On Thursday’s Stossel show on FBN, host John Stossel devoted the program to making the case that gun control can increase crime rates and that higher rates of gun ownership tend to decrease crime. Stossel admitted that, even as a libertarian, it took time for him to come around to this truth as he and most in the mainstream media live in the New York City liberal bubble, not cognizant of all the states that have passed concealed carry laws and seen crime decrease. During a segment with Dennis Hannigan of the Brady Campaign, the FBN host observed: "Over the years, more and more states changed their laws to allow concealed carry. The mainstream media and my neighbors are so isolated here in New York City and in Washington, D.C., most of us had no clue that carrying a concealed weapon is already legal in the rest of the country. More places all the time, legal guns, and yet crime does keep dropping."
Stossel concluded the show by recounting Britain’s failed experiment with gun bans, and revealed that Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, known for advocating gun control, had declined an invitation to appear on the show to argue his case as the FBN host took a self-deprecating jab at the New York Senator:
How committed is the Washington Post to its crusade to see Congress abridge free speech under the guise of "campaign finance reform"? So much that it's willing to be a political bedfellow with the National Rifle Association, a group it detests for its persistent advocacy of Americans' Second Amendment liberties.
In a June 17 editorial, the Post voiced its support behind a bill that Democrats and some liberal Republicans have been cobbling together since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold bill earlier this year. But the bill itself contains language that was tailor-made to carve out an exemption for the National Rifle Association. That exemption was included, it seems, to get the NRA to back down from opposing the bill and hence to prevent it from throwing the ire of its grassroots backers into the mix.
While there are both leftists and conservatives angry about this unholy alliance for wildly different reasons, the Post defended its support of the bill with its typical sanctimonious language about battling "shadowy" interests:
On Wednesday’s The View on ABC, co-host Joy Behar defended author Joe McGinniss’s decision to purchase a home right next door to Sarah Palin as he plans to write an unauthorized biography of her, and his recent comments on NBC's Today show comparing her criticism of him to the behavior of Nazi troopers of the Third Reich. Behar found no agreement from the other co-hosts, and faced stiff resistance from Elisabeth Hasselbeck, in particular. Behar: "He's not saying she's a Nazi. He's saying the tactic was Nazi-like. ... This is the inference Ms. Palin put on her Facebook: ‘Wonder what kind of material he'll gather while overlooking Piper's bedroom?’ ... so now she writes something like that, she unleashes hatred among the Palinites who are very dittohead-ish and carry guns..."
Hasselbeck objected to being called a "dittohead," prompting Behar bring up Rush Limbaugh embrace of the term as a description of audience members, but also mocked Hasselbeck by calling him and Palin her "idols."
A promo for a new Chris Matthews special on the "Rise of the New Right" is pretty much what you'd expect: Rand Paul, 9/11 Truther Alex Jones, and lots of militiamen shooting guns. That is the doctrinaire leftist snapshot of the Tea Party movement, so it stands to reason that Matthews will extrapolate it into some dire warning about our political future.
"There is a rising tide on the right," Matthews's ominously declares. "The tea party is determined to take power, what does that mean for America?" A claim by a militiaman that "the government's too big" is immediately followed by gunshots - a not too subtle way to paint Americans who favor less government (a majority, by the way) as extremists ala the infamous Hutaree Militia.
The promo opens with Rand Paul's "message from the Tea Party: we've come to take our government back." Paul's recent gaffe - he said he would not have voted for Title II of the Civil Rights Act - will probably give Matthews an easy segue into discussion of the horrible racists that make up the movement. The presence of Alex Jones suggests that Matthews will try to paint Tea Partiers as conspiracy theorists as well (video below the fold).
An 80-year-old Chicago man recently defended himself and his family from an armed burglar, using a firearm banned under the Windy City's stringent gun ban. Despite the robber getting off the first shot the elderly man was unhurt:
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is "missing the target when it comes to whose interests he's really looking out for" but "then again, that's nothing new for us, is it," MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan complained in the "Busted" segment of today's program.
Ratigan lamented that McDonnell stripped out the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) as an alternative organization that Old Dominion educators could select for gun safety instruction for elementary school students. As it stands now, the National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle" program is the only option public school teachers have under state law.
Perhaps Ratigan is unaware that the Eddie Eagle program "neither offers nor asks for any value judgment concerning firearms," it merely instructs children in four simple steps about what to do should they come across a gun: "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."
By contrast, the NCPC has ideologically-colored aims in some of its gun safety materials for grade schoolers. Take this lesson plan for fourth and fifth graders, for example (emphasis mine), which uses the assassinations of Lincoln, Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. as tokens to advance a loathing of guns themselves:
In a bizarre attempt to demonstrate how vital gun control is in his city, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley threatened to stick a bayonted rifle up a reporter's rear end and pull the trigger. Of course if a Republican had done the same to demonstrate the conservative position on gun control, there would be a media bonanza. Not so for the Democratic mayor.
"If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!" Daley told Mick Dumke of the Chicago Reader. Dumke had posed the very sensible question of how the city's draconian restrictions on gun ownership had helped, given that firearms are still widely accessible, and used in violent crimes throughout the city.
Daley didn't seem to understand the question; he went on about how many lives the confiscation of guns saves, while ignoring the reporter's point that gun control doesn't take firearms out of the hands of criminals. Or, for that matter, politicians peeved with reporters for asking inconvenient questions (video of the exchange below the fold).
With “Sharp Words” forming the on-screen graphic, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer on Thursday night championed the domestic gun control argument espoused by a foreign leader trying to shift the blame for his nation's criminal activity, a remark neither CBS nor NBC found newsworthy:
Mexico's President Felipe Calderon today challenged a joint session of Congress on gun control, asking that they reinstate a ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004, saying 80 percent of the traceable weapons used in those crimes in Mexico, right across the border, come from the U.S.
Viewers then heard from Calderon: “I admire the American Constitution, but many of these guns are not going to honest American hands. Instead, thousands are ending up in the hands of criminals.”
On Fox Chicago News Friday evening, reporter Tera Williams did a piece on Chicago's gun buyback program scheduled for today. The city gives prepaid credit cards for weapons turned in. This year it's paying $100 for each assault weapon, $75 for guns and $10 for BB guns, air guns and replica guns. Williams questioned several residents on the effectiveness of the program. One man told her (at about 1:47 of the video), "It's a good way to start." Williams replied: "Something's better than nothing, right?" while nodding her head affirmatively.
Picking up on a story from Louisiana about a bill to allow concealed carry for firearms in houses of worship, MSNBC's Tamron Hall asked viewers of the network's live coverage shortly before 3 p.m. EDT today if the legislation was "Crossing the Line."
True to the segment's formula, only one side of the controversy was represented in the form of a guest to discuss the matter, in this case, an opponent of the bill, State Rep. Barbara Norton (D). [full interview audio here; click play button on embed at right for video]
While Hall did ask Norton to react to a quote by bill sponsor State Rep. Henry Burns (R), she failed to ask Norton why she believed it was proper for the state to issue a top-down one-size-fits-all gun ban for houses of worship, as dictated by current law.
After all, as New Orleans Times-Picayune capital bureau staffer Ed Anderson reported yesterday, the bill does not require churches to allow parishioners to carry concealed and parishioners must be notified by church officers prior to any move to adopt a security force or allow concealed carry by worshipers:
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 her CNN program on Monday, Campbell Brown forwarded one of the Left's talking points about the tea parties by stating that "it does appear that we are seeing a rise in right wing extremism recently." However, her guest, historian Robert Churchill of the University of Hartford, downplayed her claim and claimed that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center were "exaggerating" the threat.
Brown brought on Churchill at the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the interview, she made her "right wing extremism" claim and cited "a number of studies that have looked at this. The Department of Homeland Security came out with a study last year saying that, perhaps, it's the economy, or possibly the President's race." The anchor then asked, "What do you see as driving recruitment right now, beyond just sort of the generic more- or not generic, but more general libertarian view?"
For weeks, MSNBC has advertised Rachel Maddow's two-hour special broadcast about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building. This special, aired on the 15-year anniversary of that bombing, was billed as a way for viewers to see what can happen if anti-government sentiment gets out of control.
"So tonight, exactly 15 years later, this special edition of ‘The Rachel Maddow Show' brings you the inside story of the Oklahoma City bombing," Maddow said on her April 19 broadcast. "MSNBC obtained 45 hours of audio tape interviews in which Timothy McVeigh describes the planning and the executions and the motivations behind his horrific attack. This is a detailed account as it has never before been heard, told to us by the terrorist himself."
However, there's an opportunity for viewers to reflect the status quo as they view this documentary, Maddow explained.
MSNBC on Monday repeatedly promoted Barack Obama as a pro-Second Amendment President and chastised gun-rights activists for "worrying" so much over this issue. News Live host Monica Novotny talked to Skip Coryell, the founder of the Second Amendment march on Washington and complained, "What are you guys worried about?
She then touted, "Our political unit today was reminding us in the First Read that President Obama has expanded gun rights more than any other Democratic President when he signed legislation that, among other things, allows people to carry weapons in national parks." Host Tamron Hall repeated the talking point in the 11am hour.
MSNBC colleague Norah O'Donnell condescendingly hit the same idea in a Tweet: "irony [sic] of the men-with-guns protests in DC: Obama has expanded gun rights more than other recent Dem president." Of course, Obama also appointed the extremely anti-gun Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme court. Another nominee hostile to the Second Amendment may be coming soon. Candidate Obama famously chastised "bitter" Americans for "clinging" to their guns.
Cam Edwards at NRANews.com passed along a New Jersey Star-Ledger story showing how gun dealers are held in low esteem. Matt Carmel of Maplewood, New Jersey was rejected when he applied to sponsor a little-league baseball team:
Carmel, a licensed gun dealer, applied to sponsor a team in the local Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken baseball league, using the name of his business — Constitution Arms.
He was rebuffed.
"Arbitrary, capricious and unfair," Carmel said of the perceived slight. "I don’t like being pigeonholed."
But what really makes the story maddening (and worth wider attention and commentary) are the sponsors that have been allowed:
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN anchor Ali Velshi unexpectedly supported Starbucks' decision to stand by its policy of letting gun-owning customers openly-carry their weapons in states where it is legal to do so. Despite hinting he didn't see the need for guns in coffee shops, Velshi stated it was "better for businesses not to weigh into this unwinnable debate."
The anchor weighed in on the Starbucks controversy during a commentary at the end of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Velshi didn't mention that it was specifically the Brady Campaign for Prevent Gun Violence that was pushing for the company to turn its coffeehouses into "gun-free zones," as reported by the AP on Thursday. He only stated that "gun control advocates want Starbucks to take a stand." The CNN anchor also omitted that in its statement on the controversy, Starbucks requested that "all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue."
"Gun rights advocates contend that the Chicago handgun ban is unconstitutional, that the Supreme Court already has held that the right to bear arms is an individual and fundamental right, and that means the Second Amendment limits apply to every jurisdiction in the nation," Totenberg said on "Morning Edition."
On Monday, I noted how the Washington Post editorialized against repeal of Virginia's 1993 one-handgun-per-month law. The Post reasoned in its top March 1 editorial that without the law "straw purchasers" could "serve as front men for criminals who come to the state to buy guns in large quantities."
But today, in a Metro section front page story, Post reporter Fredrick Kunkle noted that experts in law enforcement and academia doubt there's a solid case ground in empirical data for that notion (emphasis mine):
Headlines can be an excellent window into the biases, albeit sometimes subtle, of editors. An AP story about a gun rights case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the Windy City's handgun ban before the Supreme Court today is one such example.
The AP's headline is pretty straightforward and unbiased. As Sherman reported in his story, the controversy in question is whether the ruling in Heller extends to the states or if the ruling only forbids the federal and D.C. governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
Yet at least two media outlets picking up on Sherman's story opted for more loaded headlines.
Print newspapers are an ecological nightmare, what with the trees felled to make them, the fossil fuels burned to print and then deliver them, and the tons of unrecycled paper that millions of Americans toss into the garbage instead of a recycling bin.
As such, do newspapers really need to print everyday? Isn't once a week, say Sunday, the most popular day for newspaper reading, enough for most people? Surely such a law wouldn't unduly infringe on the freedom of the press, while doing wonders to save the environment. Indeed, making sure newspapers can print only once a week, or better yet, once a month, may actually save lives!
Of course I'm being facetious, and if such a law were ever passed, I'd loudly join in the chorus coming from the nation's print newspapers that the law was misguided and unconstitutional.
Yet when it comes to gun rights, the Washington Post is of the opinion that rationing law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights is wholly legitimate.
CNN's Ed Lavandera misrepresented "lost and stolen" gun ordinances passed by municipalities in Pennsylvania as "straw purchase ordinances" on Wednesday's American Morning, and hinted that gun rights supporters were somehow extreme. Lavandera also omitted that county and local governments in Pennsylvania cannot pass gun laws due to the state legislature preempting this area of regulation.
The correspondent's report was the third installment in a continuing series on American Morning titled "The Gun Trail" (on Tuesday, he touted what gun control activists call the "iron pipeline," and omitted that gun straw purchases are illegal under federal law). Lavandera highlighted a push in Pennsylvania to pass the "lost and stolen" ordinances. He began with two sound bites from Jana Finder, a coordinator for Ceasefire PA, a gun control organization. The correspondent never explicitly mentioned Ceasefire PA's gun control agenda, just that it had "launched a grassroots campaign to get local governments to sign on to what's become a highly controversial law called 'lost and stolen' ordinances....The ordinances require gun owners to report if their weapons have been lost or stolen, usually within 24 hours."
CNN's Ed Lavandera highlighted what gun control activists call the "iron pipeline" during a report on Tuesday's American Morning, where guns are obtained illegally through straw purchases, a felony offense under federal law, and smuggled to criminals who cannot legally purchase them. Lavandera never made it clear that such straw purchases are illegal during his report.
Anchor John Roberts introduced the CNN correspondent's report, which is part of a series titled "The Gun Trail." Roberts explicitly referenced the "iron pipeline," where guns obtained through illegal straw purchases in the Southeast are smuggled up the I-95 corridor to criminals in the Northeast: "Today, our Ed Lavandera is on the front line, a state at the start of the so-called 'iron pipeline'- a pipeline that could end on your street."
The popular chain coffee shop, Starbucks, is known for a lot of things, but up until recently guns were not one of them. Some patrons of the Seattle-based coffee shop have recently started exercising their rights to carrying guns while they enjoy a cup of coffee. While the Starbucks customers have been expressing their right to bear arms, as allowed by the Second Amendment, there has been some resistant to Starbucks.
Liliana Segura, of AlterNet, painted a bleak picture and wrote, “So you're at your neighborhood Starbucks, maybe with your kids, and you notice a man sitting at the next table with a revolver strapped to his waist. The man next to him has a pistol. In fact, you realize as you look around, there's a table full of gun-toting customers just a few feet away, sipping coffee and doing nothing to conceal their deadly weapons. Aside from steering clear -- or else getting the hell out of there – what can an unarmed citizen do?”
Well, not much. (Except maybe relax and consider that the establishment you’re in is at the moment quite safe from armed robbery and other violent crime. Go ahead, buy Junior another triple mocha latte.) Thing is, Starbucks does “not have a corporate policy regarding customers and weapons,” according to a spokesman. Segura explained that some states, such as California, have an “open gun” policy and many people in California are gathering at Starbucks to openly exercise their rights.
Nightline’s Brian Ross on Monday filed a hyperbolic report on "secret Jesus codes" that are on the sights of rifles used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Ross featured two voices highly critical of the fact that Bible versus can be found on these weapons, but no clip of the opposing side. Ross repeated, "Michael Weinstein runs the Military Religious Freedom Foundation which claims thousands of members in the US military who he says are endangered by the secret Bible codes."
On the MRFF website, the organization trumpets, "MRFF breaks major news story." Ross featured Weinstein in four separate clips, but never once mentioned whether he was fed the information, nor does he note the harshly anti-religious tone of the group. The website currently touts this fund-raising pitch: "The wall separating church and state in the U.S. military has collapsed. MRFF desperately needs you to Help Build The Wall!"
On Tuesday's The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz fretted that NBA players who own firearms are setting a bad example for impressionable young people who may be inspired to emulate their athletic heroes and purchase guns of their own as he called on NBA commissioner David Stern to impose a rule that, "If you want to play in the NBA, you can`t own firearms because with the visibility comes the responsibility..."
Schultz conveyed his fears about young people being influenced by athletes who own guns (video below page break):
I`ve often wondered, why doesn`t David Stern, who`s been the commissioner of the NBA for a long time, just put his foot down and say, "If you want to play in our league, you can`t own firearms. We are in the image business. We`re not in the thug business. We`re in the business of making sure that we send a good message to the youth of this country"? And I`ll guarantee you that there’s probably some kid out there saying that, well, gosh, I can own a handgun because my favorite player on this NBA team does. That's how kids think.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, January 5, The Ed Show, on MSNBC:
Adler praised Douthat for saying that conservatives need to "take ownership of prison reform" to "correct the system they helped build" but took strong exception to his suggestion that, even so, Democrats "still lack credibility on crime policy."
As evidence for how Democrats are tough on crime, however, Adler pointed to gun control, Clinton's gimmicky COPS program, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales ordeal:
Cam Edwards giggled as he shared his "Headline of the Week" with his audience Friday night at NRANews.com. It comes from Indianapolis: "Homeowner Holds Burglar Hostage."
Understandably, while that headline remains on Google, WXIN (Fox 59) has changed the headline now to the more appropriate "Homeowner holds burglar until police arrive." The lesson is a gun owner beats a burglar with a screwdriver:
22 year-old Jorge Barrera now faces burglary charges.
According to police, Barrera entered the home on the southwest side of Indianapolis late last night armed with a screw driver.
Isikoff pitted supporters of gun rights, particularly the National Rifle Association (NRA) against "security-minded" legislators worried about gun use in terrorist attacks on the nation's railways:
Just how much clout does the gun lobby have on Capitol Hill? This week may prove to be a crucial test: A House-Senate conference committee is about to take up a massive transportation-funding bill that is pitting advocates of gun rights against security-minded members worried about the threat of terrorist attacks on Amtrak trains. Tucked into the measure is a controversial National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would cut off $1.5 billion in subsidies to Amtrak unless the federally backed national passenger-train company reverses its post-9/11 security policies and permits train passengers to travel with handguns and other firearms as part of their checked luggage.