Audio debunks viral claim ‘falsely smearing’ Neil Gorsuch over transcription error

Political commentators, reporters, and at least one media organization distributed clear misinformation about Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on Friday.

The misinformation circulated on the same day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for President Joe Biden’s constitutionally questionable vaccine mandate. But audio of Gorsuch from the hearing clarified that he did not, in fact, say what was claimed.

What happened?

Elie Mystal, a far-left political commentator who routinely appears on MSNBC, claimed that Gorsuch alleged during oral arguments that the seasonal flu kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.

“NO IT DOES NOT. STOP GETTING YOUR MEDICAL STATS FROM FOX NEWS,” Mystal blasted, adding links to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the seasonal flu.


“I know Gorsuch, nor any conservative, nor any ‘omg I’m bored and want to go to the movies’ person, will APOLOGIZE for their consistent Covid misinformation, but Covid is ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more deadly then the GOD***N FLU,” Mystal added.

Mystal’s tweet, which generated more than 10,000 “retweets” and 65,000 “likes,” was amplified by far-left journalist Aaron Rupar.

“The flu kills about 30,000 Americans each year. I’m kinda surprised Gorsuch would broadcast his ignorance like this. I looked this up with help from Google in about 10 seconds,” Rupar said while quoting Mystal’s tweet.

Newsweek also circulated the claim. “Justice Neil Gorsuch Slammed After He Suggests Flu Kills ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ Each Year,” a headline at the news outlet read.

But what is the truth?

Gorsuch did not say the seasonal flu kills “hundreds of thousands” of people each year. Audio from the oral arguments makes this year.

In fact, the audio demonstrates that Gorsuch made a clear pause between saying “hundreds” and “thousands,” and he did not say “of” in between each number.

“Flu kills, I believe, hundreds, thousands of people every year,” Gorsuch said.

In posting the audio of Gorsuch, commentator Phil Kerpen said, “Hey genises. You are falsely smearing Justice Gorsuch for a TRANSCRIPTION ERROR. … Correct and retract your false stories.”


However, the official Supreme Court transcript recorded Gorsuch as saying “hundreds of thousands.” Transcripts, though, are not always correct, and are often edited to correct the record.



Chris Enloe