Currently Browsing: The Media

It’s Not Just Gun Coverage: The Problems in Media

I actually found this article to be a very interesting read on the problems of media today. While some in media just want to pretend that it’s the financial challenges that keep things tough in journalism, Kristi Culpepper notes some other deep flaws in the profession:

There is less concern among the media for developing actual expertise in the fields they write about, capturing events accurately, or providing thoughtful analysis. Some journalists I have interacted with even take pride in their lack of seriousness, which is unfathomable to me. Reporting is less about honesty and more about ubiquity now.

Contrary to how it seems sometimes, we’re not actually completely anti-media in our household. If there’s someone out there who does reporting/writing right, we do pay for it. We have a few digital subscriptions, and we’ve even participated in a PBS fundraiser once because that particular station happens to produce and play (non-news) content we enjoy. But the problem is that many news organizations no longer value the reporting and writing done right. I’m not sure how to solve that problem when, as argued above, there are people in the industry who take pride in the fact that they are incapable of covering an issue with any sort of seriousness.

Those Heartless NRA Members

We all know that the NRA leadership are really demons placed on this earth to make humanity hurt as much as possible – at least that would be our “knowledge” if we listened exclusively to the mainstream media.

So, with that perception from those in the media, the WaPo seemed a bit shocked that Wayne LaPierre has agreed to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and donate money to further research for the disease. He’s on a trip right now, so as soon as he returns, he’s going to do it.

I just have to say that I really hope the NRA staff gets very, very creative with this and actually shows NRA staff having fun and wiling to make the world a better place.* (more…)

Standing Up to The Attacks

As cynical as I feel sometimes about the direction things are headed in with the Second Amendment issue, I do have to give a little credit where it is due to some of the other citizens stepping up to speak out. I’ve noticed several letters to the editor standing up for the NRA and gun rights recently, and even though I don’t agree with every conclusion in every letter, I’m happy to see people speaking out publicly. We need a few more people to stand up to the really absurd accusations about gun owners in the media because it helps inspire others to step up.

LA Times Engaging in Right-Wing Paranoid Fantasy

That’s the refrain of anti-gunners everywhere. “No one wants to ban your guns,” “It’s right wing paranoia. It’s lunacy to think anyone is coming for your guns.” Then why is such an esteemed publication as the LA Times just fine with publishing:

As for handguns, assault-style weapons, etc., let’s have a flat-out ban. Beyond the histrionics of the gun lobby, there is no defensible reason for such weapons to be a part of our culture. They exist for one purpose: to kill. Yes, hobbyists also like to use guns for target shooting and other nonlethal purposes, but it’s hard to say that desire for sport outweighs the atrocious level of gun-related deaths in this country.

So they are coming for my guns then? Probably shotguns eventually too, once they figure out they are highly lethal instruments when compared to “assault-style weapons,” and especially handguns. But nonetheless, how can they argue that no one wants to ban guns when people are regularly calling for it? Am I not supposed to take this seriously? Is this person kidding? Is it just engaging in a little left-wing daydreaming? The fact is our opponents have no credibility on this. We know better. When they feel emboldened, they are quite willing to speak their true views.  From the comments:

“Totally agree: Let’s ban guns. It will never happen, but what a nice idea. Otherwise, Isla Vista will keep happening over & over & over again.”

“Awwww, you’re making the gun nutters cry … KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!”

“The author doesn’t go far enough. Repeal the Second Amendment.”

“Where did he say, “Ban all guns?” He said ban all handguns. But that’s alright, twist his words to suit your own predilections.” [Glad he cleared that up. I was worried for a second.]

“In virtually every other civilized country in the world, this would not be a particularly controversial proposal. But in America it will never be taken seriously, as evidenced by all the ridiculing comments below. For whatever reasons, Americans consider it vitally important — essential, in fact — that they be able to shoot other people. And so life goes on. Except for all the people who get shot.” [Very few countries ban handguns, actually.]

“What we need is legislation to stop people from killing other people with handguns and assault weapons that were designed specifically for that purpose – to kill people. Sporting rifles and shotguns are not made for that purpose, so leave them be. If you want to handle assault weapons, join the police or military where they are both appropriate and well-regulated.” [Jeez, you'd think shotguns and rifles weren't extremely effective at killing people. If it can take down an Elk effectively with one shot, it'll take down a person just fine.]

Granted, most of the comments are pro-gun, but that’s to be expected. Nonetheless, you can find this opinion to be common if you look among people who don”t like firearms.


Quite an Audacious Editorial on Smart Guns

Most days I feel like I’ve seen about everything from the media that’s worth even commenting on, but sometimes they outdo themselves. Such an example can be found in this editorial from the Middletown Press:

Yet gun-rights activists have successfully intimidated stores in Maryland and California into not selling the iP1.

The gun-rights movement is treating the expansion of consumer choice not as free enterprise, but as treason.

It takes quite a lot of gall to suggest we’re fighting “the expansion of consumer choice.” We’re fighting smart gun mandates which would essentially create a sweeping gun ban across a large percentage of the population of the United States. This could have been about consumer choice, but people like the Editorial board of the Middletown Press, Bryan Miller, and other anti-gun nitwits made another choice.

Few industries need innovation as desperately as the gun trade. As Mauch writes in his essay, which appeared in the Washington Post, “Firearm safety has not meaningfully advanced in the past century.” Automobile safety, by contrast, has progressed so significantly in that same period that guns are poised to pass auto accidents as a cause of death.

And what do you idiots know about innovation in the gun trade? I’m always amazed at the arrogance of journalists willing to opine about topics they know absolutely nothing about. That seems to go double when the topic is firearms. Come to SHOT one year, and then argue there’s no innovation. There has been a lot of innovation. There has even been a lot of SAFETY innovation. Virtually all modern firearms are drop safe. That wasn’t the case even a few decades ago.

So maybe a compromise is in order: If New Jersey allows the marketplace to dictate the fate of smart guns, will the NRA and its followers be willing to do the same? That’s a deal worth making.

You put your cards on the table already. No deal. We fight the technology because we know what will be coming next. We simply do not trust you not to mandate the technology once it hits the market and you, the people who know nothing about firearms or firearms safety, decide it’s working well enough to impose on those people who do know about those things. Sorry, not accepting the firearm market being controlled by clueless journalists, sniveling politicians, and pearl clutching ninnies. That’s what we’re inviting if we give in to the smart gun technology.

NRA “Freestyle” Attempt to Reach Younger Gun Owners

There’s been quite a bit of press attention over NRA’s new attempt to reach younger gun owners with “NRA Freestyle.” It turns out, I’m not too far off the target audience, except that I have a sense of civic duty and am actually engaged on the issue – something that doesn’t apply to the vast majority of the demographic they are targeting.

I’m technically a millennial and a woman. Only, unlike many people in my “generation,” I don’t believe the world exists to entertain me and I actually participate with the community around me. However, if you define me down by age and, to a lesser degree, gender, then I am close to who they want to reach.

So, with all the hubbub surrounding this, what’s my take? It’s ultimately, “eh.”

First, there’s the practical issue of the technology to access it. When I tried to access videos through the website, relying on Ackerman McQueen’s video system, it was completely unwatchable. The videos kept skipping as badly as an old, dirty record. I checked my internet connection, and it definitely was not on this end. I gave up in frustration. Only after things are posted to YouTube are they even accessible. So that’s a problem, and one that I’m sure NRA is paying extra for.

But, let’s face it, the content, when accessible by YouTube, is more important. So, let me start with my take on the show that is getting the most attention – Noir.

As others have noted, some of the attacks coming from the media and general left outlets are actually pretty racist. One piece compared Colion Noir using a stage/screen name to a porn actor, while never making such assertions about the many fairer skinned entertainers who use them, such as Brady Campaign celebrity supporters Anthony Dominick Benedetto and Eilleen Regina Edwards. When they have to resort to launching race-based attacks, I think that’s generally a good sign for our side. In fact, he had a little fun responding to pieces and how belittling they were to him as an individual capable of making informed decisions and living his life as he chooses on the second episode, which I think is a good thing.

But, that doesn’t mean I’m in love with the show. Colion Noir clearly built a following of gun people, many of whom trended much younger, on his own even before NRA ever reached out to him. He’s a bit more natural in the role, but his co-host is rather forced. Until her clearly scripted lines in the first episode, everything about her body language and facial expressions screamed discomfort. Sure, she successfully delivered her “pop culture” lines about topics like Lululemon (that I had to explain to Sebastian), and she does break up the action of just one man talking to a camera about a subject. It’s just that she doesn’t appear really comfortable with the gun topic in this format.

Here’s the thing that I would say about that. I am not a gun nut who can give you a detailed technical analysis of a favorite rifle. I am not the awesome font of gun knowledge that is a woman like Tam. I know that, and I don’t pretend to be that, so I’m perfectly comfortable in my level of involvement with and understanding of firearms. I freely admit that when I purchase a gun, the first thing that always pulls me in is when I think, “THAT’S SO PRETTY!” And, you know what? This method has worked for me and resulted in some guns that I really love, which is why I’m not afraid to own it. It is possible to not be a total gun nut, and be comfortable in your role in the gun community, and I think that’s what Amy Robbins is missing in these early episodes. I hope that will change.

There are several parts of the show that are a little awkward, specifically the segment on “Gun Pads” stands out on that front. It was just a clip show with cameras panning past guns and some airplanes. There was no context given, and it was entirely too long for nothing more than videos of guns in different places of a house and airplane hangar. If the same person owns those guns & airplanes, they are probably a pretty interesting person. Why not at least talk about them, even if they are a stereotype of old and white? If they have younger family members who share the passion for guns & planes, why not feature that family member as a spokesperson? I have an attention span longer than your average millennial, and I wanted to close it and watch something else.

While Reason criticizes the feature that reviews guns, they do seem to ignore that gun reviews and videos are some of the most popular features of any gun-related site or media venture no matter the age of their target audience. I suspect that they will never really say anything bad in any NRA Freestyle gun review, so it’s not a totall honest critique, but they can still highlight things they like about a gun without getting negative. Oh, and I might add that both Sebastian & I checked out the featured gun of the first episode at the NRA Annual Meeting and we both really liked the feel of it and because it would fit our carry/shooting lifestyle, which the Reason writer apparently believes to be a “cringe-inducing” feature in a gun review.

Funny enough, as a woman, the concept and content that appealed to me the most with NRA Freestyle is actually Dom Raso’s Media Lab that deconstructs and re-creates movie fight scenes. It has a clear purpose, and it’s fun. Given the body of work in all the big budget action movies that Hollywood has created, there’s really some potential to have some real fun critiquing movie fights and shoot outs.

Raso’s show kept a good pace in both episodes that have been released, and the fun he can have in the next episode (tomorrow) on “Dodging Full Auto” is something I’m actually looking forward to catching. The specific scene they will use as an example is from White House Down, a movie I haven’t seen. Though, let’s face it, with Roland Emmerich involved, I’m pretty sure I can sum it up as explosions, guns, and fights. The plot details aren’t important, and that’s why these things are purely entertainment.

This show has the most potential to reach a much broader audience. Everyone knows movies are fake, and everyone loves talking about how fake or unrealistic a scene was even as we chow down on our popcorn and pull the movie up on Netflix. Given the content, it’s also far more likely to be caught by people doing random searches for various movies who may be interested in the topic and also intrigued by the background NRA branding for something entertaining. It’s got the pop culture connections without being too over-the-top.

I guess my overall impressions with the two shows currently available is that Noir has potential, but if they continue try a little too hard to force the pop culture references, it risks coming off as the butchered version of Lelaina’s reality tv show from Reality Bites. (If I see floating faces on a pizza, I’m going to be very disturbed. For you youngsters responsible for Noir, that’s a Gen X movie reference – you know, the old people.) Media Lab needs a better name, but it has the best content, in my opinion. It flows a little more seamlessly right off the bat.

I think the best feature of both shows is that they don’t do a hard sell to connect with the organization. However, that also leaves me concerned about whether or not the target audience for the network will ever be told that they need to give enough of a shit about their guns to join NRA or join the actual grassroots movement instead of sitting around watching the videos all day.

WaPo Freaks Out About 80% Lowers

Resident pearl clutcher Sarai Horwitz penned an article in yesterday’s WaPo talking about the latest “loophole,” meaning thing that is perfectly legal that we don’t like:

Zawahri’s assault became one of the most notorious cases involving unfinished receivers, which are unregulated and have become readily available for purchase online and at some gun stores.

One of the most notorious? It’s the only one I’m aware of at all. But of course, they have to make this appear to be a bigger problem than it really is.

ATF officials say gun enthusiasts are effectively exploiting a loophole in the law designed to regulate firearms. Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is illegal for an unlicensed person to make a firearm for sale or distribution. Vendors, however, say that because the receivers are not finished, they are not firearms and therefore are legal to sell and distribute.

It’s not a loophole. The law has to define what a firearm is, so any firearm boiled down to its components will always have one serial numbered part that ATF considers “the firearm,” usually the receiver. ATF also makes determinations on what is and isn’t a receiver, so I find it interesting that ATF is classifying this as a loophole when it’s ATFs own determinations that make it so. What goes unmentioned is that you have to define what a receiver is. If you get ridiculous with it, hunks of metal and plastic suddenly become illegal.

But I suspect the target is home gun building. Before the gun control supporters and their helpful lapdogs in the media can make any progress toward making home building and home gunsmithing completely illegal without a license, they first have to demonize it, and make it appear to the uninitiated to be some kind of shadowy underworld rather than people engaging in a hobby.

Media Priorities

It’s interesting to note that the only article that the Chicago Sun Times manages to publish on the Leland Yee indictment is really more about Shrimp Boy and the the Chinese underworld in San Francisco than about Leland Yee, but an NRA lobbyist gets a ticket for not having his crossbow cased while hunting on private land? Scandal city!

They’re Just After “Common Sense” Gun Laws

The Hartford Courant is just fine with the idea of sending hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens to the gulags. In fact, they embrace the idea:

But the bottom line is that the state must try to enforce the law. Authorities should use the background check database as a way to find assault weapon purchasers who might not have registered those guns in compliance with the new law.

A Class D felony calls for a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even much lesser penalties or probation would mar a heretofore clean record and could adversely affect, say, the ability to have a pistol permit.

If you want to disobey the law, you should be prepared to face the consequences.

If you’re a gun owner in the Courant’s market, and you still subscribe, you’re part of the problem. They want you in prison.

Media Fails; Blames NRA

When I first noticed the “welcome” piece from the Indianapolis Star I didn’t comment on the bits where the author implied that NRA & the convention bureau were trying to keep the convention a secret, claiming that “the NRA was uncharacteristically low-key about its plans” and that tourism officials were “not touting one of the largest convention it’s bagged in years.” I just thought it was part of his hit piece.

It turned out that this seems to be a common view in the Indy media based on this article. They say that NRA is blaming a miscommunication, but they still imply that NRA was trying to hide their location.

It’s as if local reporters are looking to bash NRA for their own failures. Just in a quick search, we’ve been talking about Indianapolis as a known location since early 2012. It hasn’t been a secret. No one has been hiding anything, nor has NRA been particularly low-key. They usually don’t start advertising until the year of the event. This year, it’s a little more complex since a good portion of the people in driving distance are also in driving distance of the Harrisburg sportsman’s show, one of the largest shows in the country, that starts this weekend. They have to balance out advertising for each event, which historically hasn’t been an issue. Regardless, the fact that Indy is hosting the convention has not been some big secret, contrary to their assertions.

It’s as if the media is so desperate to attack NRA that they are now reaching make up new controversies that really comes down to a situation where journalists are just too lazy to use Google.

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