Emotionally charged questions that leave out important context to a debate? Check.
Misrepresenting pro-gun groups? Check.
Radical policy statements that go ignored by reporters? Check.
Callers who are convinced it’s all a conspiracy? Check.
Why, I do believe we have all the mandatory requirements for an hour of conversation about Second Amendment rights on NPR.
It started this morning with alerts for multiple tweets from NPR’s Philly station WHYY claiming that representatives from @PAGunRights would be on their station debating anti-gun advocates. Well, this would be news to anyone who has ever contributed to the PAGunRights.com site since no current or former volunteer contributor that I know of was speaking to them.
Even though NPR was claiming that “individuals” (plural) from the pro-gun side would be on the show, they actually on had one speaker for the Second Amendment from NRA-ILA. Meanwhile, they hosted two anti-gun folks, one professional group leader and the other a member of Bloomberg’s group. Fair and balanced means two against one, apparently. Not to mention, the host was blatantly biased. Here as some examples of the absurdity pushed by the NPR host:
- When asking NRA’s representative about their support for state preemption laws, the host phrased the question as, “Why is NRA against police chiefs?” No, I’m not kidding.
- When CeaseFirePA’s leader called for lost and stolen violations to be felonies AND for them to remain municipal offenses, at no point was he questioned about what the means for completely changing the legal system in Pennsylvania which limits felonies to state charges. Nope, upending the entire state justice system apparently requires zero follow-up.
- While CeaseFirePA’s leader claimed anti-gun people didn’t know about a hearing on the strengthened preemption bill which essentially asserts that they violated sunshine laws, the host let it slide when he later contradicted himself admitting that their legislative supporters knew about it three days before a committee hearing. Fortunately, NRA was able to at least point out that legislators did not violate any laws.
- The host let a caller propose making lost and stolen reporting a federal offense, but never once questioned how that would work. Instead, it was treated as a perfectly reasonable suggestion instead of raising any kind of question about which federal agencies would be responsible for handling it or how exactly charges of violating the ordinance would work when there are already few federal prosecutions for actual straw purchasing cases.
Back to the content of the guests and the callers, MAIG’s Pennsylvania representative on the show advocated for lost and stolen laws to be felonies as well, but also specified that he encouraged a patchwork of laws across Pennsylvania that will ensnare lawful gun owners. It looks like Bloomberg’s position on NYC laws are spreading.
The callers I heard were just absurd. I think it’s funny the rightwing talk radio has the reputation for attracting conspiracy callers because there was woman who was convinced that because one NRA employee could not recall an exact number for campaign contributions donated to all Pennsylvania politicians, it was clearly evidence that NRA was simply buying off lawmakers. Never mind that it was pointed out that it is all a matter of public record that she herself could look up. Never mind that NRA has hundreds of thousands of members in the state. It never even occurred to her that there was any reason a legislator would vote for the Second Amendment other than being bought.
A number of other callers were mysteriously disconnected before being allowed to speak, so the only voices I heard were anti-gun. I know what to expect out of NPR on the issue of Second Amendment rights, but this was over-the-top even by their standards.
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