it, to give it some immediacy or validity. Almost all of it is garbage. Almost all of social media is garbage, I feel. The best thing I ever did was delete all of my social media accounts — FB, Twitter, Instagram — all of them.

    Separately, the use of the word “just” in headlines for online articles to imply “breaking news” is supremely aggravating, as it is designed solely as clickbait and not particularly strong in style grammatically. For example, The Weather Channel’s “Miami Just Tied Its Warmest Night of All-Time” when “Miami Ties Its Warmest Night of All-Time” would have been much better. But nobody cares. 🙁

    1. Being partial to statistics, I just think they should always post the number of Tweets cited as evidence in their story against the number of Tweets that took place during that time frame.

      For example, the Yahoo article might be “Chris Pratt criticized for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt by 0.000004% of Twitter”. The article would explain that number by saying that six Tweets over four hours out of a total of 2 million Tweets were saying this about Christ Pratt. Then we all know what we’re dealing with in cold, hard numbers.

      1. Also include the cold hard number of the percentage of the population that uses twitter – – – –

        1. Good point. I have a placeholder Twitter account, but I generated no output so far. So I’m a de facto non-user of Twitter.

  22. “Not Really”

    Sort of like the claim that the moon landings were fake.
    “Not really” doesn’t quite cover the gulf between reality and bullshit.

    1. The fact that the space agencies of the former Soviet Union and later Russian Federation act as though they believe the Apollo Moon Landings were real is further proof of Russian Collusion.

      (bracket that with [sarcasm] [/sarcasm] tags)

  23. Author Larry Correia refers to this as the Three Cooters Theory of Internet Discourse –

  24. Do journalists still leave their homes these days? I thought all you guys do is troll twitter reading each other’s word vomit.

  25. Yahoo has updated the story and removed all references to white supremacy. But they’re still going with being a 2A supporter and or Libertarian makes you far right.

    1. Pretty sure I saw some antifa skulking around Friday Harbor today. Uh- oh!


      1. Can we shut down ferry service to it then? I feel bad for the residents but sometimes quarantine is necessary.b

  26. Someone needs to point out that the only reason you’re saying Chris Pratt wasn’t really criticized for a ‘white supremacist’ t-shirt is because you’re only counting blue checkmarks as people.

  27. “We need a name for the noxious trend of journalists writing stories based on nothing more than a handful of tweets.”

    The Washington Post editorial board?

  28. Yahoo’s news are just posts from Huffington Post and other garbage blogs. It’s pathetic.

    1. Don’t forget BBC and The Guardian, oh my bad, I see you already covered that with other garbage blogs.

  29. The reality is there is no incentive to NOT tweet minority opinions. You don’t make money on social media by stating the obvious and avoiding controversy. You make money by stirring shit up and getting people to hit the follow button.

    1. Or to sum it all up, Echo Chambers can be and are profitable when you hit the right amount of followers. You can look at the talking heads on Fox and CNN and figure out that “influencer” translates into market share.

  30. “And since the Tea Party movement contained some bad actors—or at least, some people who had a fairly limited conception of what individual liberty means—the flag’s reputation has been tarnished by association.”

    Come on, Robbie, give us a link or something.

  31. […] once again, a few unhinged liberals manufactured a choice to self-detonate their doing work day over this non-troversy. Shapiro is […]

  32. […] Was Chris Pratt Criticized for a ‘White Supremacist’ T-shirt? Not Really: A handful of d… – Robby Soave, Reason Magazine […]

  33. Isn’t the term “yahoo” of problematic origin and usage?

    Definitely, a criticism of a spec in your brother’s eye, while having a beam in one’s own.

  34. The Gadsden Flag predated the Tea Party.
    The Gadsden Flag is a license plate option in Tennessee and Virginia based on Revolutionary War heritage.
    I have a self printed Gadsden Flag sticker in my pick up truck rear window, opposite side of my Coelacanth Pro Shop sticker.
    So even if I accepted the criticism of the Tea Party (which I don’t) the Gadsden Flag is untainted.

    373 characters. Oops I’ve exceeded the 240 attention span of the twits.

    1. Ooops oop. The new tweet max is 280. I’m still stretching the attention span of typical tweeting twit.

  35. When I found out Pratt isn’t a retarded prog, that actually made me like him more. He’s been okay in several things I’ve seen him in, but nothing special IMO. But knowing he’s not an idiot is a plus. It definitely gives him bonus points like Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, etc.

  36. Disturbingly, Harris chose to tweet in English, the language of both The Turner Diaries and the Unabomber Manifesto.

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