In the past 30 days Y2K has been the leading media story. It has
taken only one week for CNN to begin hawking its Y2K video of the
footage from its year-end coverage. Yet, many of the Y2K stories also
covered the issue of firearms. After all, every end of year story based
on the FBI background check statistics mentioned Y2K as a possible cause
of more guns being purchased in the first three weeks of December 1999
than were purchased in that same time period in 1998.
The reporters who wrote those stories never remembered that Dec. 1,
1998 was the beginning date of the FBI's implementation of the National
Instant Background Check (NICS). In the first week of NICS countless
buyers were unable to purchase a firearms due to overloads on the phone
systems, overloads on the computer systems, and just poor service from
the FBI. In addition the FBI admitted that many of those December
rejections were erroneous. As a result there is a high probability that
the number of sales in December 1998 were lower than normal, another
explanation of the December 1999 increase in sales. However, even though
most articles compared sales between the two years, no one mentioned the
1998 FBI fiasco.
Advertisement - story continues below
The gun sales stories are just a small part of a biased reporting on
the gun issue. This past week the Media Research Center released a
study, "Outgunned: How The Network News Media Are Spinning the Gun
that confirmed what gun owners have known to be a fact of life: TV news
media has chosen sides in the debate over firearms policy -- they
advocate more firearms control legislation.
What should be startling to most gun owners, let alone fair-minded
Americans, is the extent of the bias. According to MRC, TV news shows on
ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN have a bias of 10 stories advocating more gun
control to one opposing gun control: a ratio of 10 to one, while the
morning news shows had an anti-gun bias of 13 to one. Having appeared on
those shows many times I have experienced the bias first hand. When
Katie Couric of NBC's Today Show interviewed me after the Jonesboro,
Ark., school shooting, she treated the anti-gun guest cordially and gave
him twice the time she condescendingly and rudely gave me. Although the
MRC study showed that the Today Show presented the most segments leaning
toward gun rights among the morning shows, I don't think the segment I
mentioned was among those leaning towards gun rights.
The most biased of the morning shows is Good Morning America, with
only eight guests opposing more gun control, while 33 guests supported
gun control. In addition MRC found that Good Morning America "ran a
total of 92 reports supporting gun control compared to just one that
favored the gun-rights defense." My experience on that show corroborated
the MRC findings. Good Morning America host Harry Smith after the
segment was over berated me for interrupting him when he tried to cut me
off instead of thanking me for appearing.
L. Brent Bozell III, chairman of the Media Research Center, in his
syndicated column, "The Culture Of Gun Hatred," calls 1999 "The Year of the School Shooting." He has confirmed my belief
that school shooting stories, commentaries, and editorials were in
greater abundance in 1999, than all the stories about the Clinton
impeachment. Additionally, Bozell's MRC report substantiates my August
comments in "Vicious Media Feeding Frenzy," where I said, "the media in cahoots with the professional gun banners
has been promoting more legislation designed to eliminate gun
Advertisement - story continues below
In that same article I discussed a study published by the University
of Michigan in June 1999, which came to the same conclusions as the MRC
study with regard to newspaper coverage of the NRA.
by Ph.D. candidate Brian Patrick documented the bias found in the
national press on the coverage of the NRA from 1990 to 1998. He showed
that almost 90 percent of editorials and opinion pieces about the NRA
were negative, while those other national groups such as National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People, American Civil
Liberties Union, American Association of Retired Persons, and Handgun
Control Inc. averaged only 52 percent negative coverage -- a difference
of almost 2 to 1. Interestingly enough, Patrick's study was covered by
precious few newspapers, television, or radio stations.
In addition to reporting on bias Media Research Center report the
four themes the television media repeated incessantly were:
- Access to guns leads to shootings
- Concealed weapons laws will only increase the carnage
- Gun makers are responsible for violence
- Will Congress waste the momentum we created toward gun control?
With the exception of the last theme, which has now changed to
"The Republican Congress wasted the momentum we created toward more gun
control," the others are still being utilized in the new millennium.
Unfortunately the MRC study only studied two years -- July 1997 to
June 1999. I believe that the past six months would not only reinforce
the study's conclusion, but also show that the media bias has become
even greater -- if that is possible.
Advertisement - story continues below
A cursory examination of print media during December 1999 discloses
that there were at least 12 editorials on gun policy published with a
six-to-one ratio in favor of restrictive gun control policy. A daily
review of December issues of the Washington Post and The New York Times
reveals that 22 times during that month these newspapers included
articles that had a bias towards more restrictive gun control
legislation, which, in addition, included four editorials promoting more
gun control, one in the Times and three in the Post.
This bias is not limited to the major newspapers. For example, why
did the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press reprint "Californians rush
to stock up on guns as year ends,"
an article from the San Francisco Examiner about gun sales in
California? Do they routinely include articles from the
Scripps-McClatchy Western Service? A search revealed that in the past
year no articles with that byline were found. Maybe it is because that
story supports the media's agenda of gun prohibition.
Although some may not believe that prohibition of the private ownership
of firearms is the ultimate objective, the media's own words are very
clear. Here is what the media is saying:
- "Whatever is being proposed is way too namby-pamby. ... Why
not just ban the ownership of handguns when nobody needs one? Why not
just ban semi-automatic rifles? Nobody needs one." -- Time National
Correspondent Jack E. White, Inside Washington, May 1.
- "I don't understand why we're piddling around. We should talk
about getting rid of guns in this country." -- The Washington Post's
Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, May 23.
- "Get rid of the guns. ... But I think if you took away the guns,
and I mean really take away the guns, not what Congress is doing now,
you would see that violent society diminish considerably." -- PBS
NewsHour essayist Roger Rosenblatt, May 20.
- "Repealing the Second Amendment is no cause for the
faint-hearted, but it remains the only way for liberals to trigger an
honest debate on the future of our bullet-plagued society. So what if
anti-gun advocates have to devote the next 15 or 20 years to the
struggle? The cause is worth the political pain. Failing to take bold
action condemns all of us to spend our lives cringing in terror every
time we hear a car backfire." -- USA Today columnist Walter Shapiro,
Mr. Shapiro has shown us the agenda -- repeal the Second
Amendment. The news media, which includes no one elected to any office,
has become the new legislative branch of not only the federal
government, but state government as well. A CNN reporter once told a
staff member of the NRA that they were covering an NRA convention not to
report news, but to make news. If the media can both make the news they
want to report and dictate policy issues about that news, even if the
policy is repealing a constitutional amendment, they have become the
oligarchy. Obviously we won't need elections.