Time magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.
Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
"Shop Sold Guns to Pa., Va. Tech Shooters" blares the headline for an August 7 Associated Press story carried on Time.com.
But Time's headline for the accompanying AP story is woefully inaccurate and worse, deceptive. Pittsburgh fitness center shooter George Sodini, whom police say purchased his firearms legally, did not purchase them from online accessories dealer TGSCOM, Inc.
The same story accessed at Google has a more accurate headline, "Pa. gunman used same Web store as Va. Tech shooter."
Although Muller explained that only customers who pass a federal background check at a licensed firearms dealer will be able to get a gun, Costello arbitrarily drew the line of responsibility at owning a handgun:
COSTELLO: You know, some people watching this might think, you know, owning a handgun is one thing, but owning an AK-47 is something else, and maybe this is just a tad irresponsible.
As if to put icing on the proverbial cake, Costello also hit Muller by trying to pick a theological fight of sorts, wondering if Jesus would approve of carrying guns. [CNN video embedded below]
During CNN’s coverage of the Sotomayor hearings on Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin implied that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision to uphold the Second Amendment was revolutionary: “When I was in law school...the idea that you had a Second Amendment right to a gun was considered preposterous....But the Supreme Court [in Heller]...said that...individuals have a personal right to bear arms.”
Just after the bottom of the 12 noon hour of the network’s coverage, anchor Wolf Blitzer raised the Second Amendment issue with Toobin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and the others on their panel analyzing the hearings, which included anchor/correspondent John King; senior political analyst Gloria Borger; and correspondent Candy Crowley, as well as Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and former Clinton administration official Maria Echaveste. After playing a clip of Republican Senator Tom Coburn asking Sotomayor about the right to keep and bear arms, Blitzer asked Toobin what were the nominee’s “positions, specifically on the federal obligation to support the Second Amendment, as opposed to local communities or states?”
The CNN senior legal analyst harkened back to his law school days in his answer, and possibly revealed a bit of his formation as a liberal:
ABC’s Diane Sawyer acted more concerned than the reporter on the scene on Monday’s Good Morning America over a small town in South Carolina arming itself against a serial killer. She asked the local sheriff, “The community has apparently been arming up and we’re reading that ammunition is selling out at some of the stores. How concerned are you that people are standing at their doorways with guns right by the side?”
ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman filed a report from Gaffney, South Carolina six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour on the five murders apparently perpetrated by the same suspect over the course of a week during late June/early July. After stating the community was “reeling over events of the last week, and it’s not overstating to say that people here are terrified,” Kofman highlighted how people in the Southern small town “left lights on and doors locked. This small South Carolina town is living in fear- and it is arming itself.”
For the Associated Press, Tim Klass shows that taking liberties with facts by enveloping them in wild hyperbole can sex up a boring story into something much more alarming. Unfortunately, what one ends up with is not a presentation of news, but a promulgation of a narrative that befits a particular political agenda. And this time writer Klass uses his hyperbolic style to advance the guns-are-evil story line.
The headline startles the reader by screaming out "Powerful weapons found in Northwest drug raids." One immediately imagines an image of dozens of high powered and dangerous guns, those above and beyond the norm, in the hands of these felonious drug dealers. One imagines enough guns to arm an army with the police sorely out numbered. But, when the story is read in its entirety, it becomes obvious that "powerful weapons" turns into one high powered pistol, the rest being your average, everyday firearms seen all over the place.
The PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News contributing editor alerted her readers of her antipathy for the former Republican vice presidential nominee in light of Todd Purdum's drive-by hit piece in Vanity Fair [see NB contributor Mike Sargent's excellent takedown of that here]:
Gov. Palin is a woman on a right-wing mission. She's clearly not ready for prime time. She's easy grist for any journalistic mill. If she weren't such a fanatic, I could feel sorry for her. But since she enjoys killing moose, wolves, and anything else in her rifle sight, I'll pass, thanks.
Erbe generally has been harsh on Palin, but once lauded the Alaska governor for admitting that for a very brief moment she considered aborting her youngest child Trig:
The San Francisco Chronicle is proving the old bromide true. That's the one that goes: "a lie can be half way 'round the world before the truth can pull its boots on" (often incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain). Then there is another one Twain didn't originate but aptly fits here, "there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics." The subject of this scoffing is that factoid the Old Media has been promulgating like gospel where "90% of Mexico's confiscated guns are from the U.S."
The problem with this "90%" refrain is that it just isn't true. There is no truth in the claim that 90% of the guns Mexican officials confiscate from drug dealers in Mexico are from the U.S.A. But, true or not, the Old Media use this line as if it were received truth. Suspicions are easily raised that they do so because it fits their ideological matrix perfectly and the truth of the matter does not fit the approved story line.
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," mocked Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio for pondering, on his Twitter page, that the "situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd Amendment like ours." Matthews, completely missing the point that our Founding Fathers understood that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the "Sideshow" portion of his June 22 show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Next up, a reminder to think before you hit the "send" button. You've all seen what's happening in the streets of Tehran. How people are getting beaten, getting hit with tear gas, getting shot. Take a look at what Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida posted on his Twitter page after watching those scenes that we've been watching.
Should there be a background check for national reporters?
One wonders. On June 21, CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired a special report for CBS’ “60 Minutes.” In this report, Cooper repeated the tired, discredited, blatantly incorrectidea that 90% of Mexican drug cartels’ arms supply comes from the United States. In addition, Cooper showed some interesting B-roll footage of seized weapon, some of which clearly cannot be bought on the civilian market.
The report by the congressional Government Accountability Office, the first federal assessment of the issue, offered blistering conclusions that will probably influence the debate over the role of U.S.-made weaponry as violence threatens to spill across the Mexico border.
According to a draft copy of the report, which will be released today, the growing number of weapons being smuggled into Mexico comprise more than 90% of the seized firearms that can be traced by authorities there.
Pay close attention, however, to the wording. That’s 90 percent of the seized firearms – that authorities are able to trace. This wording actually reflects the vagueness of the GAO report’s highlights:
Salon.com Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," cited "conservatives" like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and Bill O’Reilly for "whipping up" a climate that sparks the likes of alleged Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn and "Hardball" host Chris Matthews wondered if access to guns were to blame for the tragedy as he cried, "It's easier to get your hands on a gun than to get somebody to make you a waffle." Blaming Limbaugh while insisting she was not, Walsh charged:
There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would, I would throw in Rush Limbaugh. Not blaming him, but when you say that our President is more dangerous than al-Qaeda you've gone off into crazy nut job land. You are off the charts crazy. And you are, you are whipping people up.
CNN correspondent Joe Johns included a seeming lament in his report on Friday’s Situation Room about the inclusion of an amendment to the so-called credit card reform bill which expands gun owners’ rights in national parks: “How in the world did the credit card bill get so hijacked?” He also only included one pro-gun rights sound bite in his report, as opposed to three from proponents of gun control [audio clips from the report are available here].
Johns introduced his report by juxtaposing beautiful imagery of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mount Rushmore with a picture of a handgun on a rack: “Just imagine: along with the sweeping views of natural beauty at Yellowstone and Yosemite, mixed in with history at Mount Rushmore, that some of the tourists toting diaper bags and binoculars might also be packing heat.” He continued by labeling this juxtaposition, and outlining how congressional opponents of the provision felt about its inclusion and passage: “Extreme perhaps, but absurd is in fact how it looks to some congressional Democrats -- they’re almost apoplectic about how the gun lobby slipped a provision into, of all things, the credit card reform bill, a provision that really has nothing to do with the rights of credit card holders, and a lot to do with the right to bear arms.”
What a difference a radical, in your face, abortion-promoting president makes.
Pro-lifers can savor this graphic for a few minutes before returning to the trenches to work on persuading what Gallup says is, for the first since it began surveying the question, a clear minority of Americans who are still euphemistically "pro-choice" on the question of abortion. I have posted it here because the chances of seeing it or something similar in establishment media reports is somewhere between slim and none:
The 15-point swing from "pro-choice" to pro-life (from -6 to +9) in the past year is nothing short of dramatic; only the 1996-1997 narrowing looks to be about the same.
Two Catholic priests who appeared as guests during back-to-back segments on Thursday’s No Bias, No Bull program were treated noticeably differently by CNN’s on-air personalities. Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who is best known for his racially-charged rhetoric against Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential race, as well as his defense of former Obama pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, faced only a couple of pointed questions, most notably about his recent decision to fly an American flag upside-down. In the following segment, Father Mitch Pacwa of the orthodox Catholic TV network EWTN faced a more skeptical and sustained line of questioning from the CNN panel about the practice of priestly celibacy.
Anchor Roland Martin brought on Father Pfleger 43 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to talk about his continuing push against street violence in Chicago, especially when it involves minors, as 36 school-aged children so far this year have been violently killed . He only introduced the priest as the “pastor of the faith community of Saint Sabina from the South Side of Chicago.” Neither he nor any of the other journalists participating in the panel mentioned any of Father Pfleger’s past controversies during the segment.
After the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama, we often heard from the mainstream media about how shipping executive companies don't want to arm their civilian crews for fear of an escalation of violence from pirates, not to mention the potential legal and liability headaches presented by such a policy change.
Well, yesterday, shipping company executive Philip Shapiro threw a wrench in that meme in his testimony before a Senate subcommittee in which he called for Congress to remove the legal and regulatory obstacles to arming civilian merchant vessels.
Unfortunately the story was ignored this morning by the broadcast network morning shows. What's more, Nexis and Web site searches yielded no print stories from today's Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times -- although there is an online article by Rebecca Cole available here -- or the New York Times. The Gray Lady also failed to report on Richard Phillips' pro-armed crew remarks last week.
To its credit, CNN, both in print and broadcast, reported the story. From a May 5 CNN.com story:
On ABC’s World News Saturday, and the same day’s CBS Evening News, correspondents suggested that conservative positions on social issues were responsible for the Republican party’s recent electoral misfortunes, as the two programs filed stories about an appearance in Arlington by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney as part of an effort to rebuild the party’s appeal. ABC cited a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll showing only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, while CBS cited a Pew Research poll finding the number had dropped from 30 percent in 2004 to 23 percent currently.
After a soundbite of Jeb Bush explaining that Republicans needed to spend more time "listening," "learning," and "upgrading our message," ABC’s Rachel Martin contended that "That means moving hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage to the side, and shifting the focus to health care, education and the economy."
And, ignoring the fact that a substantial number of moderate House Democrats have taken conservative positions on issues like guns and abortion to win in their own conservative leaning districts, CBS’s Kimberly Dozier more directly charged that conservative positions on such issues by Republicans had hurt the party: "The trio notably avoided controversial touch stones like gun rights or abortion, which are blamed for driving away moderates and independents." Notably, 65 House Democrats recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder stating their opposition to a new assault weapons ban.
As media member after media member used Arlen Specter's defection to the Democrat Party Tuesday as an example of how conservatism in America is either dying or dead, a new poll found this to be wishful thinking.
In fact, in two of the key issues that have been largely divided along party lines for decades, namely abortion and gun control, a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center showed the nation moving to the right on both.
Yesterday I forecasted that by and large the mainstream media would paper over or outright ignore the testimony of Captain Richard Phillips. The commanding officer of the MV Maersk Alabama told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that arming senior officers on merchant ships should be part of a larger anti-piracy policy that includes beefed up U.S. Navy patrols and escorts. Also testifying, Maersk chairman John Clancey disagreed with his employee about arming the civilian sailors.
Well today, that newspaper which touts itself as bearing "all the news that's fit to print" failed to include a story on the testimony by the former Somali pirate hostage. That's right, the New York Times failed to even carry an Associated Press wire story, according to a search of the New York Times Web site for content published between April 30 and May 1 that mentions "Richard Phillips." A similar scouring of the print edition's A-section confirmed that the paper didn't carry the story.
What's more, it's not as though the Times was unaware of Phillips' testimony before the fact. As Kate Phillips and Janie Lorber noted in an April 30 post at the Times' The Caucus blog:
Bryant Gumbel is still around, popping up monthly on HBO, which provides him with a platform to continue forwarding liberal nostrums unrelated to reality. On this month's edition of Real Sports, the sports news magazine he anchors, Gumbel decided the answer to inner-city gang violence is...more gun control!
Following a story on a rash of seven shootings with five deaths of high school athletes in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Portsmouth region of Virginia, an area reporter Jon Frankel described as “besieged by gangs, guns and fear,” Frankel told Gumbel “that there has been a real growth of gang activity in the area” as authorities have “really seen tremendous growth of these kids, you know, putting down stakes and saying 'this is our turf, stop messing with us.'” To which, Gumbel responded:
Let me get on my own soapbox here: I mean, they're talking about doubling the anti-gang unit. Why's nobody talking gun control?
As if gangs don't use guns to murder in states with strict gun control.
On Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, Mitchell hosted two liberal guests in a discussion about President Obama’s national service program and the prospects for more gun control laws being passed by Congress in the near future. Speaking to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mitchell repeated a grossly inaccurate statistic that 90 percent of guns used by Mexican drug cartels are manufactured in the U.S. Mitchell: "Mr. Mayor, first to you, why not go after the assault weapon ban, as President Calderone in Mexico is calling for? Ninety percent of the weapons used in the drug cartel crimes south of the border are said to have originated in the United States."
But, as previously documented by Mike Sargent, FNC's William LaJeunesse reported on April 2 that 83 percent of guns recovered from Mexican drug cartels are not from the United States. Most of these weapons are never submitted to the U.S. for tracing because they are clearly not American in origin.
After Bloomberg advocated passage of an assault weapon ban, but later indicated that almost all those killed using guns each day are killed using "illegal handguns," Mitchell did not take the opportunity to challenge the Mayor on just how much impact an assault weapon ban could have if such guns are are so rarely the weapon of choice by criminals. She then moved on to set up New York’s Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy to promote the passage of more gun laws. Mitchell: "And, Mr. Mayor, you mentioned Virginia Tech, Columbine anniversary was yesterday. Only weeks ago, we had the killings of police officers in Pittsburgh and in Oakland. Congresswoman McCarthy, is there any chance that something will be done in Congress? And also the gun show loophole which is sitting out there?"
Gun control policies wrought by the likes of liberal Sens. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Schumer (D-N.Y.) amount to "cruel indecency and forced victimization" argues rocker Ted Nugent in an April 20, 2009 column in U.S. News & World Report.
With the election of Barack Obama, the 10th anniversary of Columbine, the second anniversary of Virginia Tech, and the media's ongoing fixation on a faulty "90 percent" statistic of U.S. guns seized in Mexican drug crimes, the MSM has found a second wind for the gun control after it was virtually moribund post-9/11.
But the intensified interest in the media for gun control is only certain to energize gun rights and self-defense advocates like Nugent, who takes no prisoners and blows away political correctness in bluntly addressing what's at stake with liberals pushing more gun control:
Michael Lindenberger of Time.com, in a April 20 article titled “Ten Years After Columbine, It’s Easier to Bear Arms,” found it “odd” that “whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out,” despite the “massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen” in the following decade. He also quoted extensively from a young gun control advocate in the online article, without including any arguments from the opposing viewpoint.
Lindenberger first gave his reflection on the anniversary: “Monday April 20 marks 10 years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold permanently etched the words Columbine High School into this nation’s collective memory. What happened that day in 1999 also seemed to wake America up to the reality that it had become a nation of gun owners — and too often a nation of shooters. The carnage in Littleton, Colorado...seemed to usher in a new era of, well if not gun control, then at least gun awareness.”
The Time.com writer continued with a seeming lamentation: “In the decade since, massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen have continued — including the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people and wounded many others. But something odd has occurred. Whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out.”
While reporting on the ongoing drug war in Mexico, CBS, NBC, and ABC have all cited a dubious statistic that claims that 90% of the guns being used in the violence are from the United States. On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Bill Plante reported: "Mexican drug gang violence spilling into the U.S. is the urgent issue of President Obama's visit...A major sore point -- more than 90% of the weapons which could be traced were bought legally in the U.S. and smuggled into Mexico by the cartels."
On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "In a joint press conference following their private meeting, President Obama acknowledged that 90 percent of the guns used by the drug cartels in this war with Mexico come from the United States." On Thursday’s Good Morning America on ABC, co-host Diane Sawyer referenced, and even further embellished, the figure while interviewing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: "95 percent of the guns used were out of the United States. What is the U.S. going to do to stop the guns from getting there?"
However, on April 2, Fox News reported that 90% figure to be inaccurate: "The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S. What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, ‘is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S.’ But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S." The network reports failed to explain those details.
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer interviewed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday and skipped any mention of a controversial report by the agency warning of right-wing extremist activity and disgruntled returning war veterans. In separate interviews, both the CBS "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" discussed the hot-topic issue with the top government official. Instead, Sawyer pressed Napolitano with incorrect numbers about gun violence and Mexico. "95 percent of the guns used were out of the United States. What is the U.S. going to do to stop the guns from getting there," she asked.
In fact, the number of guns traced to the U.S. is only about 17 percent. (MRC intern Mike Sargent wrote about this on April 2.) Even the Homeland Security secretary seemed to be uncomfortable with the statistic. Before answering the question, Napolitano prefaced, "And I won't quibble about numbers. That's not the point." On the issue of terrorism, the GMA host posed this not-exactly pressing question: "Do you see, in your reports that you're now reading in great detail, do you see an increase in the threat to the U.S. homeland? Or do you have them on the run?"
While discussing the ongoing drug war in Mexico with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered: "President Obama will meet with the Mexican president today, who has said that the money, the guns, and the appetite for drugs that fuel this war come from our country. My question is, how much blame do we accept?...Is one of the other things we can do reinstate the assault weapons ban in this country? Because President Calderon has said that ever since it expired, violence there has escalated."
In an earlier report on the issue, correspondent Bill Plante explained: "Mexican authorities are often out-gunned by the gangs. Military-grade arms, including grenades and machine guns, are easily purchased in the U.S. and smuggled into Mexico. Just as the drugs are easily moved north in response to heavy demand in the U.S...President Obama will promise today to step up efforts to stop the flow of weapons from the U.S. down into Mexico." Earlier media reports claimed 90% of guns involved in the Mexican drug war came from the U.S., a statistic which was later proven false by Fox News’s William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott.
NBC's Matt Lauer and Andrea Mitchell, on Thursday's "Today" show, pressed their guests (Lauer with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Mitchell with Mexican President Felipe Calderon) about reinstituting the assault weapons ban. First up, Mitchell – who pushed Hillary Clinton last month to bring back the ban -- offered Calderon an open to blame Mexican drug cartel violence on guns imported from the U.S.:
ANDREA MITCHELL: President Obama will not deliver long-promised Blackhawk helicopters, nor a ban on assault weapons smuggled south. He campaigned as a candidate against the assault weapons. Now that he's in office, he's had to back off.
FELIPE CALDERON: But most of the weapons, almost 16,000 are assault weapons and 90 percent of those were sold in United States.
Then Lauer, in his segment with Napolitano, repeated Calderon's inaccurate line that 90 percent of drug cartel weapons came from the U.S.:
MATT LAUER: You know President Calderon wants a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that was, that expired during the Bush administration. When you look at the numbers, that 90 percent of the 12,000 weapons Mexican officials recovered from these drug cartels in the last year or so were made and sold in the United States, and many of those, as we just heard from President Calderon, are assault weapons, how can President Obama, who ran on an issue against assault weapons, how can he not deliver on that?
A report from the Department of Homeland Security warning that the recession as well as the current political environment could lead to acts of violence from "domestic rightwing terrorists" became a hot topic Tuesday despite it being listed as "For Official Use Only."
The document, which specifically cited April 4's Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, cop killings as a "recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing extremism," enraged conservatives questioning not only the timing of this report's release within days of liberal media representatives blaming the shootings on rightwing talkers, but also just before Wednesday's tax protesting Tea Parties.
As Reuters reported Tuesday, the DHS tried to quell such concerns by claiming this analysis was nothing out of the ordinary:
Once again The New York Times unleashes a not-so-hidden agenda to its reading public. Here the Times is regurgitating the debunked claim that "90%" of Mexico's recovered guns used in crime south of the border are from U.S. gun dealers. There is a lot of misdirection in this piece against gun dealers and gun shows, as well. Contradictory claims are made with no proof offered but the say so of The Times.
The Times begins its tall tale by talking about Mexican gun smugglers that find it easy to buy "military style" weapons at U.S. gun shops to be smuggled into Mexico. The story talks of these "lightly regulated" gun dealers and blames them for the smuggling apparently because no records are kept or buyer's identities ascertained. And near the top half of the story is the debunked "90%" claim.