MSNBC’s propensity to selectively edit video to smear conservatives has reached a new low. Speaking on her self-titled show on February 21, host Rachel Maddow openly admitted to playing edited footage of Senator John McCain to smear the Arizona Republican.
Speaking last week, Maddow aired footage of McCain addressing a constituent whose son was killed last year at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, who spoke to Senator McCain about her belief that “These assault weapons allow a shooter to fire many rounds without having to reload. These weapons do not belong on our streets.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's Martin Savidge teamed up with guests Rachel Sklar and Nick Ragone to oppose a proposed bill in Texas that would allow college students with concealed carry permits to carry handguns on campus. Savidge only had conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson on to voice his support for the bill during the segment, who faced off against the three.
The anchor brought on Sklar, Ragone, and Ferguson 48 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour for a panel discussion on the Texas legislation. He first turned to the former Huffington Post editor: "Rachel...what do you think of the idea of Texas allowing students to carry guns?" Predictably, Sklar ripped the idea:
CNN's Jeffrey Toobin falsely claimed on Tuesday's Parker-Spitzer that Barack Obama is "against gun control." Toobin also seemed to lament that the conservative position on the Second Amendment has become the "conventional wisdom" in politics: "This is how much gun control has fallen off the map politically- that the idea that more guns will mean more protection is widely believed" [audio available here].
The senior legal analyst for the liberal network appeared during a segment at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour to "break down some of the legal issues" related to the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Host Kathleen Parker first asked Toobin about the interview of gun rights advocate Alan Korwin in the previous segment: "You just heard us interview this pro-gun fellow out in Arizona. Are we all going to be safer if we're all packing heat?"
The liberal talking head launched into his take on gun politics:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
On May 22 of 2009, the Liberty University College Democrats were widely reported to have been shut down by the school’s administration. These reports came across a broad spectrum of media – a search of LexisNexis for the terms “College Democrats” and “Liberty University” from May 20 through today turns up 72 results. Among these results are 35 newspaper articles (among them, the Washington Post and L.A. Times),13 newswires or press releases (including one from the Associated Press), and even two mentions on MSNBC, a 24-hour cable news network.
Ratings aside, a local college club getting face time on a cable news network is quite a feat.
On June 4, 2009, FoxNews.com reported that a nascent Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) was banned from administration approval at a community college in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
According to LexisNexis, FoxNews.com is the only news entity to report on this so far.
If you are a major network and want to 'target' gun owners and gun dealers in a story, what would you do? Why you would write a story about a gun dealer offering a steep discount on firearms for college students, and then only interview the dealer and those who oppose his business and his special offer.
According to an ABC News story covering Eric Thompson, owner of TGSCOM Inc., Thompson is "targeting students" whose limited income doesn't always allow for such high-dollar purchases.
The owner of TGSCOM, Eric Thompson, announced today that for the next two weeks he will sell firearms at cost in the hopes of targeting students who may be on a tight budget. Customers will have over 5,400 different kinds of firearms from which to choose.
"This offer allows students and people who might not have otherwise been able to afford a weapon to purchase one at a hefty discount and at a significant expense to myself," Thompson told ABCNews.com.
Thompson unknowingly sold firearms to the shooters at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. Because of this, he has determined he needs to turn these tragedies around by offering steeply discounted firearms for a limited time so that citizens can afford to protect themselves and their loved ones. He plans to visit the Virginia Tech campus to speak to students who support his efforts.
"The next news story I want to be involved in is how I sold a firearm to someone who helped stop a mass murderer. By forgoing a profit, I hope to help give law-abiding citizens the tools to prevent tragedy," he said.
Sounds great, doesn't it? However, ABC News and those they interviewed for this story don't seem to think so.
On the Feb. 17 "American Morning," Veronica De La Cruz showed how two Web sites, operated by "the same owner," sold products to the shooters in both the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University tragedies. She said it was "pretty shocking to figure this out." Anchor Kiran Chetry agreed, calling it an "eerie connection."
But De La Cruz was just getting started. She was even upset at the sympathy banners on the site because they were near banners that still advertised the company's business. "I want to show you the strange juxtaposition if you move down the page. Here's the NIU shooting and then ‘Save big on rifles and handguns' right underneath. You know, something that kind of turns your stomach, if you will," she added.
On Tuesday, Jesse Jackson, the Brady bunch -- not the TV folk but the anti-gun lobby -- and other liberal activists rallied against “the national scourge of illegal guns” in cities around the nation.
The networks ignored the event, probably because turnout was so embarrassingly low. The Chicago Tribune reported that “about 200” piled out of three buses in Lake Barrington, Illinois, the Chicago-area protest keynoted by Jackson himself. The Philadelphia Inquirer said “about 200” showed up in Philly. The Dallas Morning News reported about 60 demonstrators in South Dallas, and AP said “about 100”attended the Washington, D.C. event held in nearby District Heights, Maryland.
Anti-gun activists were counting on good coverage if they had big turnouts, and no negative coverage if they didn’t. It’s the flip side of how the media cover pro-life rallies, downplaying enormous crowds and playing up the handful of counter demonstrators. In this case, the networks chose to look benignly in the other direction. The gun grabbers know that liberal journalists don’t like guns. Or, rather, they don’t like private citizens owning guns and taking personal responsibility for their own safety and that of their families and property.
How do we know? From the loaded coverage night after night on the networks and each day in major newspapers. A new CMI study, The Media Assault on the Second Amendment, documents seven months of media coverage of gun issues, and explains how the media are taking potshots at the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Kudos to Marc Morano of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Minority Staff (and former staffer for Rush Limbaugh) for surrendering several hours of his life in the cause of debunking an incredibly, almost jaw-droppingly bad article, "Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine" (by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein, Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips) in the August 13 Newsweek.
I read the Newsweek article after having been alerted to it by Marc, and my thoughts mirrored some of his:
What is it about anti-gunners that they just have to lie in their advocacy against guns? Do they lie because they know the facts makes them look so bad? This time it's the Washington Times' turn to publish an anti 2nd Amendment piece based on several lies. This one, penned by an Alex Gerber, worries that gun control will "apparently be glossed over again" and claims that the evil "American gun culture" is so insensitive to have tolerated "some 14,000 firearm murders" in 2005.
Only there weren't 14,000 "firearm murders" in 2005. According to FBI statistics, there were 10,100 gun murders in 2005 instead of the 14,000 cited by Gerber. In fact, the whole of the 2005 murder rate of all causes was 15,517, not much more than just the gun deaths claimed by Gerber.
Conveniently ignoring all the evidence that says more armed people in a given area actually lowers gun violence, Gerber goes on to claim that the idea that if the students at Virginia Tech were armed, maybe so many would not have died before the killer was taken down is "a joke". Absurdly, he makes his claim as if he knows beyond doubt that it could not be true that others being armed could have lowered the VT kill ratio.
On Friday's 20/20, ABC anchor John Stossel discussed the self-defensive benefits of gun ownership, debunking the myth that 'gun control reduces crime,' during 20/20's recurring series 'Myths, Lies & Downright Stupidity,' based on Stossel's book of the same title. Citing the recent Federal Appeals Court for D.C. ruling overturning Washington, D.C.'s ban on gun ownership, Stossel talked to the pro-gun plaintiff in the case, Tom Palmer, and pointed out that the murder rate in D.C. increased after the city's gun ban. Stossel: "Since Washington's gun law passed, the murder rate actually increased, even while America's murder rate dropped. It's because guns can also save lives, says Palmer, as one saved his years ago in California." (Transcript follows)
Newsweek’s April 30 article by Eleanor Clift recycled old gun-control mythology and misleading statements with a renewed call for something to be done in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting. The article mixed the usual anti-gun talking points with some subtle pining for the good ol’ days of President Clinton’s Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) that supposedly made the streets safer by taking the extra, extra, super-scary looking guns out the hands of all Americans (except for the criminals who obtained them illegally, of course). Clift starts off with one of the more ridiculous statements (emphasis mine throughout):
Rahm Emanuel was once a fierce gun-control advocate. As a top aide to Bill Clinton, he helped push the president's assault-weapons ban. At the time, Emanuel argued there was little reason for anyone to have a military-style weapon designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time.
Yet a review of the questions to Craig betrays Couric's leanings towards Helmke's pro-gun control position as well as some ignorance of the modern history of gun control (see her 10th question, for example).
Below are the questions to Craig with my comments/snark included in italics. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Over at The Hillary Spot on NRO, a great spot for keeping up with the presidential campaign, Jim Geraghty found that Chris Matthews wasn't exactly playing "Hardball" before the Democratic debate. But he did imply that Bush was a little racist because he was faster to arrive on the scene at Virginia Tech than in New Orleans after Katrina. (Question to Chris: Do you think no blacks were gunned down at Virginia Tech?) Geraghty thought Matthews sounded like a DNC press aide:
Chris Matthews' first question to Elizabeth Edwards on Hardball: "What's the difference between having a Democratic President and a Republican President?"
During a roundtable conversation on the April 22 edition of "This Week," veteran ABC journalists Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson echoed boilerplate liberal positions on two separate issues. Discussing the recent Supreme Court decision upholding a congressional ban on partial-birth-abortion, Roberts said she found it "offensive as a woman."
But first, George Will spoke about the Virginia Tech massacre and the fact that armed individuals have prevented slaughters in the past. Roberts derisively responded, "Well, I don't want the shootout at the OK Corral going on at any college campus..."
Later in the program, Will again described how Americans defend themselves with guns. Donaldson rejected the idea by suggesting Americans might shoot their paperboy:
Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the media found someone other than Seing-Hui Cho to blame -- legal businesses like Roanoke Firearms, Glock and eBay.
Roanoke Firearms' owner John Markell was treated as an accomplice to the horrific crime by ABC's Brian Ross:
“The Roanoke Firearms store where Seing-Hui Cho bought his murder weapon has a history of selling guns involved in murders. It is the fifth time a gun sold in this store has been used in a homicide, according to gun shop owner, John Markell,” said Ross on the April 18 “Good Morning America.”
-- So, you think NBC shouldn’t have aired that Cho Seung-Hui video, do you?
-- NBC has a new definition for its initials: the Narcissism Broadcasting Company. How fitting it is that their logo is a peacock. It’s bad enough that this monster gunned down 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech. But in between murder sprees this vicious, calculating killer calmly went to the post office and sent an Express Mail package of his self-glorifying pictures and videos to NBC News in between killings – and NBC News rushed this killer’s propaganda on NBC and MSNBC within hours of receiving this bundle of psychosis.
-- So what’s your complaint? The timing – airing the video when nerves were at their most raw – or airing it at all?
-- Let’s start with the timing. Usually, after a school shooting, network news divisions mourn with the families, and comfort them on their shocking losses. In this case, NBC took their wounds and shoveled salt into them. Outraged families canceled their planned NBC interviews because their pain in no way balanced out NBC’s naked desire to stick it to their competitors. NBC News President Steve Capus implausibly claimed they were handling the exploitation with "great sensitivity" to the grieving, but the idea that they have any corporate compassion was completely lost to anyone who watched their frenzied programming.
In an April 25 post, CBS's "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli worries that the media are not doing enough reporting on gun control, lamenting that the media are waiting for political players to gin up the issue.
There were reasons not to take up larger issues and assign blame in the
immediate wake of the shootings – those first few days needed to be
about how people were dealing with the horror of what had taken place.
But some time has now passed, and I'm hard pressed to think of a better
time for the media to focus on a huge issue that isn't going away
Where has Montopoli been? Not only have the media been focusing on the gun control angle to the story, they've heavily leaned in favor of more gun control, including featurin gun control advocates in both broadcast and print coverage. While there were a few exceptions, most media coverage has cheerleaded the notion of enacting new gun control laws. Here's a refresher for Montopoli, a list of some of our coverage over the past nine days:
For the second week in a row, Lou Dobbs avoided his normal Ralph Nader like anti-corporate pitch and provided some very telling statistics on gun control. On the April 24 edition of "The Early Show," the CNN anchor noted that crime rate has fallen in recent years "irrespective of gun control laws." When Washington, DC banned hand guns in 1976, its murder rate tripled by 1991. When California imposed stricter gun laws in 1975, it’s violent crime rate rose significantly. Dobbs noted the Constitution and the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms.
Host Hannah Storm appeared surprised that Dobbs would call gun control legislation "irrational." She did get assurances from Lou that he does support a national "database" system. The entire transcript is below.
If you run a policy group in Washington, your chances of getting on network television are slim if you happen to advocate for a cause not favored by liberals. Your chances are even worse that anything you say won't be slapped with a "conservative" label to warn viewers of your perspective.
That's a good thing. Most groups can be placed somewhere on the political spectrum and that placement should be disclosed to the news consumer. The unfortunate thing, however, is that if you're a liberal group, your affinities often are not disclosed.
Such was the case with this MSNBC.com article on the subject of guns which features a quote from one Joseph Vince who happens to be a gun control advocate. This information is not disclosed to the audience. Instead, we get this:
ABC News polling chief Gary Langer, in a posting buried on ABCNews.com, revealed that a poll taken Sunday discovered that when “asked the primary cause of gun violence, far more Americans blamed the effects of popular culture (40 percent) or the way parents raise their children (35 percent) than the availability of guns (18 percent).” ABC's World News on Monday devoted nearly two minutes to results of ABC's survey, but didn't get to that finding which shows the public does not share the media assumption that gun availability is to blame for the murders at Virginia Tech.
Update at bottom of post: other bloggers reactions.
In a column this afternoon, Politico's Roger Simon took a swipe at Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for giving a public prayer for the victims of the Virginia Tech gunman "in Christ's name.":
Does John Edwards include Jews in his prayers? Or Muslims? Or Hindus? Or any other non-Christians?
He didn’t the other day. The other day, in order to commemorate those killed at Virginia Tech, Edwards led a prayer “in Christ’s name” at Ryman Auditorium, which bills itself as “Nashville’s Premier Performance Hall.”
Edwards has a perfect right to pray publicly or privately any way he wants to. But people who are not Christians often feel left out of prayers like his.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
Newsweek's Howard Fineman's first instinct when he heard about the Virgina Tech shootings was to call up Capitol Hill and ask members for gun control legislation. On this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the Newsweek reporter admitted "the first thing he did" was call the Democrats to demand: "Okay, you gonna do something now?!"
The following conversation occurred on the April 22nd edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Chris Matthews: "Let's go to a more familiar terrain for us all: policy and politics. Just a week ago, the NRA held its national convention. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned the members of the NRA that the Democratic Congress will threaten gun freedoms. Quote, this is Wayne LaPierre: 'Today, there is not one firearm owner whose freedom is secure.' Polls do show a majority of Americans now want gun access restricted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week is working on a bill that would prevent gun access by the mentally ill. Congressman John Dingell of Michigan is negotiating with the NRA right now on this, to try to tighten up the laws, give states enough money so they can find people like Cho, who've been through this system, been identified, and make sure they don't buy guns. Is that gonna work?"
Here's several items of interest from the Monday edition of the Washington Examiner. First, in the gossip column "Yeas & Nays," news from the big White House correspondents dinner that American Idol teen-pleaser Sanjaya Malakar is a big fan of Robert F. Kennedy, Junior:
Everyone was itching to see American Idol “star” Sanjaya Malakar (who didn’t get their picture taken with him?), but which celebrity was Sanjaya most excited to see? “Robert Kennedy,” Malakar told Yeas & Nays, adding that he’s a big fan of Kennedy’s anti-global warming efforts (Larry David, Sheryl Crow, sign him up!). But don’t expect Sanjaya to jump into politics anytime soon: When asked who he’s pulling for in the 2008 presidential race, Sanjaya declined to give a name, saying, “I’m too much inside the bubble.” (Like his singing, we’re totally confused by what he meant by that.)
Here's just a sample of diarist Bcgntn's eulogy. Portions in bold are my emphasis.:
Cho lived in shadows, deep and dark. He attended classes at a
prestigious University. He was a scholar, a writer. Yet, he was
shunned. His dialect was odd, mumbled, and his words were difficult to
discern. This academic was nearing graduation, a scary proposition all
in itself. He did not feel excepted in the world. From what we know
of his history, he never had.
Thanks to NewsBusters reader hjmick, who noted coverage on imao.us, for the tip.
World News Sunday continued ABC's gun control crusade, devoting its “A Closer Look” segment to how after the 1996 school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland, Great Britain virtually banned handguns, suggesting it's worth emulating. But though reporter David Wright conceded, in the middle of his story, that “gun crime has risen here” since handguns were outlawed, thus seemingly undermining the premise that making guns illegal lessens crime committed with guns, he hung his story on how “Britain has never again had a school shooting.” But if gun crime is rising, that sounds more like good luck than a result of the ban.
Wright featured two Britons exasperated by the refusal of the U.S. to follow Britain's lead. Gun control activist Ann Pearston contended: “What ordinary people have got to do in the United States, if they really care about what happened at Virginia Tech, is to make the banning of firearms in the United States an election issue.” Mick North, the father of a child killed in the Dunblane incident, fretted: “Nothing happened after Columbine. Nothing happened after Nickel Mines in the Amish community. After a few weeks, nothing will happen after Virginia Tech. Even the death of 32 people may not be enough to build up the necessary momentum.”
As most NewsBusters readers are aware, the media have been foaming at the mouth this week for Congress to advance stronger gun control laws in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
As a result, this absolutely delightful feel-good story about an 82-year-old former Miss America that defended her farm in Kentucky with a lil ol’ .38 caliber handgun is sure to be ignored by a media more interested in advancing an agenda than doing their job as disseminators of information.
If you’re a leftwing journalist with a new television special about to air on PBS accusing the Bush administration of using the media to sell the Iraq war in 2003, is there any place better to promote the event than HBO’s “Real Time?”
Bill Moyers must have felt this was the perfect venue to market his upcoming “Buying the War” program, as he discussed its contents and his views of the incursion and the media with Bill Maher on Friday (video available here).
As so often happens when Maher has such an outspoken critic of the Administration as his guest, the host set up the discussion in a manner seemingly designed to create an environment condusive to bashing the president: