AP Pair Upset at Lack of Gun Control Calls and Clout of NRA in Aurora, Col. Massacre's Wake

Poor David Espo and Nancy Benac. A six-paragraph squib this morning headlined "Calls for gun control stir little support" at the wire service's national site and "Despite a string of high-profile shootings, calls for gun control stir little support" at Newser.com really should have been titled "Why Aren't You Guys Politicizing This, D**nit?"

The two AP "reporters" bitterly wail and gnash their teeth over how little outcry there has been for stricter gun laws after the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre (shown in full because of its brevity and subsequent later expansion, to be discussed later in this post, and for fair use and discussion purposes).

Here it is:

Many people outside of journalism and politics are mourning the dead and praying for them, the recovery of those who were wounded, and the families of all involved. David and Nancy, you guys don't mind if America does that for at least a couple of days, do you? Well, it's obvious that you do.

The expanded version at the AP's national site time-stamped at 9:33 a.m. chronicles the change in public opinion during the past two decades and bemoans the influence of the National Rifle Association:

By 2004, when the assault weapon ban lapsed, congressional Democrats made no serious attempt to pass an extension. President George W. Bush was content to let it fade into history.

Public sentiment had swung.

According to a Gallup poll in 1990, 78 percent of those surveyed said laws covering the sale of firearms should be stricter, while 19 percent said they should remain the same or be loosened.

By the fall of 2004 support for tougher laws had dropped to 54 percent. In last year's sounding, 43 percent said they should be stricter, and 55 percent said they should stay the same or be made more lenient.

... In the current election cycle, the NRA has made 88 percent of its political donations to Republicans, and 12 percent to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. The disparity obscures that the organization consistently supports some Democrats, a strategy that allows it to retain influence in both parties.

Geez, guys, the NRA gives money to candidates who support Second Amendment rights regardless of party, even (in my opinion, sometimes not wisely) if those candidates avidly support other politicians who would disarm the populace in a heartbeat if they had half a chance. Party has nothing to do with it.

Espo and Benac also failed to note that the Supreme Court has twice upheld an individual's right to keep and bear arms in the past five years.

As to the noted swing in public opinion, it correlates pretty closely with the rise of talk radio in the early 1990s and throughout the rest of the decade, reinforced by the influence of the center-right forums and blogs from the late-1990s on. In other words, the change in sentiment has a lot to do with the fact that the Associated Press and other establishment press outlets no longer have a death grip on what is and isn't news, or on the discussion of important public issues.

No wonder David Espo and Nancy Benac seem so bitter.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.