With battle lines clearly drawn in the wake of Monday’s massive pro-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia just days after Second Amendment advocates gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Washington, there are ample examples of bias creeping into the reportage, and if the “mainstream” press were held to the same standards gun owners are facing, the Fourth Estate might not be a happy bunch.
For example, in its report about the Richmond rally that drew an estimated 22,000 mostly armed citizens, WWBT News opened a story with this lead: “While many pro-gun supporters descended on the State Capitol, many gun-safety advocates remained far away but still pushed for tougher gun legislation.” This appeared under the headline “Gun safety advocates avoid rally, but call lawmakers to push for legislation.”
The NBC affiliate doesn’t seem to know the difference between gun control advocates and the gun owners attending the rally, who consider themselves the true “gun safety” crowd. They might have a point, since there were thousands of firearms present Monday and nobody was shot.
Out in Seattle, KING 5 News—the local NBC affiliate—reported on the first day of hearings on proposed gun control legislation, which reporter Sebastian Robertson twice referred to as “gun reform” in the first 15 seconds of the report.
“Today was all about gun reform,” he told viewers.
In Minneapolis, the Star Tribune also took up the gun issue by noting Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) “said the prospects remain dim for the Democratic gun control proposals.”
One paragraph later, reporter Stephen Montemayor wrote, “Gun safety activists and Democrats such as state Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, are meanwhile dismissing the public gathering in Hibbing as a ‘political show hearing.’”
He later added, “Gun safety groups like Protect Minnesota will be busing advocates from Duluth, while Minnesota Moms Demand Action volunteers also will testify” at hearings on the gun control legislation now under consideration by lawmakers. Protect Minnesota is a gun control group, as is Moms Demand Action.
The Washington Post recently editorialized against Second Amendment activists who are resisting proposals in Virginia under the new Democrat-controlled State Assembly.
Headlining their editorial “Attacks on Virginia’s Gun Safety Efforts Are Irresponsible Overreactions,” the newspaper’s editorial page, which never seems to like anything about the Second Amendment, argued, “THE GUN lobby’s combustible rhetoric at the prospect that Virginia’s new Democratic legislative majority will push through a handful of firearms safety bills is wildly detached from reality.”
What would the Post’s editorial writers think if they were suddenly faced with a proposed requirement to use only the term “gun control” when referring to what those 22,000 Richmond demonstrators consider extremist legislation? They would argue about freedom of speech and the press protected by the First Amendment, because it would then be their rights being stepped on.
When it comes to “irresponsible overreactions,” many believe Northam is guilty for imposing a ban on guns on the capitol grounds.
Have any news agencies ever inquired about which organizations field thousands of certified firearms safety instructors? Hint: They don’t include organizations with the terms “safety” or “responsibility” in their titles.
Back in “the other Washington,” Seattle’s KOMO—the local ABC affiliate—also covered Monday’s legislative hearings with a story headlined, “State lawmakers hear from gun safety supporters, gun rights advocates on new bill,” as if gun owners don’t practice genuine “gun safety” every day.
The gun prohibition lobby’s lexicon is deceptive, say Second Amendment advocates, and that’s bad enough. But when the press adopts that vocabulary, it becomes a bias problem, whether deliberate or unconsciously.
Anti-gunners some years ago decided to re-brand what they’re up to, calling their agenda a “gun safety,” or “gun reform” or “gun responsibility” campaign, but it’s still gun control, and it is still a non-starter among tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners who have—as demonstrated in Richmond and Olympia—grown tired of being the fall guys for crimes they didn’t commit, and wrongfully linked to “white supremacist” nuts in an effort to demonize them in the eyes of the public.