A funny thing happened on the way to banning assault weapons in the deep blue state of Maryland. Some Democrats in the overwhelmingly-Democratic House of Delegates are considering amendments to reform the bill to carve out some exemptions. Given the composition of the state government, it may be the best bet that gun rights advocates in Maryland can realistically hope for in the short term, but to the Washington Post, it's a "gut[ting]" of Gov. O'Malley's proposal, even as House Democrats pushing changes say they are seeking to avoid banning guns merely on the basis of cosmetic features.
In his page B1 March 20 story, "Proposals would allow some semiautomatic rifles in Md.," staff writer Aaron C. Davis opened by lumping in "veterans and sportsmen" unfavorably with the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter and the Beltway snipers by noting that "[s]ome semiautomatic rifles" that were "popular" with the former were used by the latter and could be legal under a revised gun ban in the Old Line State.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Luo's usual beat is campaign finance, where he has a hobby of trying to get the IRS interested in GOP fundraising tactics he doesn't approve of. On Monday Luo displayed a very trusting nature in government regulation, assuming that the men lawless enough to murder women would have been stopped by gun restrictions.
The Maryland legislature recently voted to abolish capital punishment in the state, making Maryland the sixth state in the last six years to eliminate the death penalty.
The primary argument for repealing the law is that our justice system is imperfect and it's possible an innocent person could be condemned. Indeed, anti-death penalty activists presented Kirk Bloodsworth, a former death-row inmate, convicted of the 1984 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. His conviction was overturned on appeal after the court found the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. However, Bloodsworth was retried and sentenced to two life terms, a conviction later upheld on appeal. In 1993, Bloodsworth was exonerated after DNA linked someone else to the crime.
We should give credit to the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward, with help from AP Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta and writer Alan Fram, for calling out politicians and other gun-grabbers who have been abusing a two decades-old gun-related statistic and passing it off as if it's still factual.
That's nice, but Woodward could have saved many words, mountains of paper, and tons of bandwidth by telling readers in plain English that claims such as one made President Barack Obama that "as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check" have never, ever been true. Instead, the AP reporter used 13 paragraphs, at one point excusing researchers who came up with a 30-40 percent estimate even "with a clear picture eluding them." There was never any defensible basis for their "estimate." Excerpts from Woodward's Wednesday item following the jump:
In a mild shock -- mild because it's mentioned before the elections, but probably won't be when it really matters after the polls close -- Frank Bajak and Jorge Rueda at the Associated Press, in a story about how the last opposition TV station in Venezuela is being sold to an insurance magnate who is reportedly "friendly with government," noted the extraordinary handicaps that Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate faces as he attempts to unseat the Chavista successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez in April's upcoming elections.
Detroit's former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted Monday on multiple serious charges, including racketeering, fraud, and extortion. But Times reporter Mary Chapman buried Kilpatrick's Democratic party affiliation in paragraph 19 of her 21-paragraph report.
Even then, the Times never even directly labeled Kilpatrick a Democrat:
On March 11, 2013, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia) held the "Preventing Another Newtown: A Conversation on Gun Violence in America" forum in Arlington, VA. During the question and answer segment. MRCTV asked if they'd eventually go after handguns. Moran hesitated and said those who think government is intruding in their lives are "paranoid - "but he also said he supports legislation to limit the purchase of handguns to no more than one per month.
"I can understand that there's always going to be people who are 'paranoid' over government attempting to intrude into their life and there are no plans to go after handguns, although I do support legislation that would limit the purchase of handguns to no more than one a month, which seems to be reasonable," Moran told MRCTV. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ilinois) was recently caught on video noting that current gun control proposals were just the beginning.
It will be interesting to see how much national play this story gets. My guess is: "little."
Following up on a matter on which I initially posted last month, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported yesterday that the prosecutor for Hamilton County, Ohio, where the county seat is Cincinnati, is bringing charges related to improper voting against three people – including a longtime poll worker and a nun. In connection with the poll worker, reporter Sharon Coolidge notes something that should earn today's prize for inadvertent deadpan humor (in bold):
There's something odd with a Sunday New York Times report on gun ownership in America. They claim the number of Americans owning guns are at its lowest since the 1970s. They attribute it to a reduction in violent crime, which contradicts the media narrative that we need more gun control, and the increased rates of Americans settling in urban areas. The problem is two years ago; the number of Americans owning guns was at 47 percent. Now, it's 35 percent. So, there was a twelve-point drop in two years, and a little over three months after Sandy Hook.
How could that be right? Here's what the Times duo of Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff reported:
So, this story will make you chuckle. Politico reported today that the White House has basically told anti-gun groups and their allies in Congress to sit down, shut up, and let the White House drive the push for new gun control. Centralization of power when it comes to messaging has been a core characteristic of this administration, and when it comes to an issue as delicate as gun control – this is a tightly run ship.
So, here’s something that the liberal media will never aggressively pursue: a liberal Democrat, who is pro-gun. Why? It ruins their narrative that all gun-owners are right-wing zealots.
But the Atlantic has an excellent interview with Dan Baum, former staff writer for the New Yorker, in which he detailed his road trip across America to give a first-hand account of these rational and responsible Americans, who are vilified by the progressive left and Beltway liberals.
Granted, I don’t agree with everything he says, but the interview, which was conducted by freelance writer Hope Reese, had four great points.
"As we talk about history, today marks the 6-year anniversary that Scooter Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing in the leak investigation which led to your cover as a covert CIA operative being blown," MSNBC's Thomas Roberts noted at the close of his March 6 MSNBC Live interview with Valerie Plame. "We're getting word now that he has had his voting rights restored," the MSNBC anchor added. "How do you feel, as you look back, hindsight being 20/20, about what that moment in time did to your life, where you are today?"
Plame answered that she and her husband Joe Wilson "worked really hard to rebuild our lives" and that they "wish that there had been further repercussions," because, "The whole episode is just a small example of a larger pattern of behavior that we saw under the Bush administration." But alas, speaking of history, this short exchange was a bit misleading for viewers as it was Colin Powell confidante Richard Armitage who had leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, albeit inadvertently. From CNN.com on September 8, 2006:
CNN, which if I recall correctly severed formal ties with the Associated Press some time ago, quoted former congressman Joseph Kennedy II's reaction to the death of Venezuela's authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez as follows: "President Chavez cared deeply about the poor of Venezuela and other nations around the world and their abject lack of even basic necessities, while some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend" ... There are close to 2 million people in the United States who received free heating assistance, thanks to President Chavez's leadership. Our prayers go out to President Chavez's family, the people of Venezuela, and all who were warmed by his generosity."
Here is how Christine Armario at the AP, with the help of Steve LeBlanc in Boston, sanitized Kennedy's remarks:
Last year the media did their level best to tar Republicans with the offensive comments that two Republicans made related to rape victims. But now that it's Democratic legislators insulting rape victims by insisting that they cannot be trusted to defend themselves with firearms, it's a different story.
Amanda Collins, now 25, was brutally raped on campus, and was unable to defend herself since guns aren’t permitted on college campuses. In fact, Colorado State Sen. Evie Hudak (D), has said that her “assault would likely had been worse had she been armed with a gun.” Jessica Chasmar of the Washington Times has the story:
The Chicago Tribune has less of a problem with a politician being a crook while in office than an ex-con running decades later for office, just so long as the former is a Democrat and the latter a Republican.
Take a look at what Bill Ruthhart of the Chicago Tribune did to Paul McKinley, who could be the possible GOP challenger to Democratic Illinois State House Rep. Robin Kelly. The Tribune focused more on McKinley's decades-old rap sheet than what he would do if elected to former Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr’s old congressional seat:
On Friday morning, Milwaukee County District Attorney, a Democrat, announced that an investigation into illegal campaigning and other illegal acts while current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was the county's executive had concluded nine days earlier. Three former Walker aides, a political appointee, and two private citizens were sentenced. Two county officials pled guilty to crimes relating to campaigning on government time; two others stole money, one from a not-for-profit group and another from a county commission. One private citizen was sentenced for exceeding campaign contribution limits and laundering contributions; the other pled no contest to importuning a 17 year-old boy.
Walker himself was not charged. A top state Democratic Party official was so angry that he tweeted Jeffrey Dahmer analogies. It is pretty obvious, based on word choices he made in his related writeup, that the Associated Press's Scott Bauer, whose biased coverage of Walker has been clear for at least the past two years (previous NewsBusters posts with his tag are here), was also extremely displeased (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that Rob Morrison, an anchor for CBS's New York City affiliate WCBS, had quit his job after being arrested the previous weekend for an alleged assault on his wife, CBS MoneyWatch anchor Ashley Morrison. While this news story has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, and UPI, CBS's own morning and evening newscasts have yet to report on it.
By contrast, CBS This Morning devoted several news items to the arrest and trial of Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy in 2012. During a April 4, 2012 report, then-anchor Erica Hill pointed out his affiliation with the news outlet before interviewing the journalist's attorney:
Forbes just published its 20 Most Miserable Cities List for 2013. The magazine left off several obviously more "worthy" contenders, perhaps because its decisions to include and exclude certain criteria were, to say the least, more than a little odd.
I have listed the magazine's top twenty following the jump, along with each city's mayor and that person's political leanings, showing a commonality the magazine's Kurt Badenhausen failed to observe:
The Obama administration's assault on the Second Amendment in reaction to Newtown is not a serious solution. It's a Band-Aid on cancer. The NRA's call for armed guards in every school also misses the point. When is anyone going to get serious? The problem is violence, a violence of monstrous and horrific proportions that has infected America's popular culture.
The Hartford Courant reported on Sunday that during a search of Newtown grade-school killer Adam Lanza’s home after the shootings, “police found thousands of dollars worth of graphically violent video games.” Detectives are exploring whether Adam Lanza might have been emulating the shooting range or a video-game scenario as he moved from room to room at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor in over 80 years. Democrats have controlled the Illinois governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature for more than a decade, with Democrats ruling the Illinois House for 28 of the last 30 years. No matter, Chicago violence is the fault of Republicans. We learned that this morning on CNN Newsroom when anchor Carol Costello asked her “Talk Back” guests about Retired Lt. General Russel Honore’s suggestion to use National Guard troops to curb murders in Chicago. Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman astutely pinpointed the reason for Chicago’s carnage:
And let's be very clear about what's happening in Washington today and why it's undermining the city of Chicago, because there's a mindset now in our government, in Washington, from the Republican members of Congress, that sequestration is an acceptable way of doing business, that we can in fact engage in these massive irresponsible cuts that no one thinks is a logical approach to budgeting.
Bill Whitaker did his best to depict former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor as a tragic figure on Friday's CBS This Morning, but glossed over her Democratic affiliation. Whitaker sympathetically asked O'Connor, "What's the worst of it for you?" The correspondent also spotlighted how the former mayor "brought in light rail, a convention center – helped transform San Diego from a sleepy navy town to the country's eighth largest city."
Anchor Norah O'Donnell introduced Whitaker's four and half minute-long report by labeling the politician a "beloved former mayor". Whitaker later followed suit by pointing out how "San Diego once loved her".
On Friday February 22, the Washington Post took a double-barreled approach to pushing more gun control In a 52-paragraph front-page story, staff writer Stephanie McCrummen highlighted the efforts of anti-gun activist Susan Beehler, a North Dakota woman “going against the gun culture” in the Roughrider State. Elsewhere in the A-section, staffer Philip Rucker devoted 23 paragraphs to boosting Vice President Biden's push for gun control.
McCrummen's article began by promoting Beehler as, “one activist challenging the status quo.” Beehler, who herself admits she does not own a gun, started the North Dakota chapter of the Million Moms for Gun Control group, and McCrummen went through a plethora of examples of her efforts to, “find a few other brave souls” to push for greater gun control.
While many pro-gun control voices are hailing Vice President Joe Biden's advice about using a double-barreled shotgun over an AR-15 for home defense, the folks at Reason.com explain that good ol' Joe's counsel on discharging a weapon happens to well, advocate breaking laws against the public discharge of a gun.
At the Associated Press yesterday, Michael Kunzelman managed to write a 500-word story about the arraignment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on bribery charges without once mentioning that Nagin is a Democrat.
That's probably not a "Name That Party" record for "Most Words Used in an AP Story about a Democratic Politician Tainted by Scandal and/or Corruption," but it's especially galling, given the mayor's culpability (along with then-Governor Kathleen Blanco) for failing to ensure that New Orleans was evacuated on a timely basis in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, and given the national press's non-stop blaming of President George W. Bush for the death, destruction and mayhem which followed. Excerpts from Kunzelman's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a February 20 column which lamented as a tragedy the mess that former Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) got himself into by improperly using campaign resources for extravagant personal expenses, Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary scolded her readers to "think about the mess you might have made of your finances or the financial follies of people you know" before "pass[ing] judgment on the Jacksons."
In a column in which she never mentioned Jackson's party affiliation, Singletary suggested that the Illinois Democrat procured luxury items including a $43,350-gold-plated Rolex watch because he and his wife Sandi were "eager to impress their more wealthy colleagues or the people who run with them in their circle of power and privilege," but she added that it was "[n]ot an excuse, just an observation."
Taken to task by numerous individuals on Twitter yesterday -- see Twitchy's excellent roundup here -- Fox News Channel The Five liberal co-host Bob Beckel today sought to explain, if not actually apologize for, his comments on the February 19 program in which the panel's token liberal both suggested campus rapes were rare incidents and that college co-eds might accidentally shoot someone who was not really a rapist:
Twenty minutes into her February 20 Jansing & Co. program, MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing noted that former Illinois Democrat Jesse Jackson was entering a federal courtroom later that hour to plead guilty to campaign finance violations. Only Jansing left out the part about Jackson being a Democrat.
What's more, while Jansing noted that Jackson's wife Sandi was answering charges of filing false tax returns, she failed to note that Sandi Jackson, also a Democrat, resigned her seat as Chicago city alderman in January.
In anticipation of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s indictment on Friday afternoon, Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan at the Politico seemed all too willing to hand out sympathy cards to Jackson and his wife, both of whom stand to do time in prison for offenses relating to their raid of the congressman's campaign funds.
Specifically, the Politico pair wrote: "It’s a story of a Chicago power couple that lost track of the line between campaign cash and personal funds in a spiral of money troubles." Gosh, I didn't know that line was so blurred. Excerpts from the write-up follow the jump:
Mark Thompson, the New York Times Co. chief executive, was director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation when a BBC news program into a massive child-sex abuse scandal involving veteran network entertainer Jimmy Savile was abruptly squashed. Uncertainty lingers as to just what (and when) Thompson knew about accusations against Savile and the cancellation of the program, questions that occasionally made it into the paper, until a report commissioned by the BBC gave Thompson a pass.
Journalist Maureen Orth has a useful new summary of what we know (and what we still don't know) on the web site of Vanity Fair.