Make us your home page

Joshua Gillin, PolitiFact Florida/Times Staff Writer

Joshua Gillin

Joshua Gillin is a staff writer for PolitiFact Florida and the Tampa Bay Times. He previously was a reporter, editor and blogger for tbt*, the daily tabloid edition of the Times, and still writes their bi-weekly video game column, Geek Speak. A Nebraska native, he has a degree in journalism from his home state university and is a diehard Cornhusker. Besides a stint writing about media news for The Poynter Institute, he has worked in many writing and editing capacities in news, sports and features at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He lives in St. Petersburg.

Phone: (727) 893-8337


Twitter: @JPGillin

  1. PunditFact: Donald Trump did not kill NFL's tax-exempt status by executive action


    The statement

    "President Trump signs executive order stripping NFL of 'non-profit' status."

    Bloggers, Oct. 9 in a headline

    The ruling

    A news story that asserts President Donald Trump's feud with the National Football League led him to revoke the organization's nonprofit tax status is a trick play created by a fake news website.

    The headline on an Oct. 9 post on read, "President Trump signs executive order stripping NFL of 'non-profit' status."...

    Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers (82) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrate a touchdown in the final seconds of the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
  2. PunditFact: How clickbait ads make money for fake news sites


    Robert Shooltz knows that fake news can lead to real money.

    He runs, a website that parodies real news outlets by running absurd posts written to read like factual articles. Working online in his off hours, he uses the site to generate advertising revenue.

    In an average month, he said, his side hustle can net him about $1,000 a month. It's not much, but it pays for server space and site promotion, to bring in more readers....

    Ad services that serve up clickbait content known as “chum” may look legitimate at first, but are actually generating money for fake news sites like The only thing that matters is the reader must keep clicking.
  3. PolitiFact: Fact-checking death rates for working-class America


    The statement

    "(For) white working-class America, death rates among white men are up 20 percent."

    Alex Castellanos, Aug. 20 on ABC's This Week

    The ruling

    Castellanos sent us articles from the New York Times and the Guardian about a 2015 paper by husband-and-wife Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case. Their research showed that death rates for middle-aged, white Americans had been going up, while they had been going down for every other age, race and ethnic group. Those rates also had been falling in other countries....

  4. PunditFact: Fake news story twists Paul Ryan's words on poor people's health care coverage


    The statement

    Says Paul Ryan, left, said that 22 million Americans "choose to be poor, so it's their own problem if they can't afford to be healthy.", June 28 in an Internet post

    The ruling

    A story that claimed House Speaker Paul Ryan said millions of people have willingly elected to be impoverished is fake news.

    A June 28 post on ran under the headline, "Paul Ryan: '22 million Americans choose to be poor, so it's their own problem if they can't afford to be healthy'." Facebook users flagged the post as part of the social media site's efforts to fight fake news....

    House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., joined by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., meets with reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA107
  5. Fact-checking wild (and fake) news about Florida on Facebook


    For a state well-known as a hotbed for bizarre true occurrences, Florida is the setting for a healthy number of fake news stories, too.

    We've been fact-checking fake news stories in cooperation with Facebook for several months, and there's been no shortage of Florida fabrications. The examples involve cannibals, celebrity relocations and made-up quotes from real politicians.

    Here's a look at some of the stories set in the Sunshine State that we've debunked and rated Pants on Fire....

  6. PolitiFact: If you're fooled by fake news, this man probably wrote it


    If you've seen a fake news story on the Internet, there's a good chance it came from the mind of a 45-year-old Maine man who umpires Little League games.

    Barack Obama arrested for wiretapping Donald Trump! Clinton Foundation ship caught smuggling refugees! Trey Gowdy's son found dead in a D.C. dumpster!

    These stories are completely made up. But his stories have become so popular that they're being stolen by other fake news authors who post the stories to their own URLs, hoping to profit....

    Blair wrote a fake saga about Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson allegedly being assassinated in a car crash. (Screengrab)
  7. PolitiFact's guide to fake news websites and what they peddle


    At first look, certainly seems a trustworthy source. So does And Even has an official ring to it.

    But all of these websites peddle bogus stories, either by making up fake news or sharing it from other sources. And it's not always apparent to readers that's the case.

    Since December, we at PolitiFact have been partnering with Facebook to root out fabricated reports shared by social media users. As of April 19, we've written more than 80 fact-checks about fake news stories. We've noted some trends along the way, chief among them that it can be really difficult for readers — from casual skimmers to seasoned newshounds — to spot fake news outlets when they pop up....

    The website ran this fake story about children being infected with HIV by tainted bananas. (Screengrab)
  8. PolitiFact: Tom Price did not tell cancer patients to die more quickly


    The statement

    Says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said, "It's better for our budget if cancer patients die more quickly."

    Bloggers, March 16 in a headline

    The ruling

    A fake news story pegged to a real forum with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price falsely quotes him as saying it's better for cancer patients to die than to waste taxpayer money....

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price speaks outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 13, 2017, after Congress' nonpartisan budget analysts reported that 14 million people would lose coverage next year under the House bill dismantling former President Barack Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) DCAH137
  9. Clearwater native starts fake news website as a joke, gets 1 million views within 2 weeks


    James McDaniel, a 28-year-old Clearwater native, said he created a fake news website last month as a joke to see just how naive Internet readers could be.

    The headlines came quick and easy. "Bombshell: WikiLeaks leaks 'lost' Clinton email." "Obama tweet: Trump must be removed, by any means necessary." "Man pardoned by Obama 3 months ago arrested for murder." "Whoopi Goldberg: Navy SEAL Widow was 'Looking for Attention'."...

    James McDaniel is a Clearwater native.
  10. PunditFact: Donald Trump did not give every working American $612 through stimulus program


    The statement

    "Trump just gave every working, legal man, woman and child in the USA $612 each!"

    Bloggers, Feb. 14 in a headline

    The ruling

    A widely shared (and false) Internet report that President Donald Trump started a program to give legal citizens hundreds of dollars apiece as a "stimulus bonus" is really a made-up claim from a joke site.

    Yet some of you out there are thinking it's true....

    President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., applaud. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP) DCJE147
  11. PunditFact: Website wrong with attack on Donald Trump, Dakota Access Pipeline


    The statement

    Says Donald Trump was "caught investing in (the) Dakota Pipeline before signing it.", Feb. 8 in a headline

    The ruling

    A left-leaning blog asserts that President Donald Trump was busted for approving the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for financial gain, but the facts of the case ended up being buried.

    "Breaking: Trump caught investing in Dakota Pipeline before signing it," read the headline on an undated post on The blog regularly posts items lambasting Trump and his policies....

    President Donald Trump shows off his executive order advancing the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Jan. 24. It is unknown if he still owns stock in Phillips 66, which AP says owns a share of the pipeline.
  12. Fact-checking fake news reveals how hard it is to kill pervasive 'nasty weed' online


    No, the United Nations did not order former President Barack Obama to pay African-Americans reparations.

    A distraught GOP Electoral College voter did not choose suicide over Donald Trump.

    And, in case you weren't sure, Sarah Palin did not call for a boycott of the Mall of America because it had a black Santa.

    For the past six weeks, we at PolitiFact have been digging deep into Facebook's news feeds to identify and disprove "fake news." Working with Facebook, we've been fact-checking news stories that have been flagged by readers as potentially fake or deliberately misleading. If we agree that a story is false, readers who attempt to share the post on Facebook first receive a warning. ...

    The Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
  13. PolitiFact Florida: Utility group says Amendment 1 protects seniors, but measure offers no new regulations


    Organizers for a proposed constitutional amendment about electricity generated by solar power have told voters their proposal would safeguard consumers — especially seniors.

    Consumers for Smart Solar, the utility-backed group behind Amendment 1, has spent millions to promote the measure in commercials, mailers and web ads.

    "Amendment 1 protects Florida seniors from scams and rip-offs," claimed one ad on YouTube....

  14. PolitiFact: Trump's claim about weak economic growth under President Obama rates Mostly True


    The statement

    Says President Barack Obama "is the first president in modern history not to have a single year of 3 percent growth."

    Donald Trump, Oct. 28 in a campaign speech

    The ruling

    When Trump talked of growth, he likely meant the percent change in gross domestic product, called GDP, which is the total value of goods and services in the country. The time frame he's using is indistinct, but "a single year" probably relates to the annual change in GDP....

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Selma, N.C. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) NCEV218
  15. PolitiFact Florida: No, Hillary Clinton did not meet with Broward elections supervisor Brenda Snipes


    As early voters in Florida started casting votes, conservative websites buzzed about new evidence of crooked campaign tactics by Hillary Clinton to secure the crucial battleground state.

    The alleged scheme centered on left-leaning Broward County, already in the news for distributing some mail-in ballots without Amendment 2, a proposal to legalize medical marijuana.

    The claims originated from Roger Stone, a Donald Trump supporter and former campaign operative who talked of a "secret" meeting in an interview to conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones on Oct. 26....