Sunday, December 29, 2013

Think The Mainstream Media Is Fair On Gun Rights? Think Again!

Most people who do not own guns depend upon the mainstream media for all of their information on gun rights and gun control.  Sadly, this means that they are only getting one side.  As were near the end of 2013, let's look back on the media bias on gun rights.

First, let's consider the network morning and evening news broadcasts - ABC, NBC and CBS.  How fairly did they cover the issues following the Newtown tragedy?

Media Research Center

That's right, stories attacking gun rights outnumbered those supporting gun rights by eight to one.  No bias here!

But perhaps they are simply reflecting public opinion.  Maybe the skewed number of stories just reflects the fact the gun rights supporters are a small minority.  Well, this poll was done at almost the same time - and the results are interesting:

More than 2 out of 3 Americans believe that more guns equals less crime, gun laws can't reduce mass shootings, and the the 2nd Amendment protects against tyranny.  Oh yeah - the NRA has a higher approval rating than either the president or congress.  One thing is clear: When news coverage is compared to polls of public opinion, the mainstream media is not reflecting public opinion - it is actively trying to change it.  That, my friends, is called bias.

What about individual reporters?  How biased are they?

Let's start with CNN's Piers Morgan (CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, December 18, 2012):

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt: “I honestly don’t understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It’s incomprehensible.”

CNN host Piers Morgan: “You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?...You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever....You don’t give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America?...I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It’s down to idiots like you. Mr. Pratt.... You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense. And you shame your country.”

Let's dissect Morgan's statement:

First, he uses the classic leftist argument - ridicule the person.  In debate class, this gets you an F - it's called an ad hominem argument.

Second, he makes the unsupported statement that Pratt has no coherent argument. (More about this later.)

Third, he uses the propaganda method of talking about the "gun murder rate", not the murder rate.  This is intended to do two things: Subtly get people to think that murders are only committed with guns, and enable the distortion of crime statistics.  In the eyes of gun control advocates only those killed with guns matter - because these are the only murders that advance their cause.

Fourth, he lies.  His whole point - after his personal attack on Pratt - is that the more guns that are sold, the higher the murder rate.  Therefore, anyone who supports gun rights is "a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense".  WOW.

But what are the facts?

If anything, FBI statistics suggest that more gun sales results in FEWER MURDERS not more murders.

What about Pratt's self defense argument - the one that Morgan failed to address?

Well, another thing was going on during the same years when the murder rate was cut in half: Licensed citizen concealed carry exploded.  Blue states issue permits to anyone who meet the requirements without requiring proof of "need".  In 1986 there were 8 states (including 2 that required no permits) - by 2013 this number had risen to 43 states.  Let's see, more guns - and millions more people carrying guns - and the murder rate goes down by almost half?  Not to mention the thousands of individual stories of firearms used in self-defense.  NO WONDER MORGAN DIDN'T ADDRESS PRATT'S ARGUMENT!

Then there is Tom Brokaw - who tries to link the gun rights movement to Bull Connor and the KKK:

Text: “It reminds me a lot of what happened in the South in the 1960s during the civil rights movement. Good people stayed in their houses and didn’t speak up when there was carnage in the streets and the total violation of the fundamental rights of African-Americans as they marched in Selma, and they let Bull Connor and the redneck elements of the South and the Klan take over their culture in effect and become the face of it. And now a lot of people who I know who grew up during that time have deep regrets about not speaking out.” — Ex-NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, January 17, urging more restrictions on gun rights. 

First of all, Brokaw fails to recognize that, as we have see above, support for gun rights and the 2nd Amendment runs between 1/2 and 2/3 of the American public - probably because he lives in a liberal bubble.

Second, and perhaps most offensive, is the fact that Brokaw is using the Civil Rights Movement to argue for measures that violate the explicitly guaranteed rights of Americans.

Third, Brokaw's statement is especially offensive because gun control has historically been used to deprive Black Americans of the right to own guns and without private firearms the Deacons for Defense would not have been able to protect the leaders of the Civil Rights movement.

Rev./Dr. Martin Luther King would not have been able to protect himself without the 2nd Amendment.  Consider this quote from a Huffington Post article: "William Worthy, a journalist who covered the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that once, during a visit to King's parsonage, he went to sit down on an armchair in the living room and, to his surprise, almost sat on a loaded gun. Glenn Smiley, an adviser to King, described King's home as 'an arsenal.'"  Furthermore, as noted in the same article, Dr. King applied for a carry permit - and was turned down because he was black.

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has produced an excellent documentary on the racist roots of gun control laws:

Martin Bashir - before he was forced to resign for suggesting that someone should defecate in Gov. Sarah Palin's mouth - used strikingly similar language to equate the NRA with Hitler.

“As the gun lobby has armed its barricades since that horrific shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, one of the arguments that they continue to use against any kind of regulation is to unashamedly invoke the name of Adolf Hitler. Supporters of the NRA say that history proves tyrannical leaders begin by robbing law-abiding citizens of their firearms....Of course, for a nation hell bent on genocide, Hitler did not allow the Jews to possess firearms, but virtually everyone else was free to do so. Which I guess turns this story on its head. Because if anyone deserves to be equated with Hitler on the issue of firearms, then it’s not the President, it’s the NRA.”— Host Martin Bashir on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir January 14.

Frankly, it takes a lot of nerve to label an organization like the NRA as equal to the NAZIS when the NRA has both Black people and Jews on its' national board, has recently had a Jewish woman as its' president and has a 56% approval rating - but then again, nerve is something Martin Bashir has never lacked.

But what about his point that the NAZIS only deprived Jews from owning firearms?  

Well, as you might expect, there is much more to the story.  First of all, Germany had nothing at all like the 2nd Amendment.  Before the NAZIS ever came to power, owning a gun was a privilege, not a right.  Under the 1928 gun control law, all guns were registered and permits were required to own or carry each firearm.  This gave the NAZIS many tools to disarm opponents.  In 1938 the laws were changed to disarm all Jews, and to exempt party members from all gun laws.   This law journal article documents the links between German gun control laws and the holocaust.  The bottom line is that Bashir is wrong - after 1938 gun ownership was legally forbidden for Jews, highly controlled for other Germans and totally uncontrolled for NAZI party members who were exempt from all gun laws. Additionally, post WWI, the German government had confiscated all firearms - meaning that there were very few guns in civilian hands (only those purchased since 1928).  Taken together, all of these measures resulted in very few Germans owning  firearms at the onset of WW2.  See this Wikipedia article.

Of course, Bashir completely ignores the point that before any future leader could overthrow our democracy, they would have to disarm the American public.  He also ignores the lesson that once government knows where all the guns are, they can be confiscated in the future - as well as the lesson that well-intentioned laws can be used by evil men in ways the authors never intended.  Finally, he ignores the fact that by a margin of 2 to 1 Americans believe that the 2nd Amendment deters tyranny.

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has also produced a film covering this issue.

CBS’s Bob Schieffer during live coverage of Obama’s gun control speech, January 16, 2013:

“Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely passing civil rights legislation, as Lyndon Johnson was able to do; and before that, surely, defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby. This is a turning point in this country....Unless we figure out a way to make sure that something like Newtown never happens again, we’re not the country that we once were.”

Wow - here we go again:  The "gun lobby" - which in reality is composed of many millions of Americans (NRA membership = 6 Million) - is put in the same category as Osma bin Laden, racists, and the NAZIS.  Imagine if that same language was used in connection with the NAACP - what would the reaction be?

In reality, like them or not, the NRA, the GOA, the CCRKBA and many other gun rights groups ARE CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS - in exactly that same way that the ACLU is a civil rights organization.   They protect the rights secured by the 2nd Amendment.  Schieffer thinks that these rights should be violated so that "something like Newtown never happens again".

Notice that he did not say anything about dealing with our broken mental health system, providing real ARMED school security (which is the ONLY way to "make sure something like Newtown never happens again"), or enforcing current laws (which is not happening).  Instead, it is all about new, more restrictive gun laws.

And as we close out the year, I have a question for Piers Morgan, Tom Brokaw, Martin Bashir, Bob Schieffer: If we all agree that mental illness is just as much of a factor in these mass shootings as firearms (and there is no question that it is) - then why have you made more firearms restrictions - most of which would have had no effect whatsoever upon these terrible incidents - your number one priority?

Could it be that you are afraid that better mental health care and improved school security might work?  Are you afraid that if these terrible mass shootings end, you might loose your leverage? 

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for an answer.

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