Currently Browsing: The Media
May 14, 2013
A few readers have sent me this story from the Philadelphia Inquirer, that I think needs some clearing up.
Based on the task force’s report, Christie made anti-violence recommendations that gun control advocates said didn’t go far enough. Around that time, two donations came in to Christie’s gubernatorial re-election campaign from NRA lobbyist Randy Kozuch, campaign records released yesterday show: $2,000 on March 5, as the task force was completing its work, and $1,000 on April 23, a few days after Christie issued his final gun proposals.
Randy used to head up State and Local Affairs, which is essentially NRA’s state lobbying effort. All the NRA State Liaisons report through State and Local Affairs. When James Baker came back to ILA several years ago, he was put in charge of ILA’s Federal Affairs team. Chuck Cunningham, who at the time headed up Federal Affairs, moved to head up State and Local Affairs. Kozuch went to work for the Office of Advancement, which is outside of NRA’s political arm (ILA). He donated to Christies campaign privately. In short, maybe Randy Kozuch “isn’t mad at Christie,” but it’s completely factually inaccurate to suggest “NRA sent cash,” as the Philadelphia Inquirer has done here.
May 10, 2013
There’s a fine line between being seen or heard and shoving your politics so much in someone’s face that they get utterly turned off and it works against you. Make your voice heard doesn’t mean piss off everyone around you. That doesn’t help a cause.
So imagine my surprise that the local media has actually been reporting honestly that it was an anti-gun group that decided to go shove their politics in people’s faces at a bunch of little league games. To add to the mix, the very anti-gun media are even editorializing against the decision by the anti-gun groups to disrupt the atmosphere of the games and not blaming gun owners. (Though they admit they aren’t a fan of individuals who plan to open carry in opposition, they don’t lay the blame at their feet.)
This editorial doesn’t just condemn a rinky-dink anti-gun group. The speakers at the event they say should have been canceled are a former governor and a current state lawmaker. Good for the media for calling out the appropriate party for their desire to get up in everyone’s faces where it is rather inappropriate.
Apr 30, 2013
So a poll says that 54% of Arizonans are either happy with the state’s gun laws, or want the law to be less strict, and what was the headline read? “Poll: Most Arizonans want stricter gun laws.” This is not even remotely accurate, given that only 42% of Arizonans said “the sale of guns should be subject to stricter laws.” This would, at best, be a plurality, if you ignore the fact that the rest of those polled said they were fine with the laws as is or wanted them to be less strict. There is no universe where this poll says that most Arizonans want stricter gun laws.
Apr 21, 2013
You’d think after so much public derision over their terrible job reporting on the Boston bombing situation, the media would think it wise to step back and consider how they report on breaking events and whether they are contributing to a sense of panic by printing and announcing every rumor they hear. I think it is safe to say that the Philly media definitely didn’t learn anything.
Here’s what I can tell you about a story that has apparently been unfolding since 9:00am today at the Independence Visitor Center in downtown Philly.
The local paper says that the Center was closed down because of a bomb threat in their headline. When you read the article, you find out that there was no actual threat just a perception that a guy who looked funny because he wore a camo coat on a cold day had some clothes and junk in his car may have possibly been a threat that involved a bomb.
A local tv station reports nothing about concerns about a bomb, but that SWAT teams were on the scene because the guy in the camo coat may have also had his face painted. There’s no mention of clothes or junk in his car, just that police shut down the main parking garage in the area in order to search every corner for anything suspicious before giving an all clear.
So the only clear facts that appear to be consistent are that a guy was wearing a coat on a cold day, the coat was apparently in a camouflage pattern, he had a car parked in a parking garage, and that the Philly police felt the best response was to shut down a major landmark and the parking garage because of this man wearing a coat on a cold day. Oh, and they also agree that he was hauled off in handcuffs, but officials are unwilling to say why he was detained.
At this point, even if there is a reasonable explanation for the police response, the reporting by at least one of these outlets–if not both–is irresponsible and clearly geared toward promoting fear in order to draw eyeballs. That’s why neither story is getting a link at the moment. Neither one deserves to be rewarded for reporting that appears to be, under the most generous descriptions, sloppy at best.
UPDATE: Another report actually relies on on-the-record statements from the police. Can you imagine the insanity behind such caution and restraint?
So far, the facts appear to be that a man was wearing camo (no mention of face paint) and that he had a car that was dirty. This alone was enough for police to determine that he should be taken into custody even though they admit that the K9 unit and bomb squad found absolutely nothing in his car but junk. Now this might be my crazy libertarian side coming out, but last time I checked, possession of shitty fashion sense and dirty cars isn’t actually a crime.
Is there no one else disturbed by the apparent extreme police state on display here? Are urban dwellers that content to give up their civil liberties?
Apr 13, 2013
I love markets. Markets generally tell us what people really want and how much they value something. For example, gun rights and fast cars.
For those of you who aren’t NASCAR fans, NRA has sponsored a race tonight, the NRA 500. As a politician opposed to freedom and fun, Chris Murphy (D-CT) stepped in and tried to use the pressure of his office to have NASCAR turn on NRA’s long planned sponsorship. That didn’t work, so Murphy turned on Fox to try and get them to yank it from the air. (Though NASCAR has pledged to review their sponsorship agreements after the race.)
Fox didn’t pull it, but fans are noticing that Fox announcers are going out of their way to avoid saying the name of the race tonight except where they are contractually obligated to do so. (I would embed the tweet on that topic here, but Cameron Gray of NRA News, who reported on the contract requirements, blocks us for some reason, so I cannot get the embed code.) I just can’t fathom how a network that really needs to attract viewers willing to spend money on sponsors and advertisers decides that it is in their best interest to piss off those people ready to spend money.
How do I know they are ready to spend money? Easy, the President of the Texas Motor Speedway tells us that the combined NRA & NASCAR fanbase is spending big, big bucks:
According to a statement by Gossage covered by ESPN earlier, objections to the NRA sponsorship are few and far between. Interestingly, they actually looked up those who complained and found that the vast majority of those few are not even customers.
“We’ve had fewer than a dozen responses,” Gossage said. “Of those, only two had purchased tickets [to other TMS events]. There is no controversy or big uproar or even a tiny uproar.”
But Fox is hardly the only shortsighted business involved in tonight’s race. The same ESPN article notes that the PR directors for two drivers ordered them not to grant any interviews in the media room so that they won’t have to be pictured with the letters NRA behind them. No doubt those same PR pros have probably squashed any efforts by the driver or their teams to use the #NRA500 hashtag tonight on Twitter – you know, the hashtag that’s trending nationwide right now. We wouldn’t want those drivers to turn up for any racing fans searching that hashtag, now would we?
If I was a driver, regardless on my views of guns, I would look at the merchandise sales and the social media opportunities lost, then I would promptly fire my PR person for not knowing a damn thing about my customer base. Numbers don’t lie, but PR directors apparently do when motivated by politics instead of the best business interests of their clients.
If Gossage is interested, this former Texas Motor Speedway customer appreciates the class the Speedway has shown in the face of a hostile media and an lawmaker who forgets we’re a free society. Granted, the last event I attended was a Rolling Stones concert in high school. But I am a proven customer nonetheless!
*Title shamelessly stolen from ExUrban Kevin
Apr 10, 2013
The anti-gun leaders are just so eager! It’s naïvely cute, except for the press that just happily relates their claims of success without actually questioning anything they do.
Take this NPR article that reports a claim by an anti-gun group that they generated tons of phone calls to Sen. Mark Warner’s office on the same as an NRA action alert that they were the ones who overwhelmed the office – not NRA members.
The National Rifle Association had told its members to barrage Warner’s office with calls that morning. When Moms Demand Action heard that, they launched a counteroffensive, clogging up Warner’s phone lines so badly that calls were going straight to voicemail.
The reporter does nothing to actually question the claim. Now, I wouldn’t expect them to demand a detailed list from the Senator’s office about how many calls came from each side. However, I would ask the anti-gun advocate how she came to that conclusion when she knew for a fact that the opposition with more than 4.5 million members known for political activism weren’t part of that barrage. If the anti-gun group couldn’t prove it, the the paragraph should have been worded very differently to note that it’s a claim by the organization based on member accounts or whatever metric the organization leader claimed. But that doesn’t drive the agenda of “proving” how weak NRA is compared to these anti-gun groups.
Apr 8, 2013
Say Uncle takes a look at the media treatment of negligent discharge cases. I see this one often: “Investigators said the gun owner won’t face charges because he has a carry permit.” I’ve always kind of been baffled by that one too.
Mar 31, 2013
There were quite a number of media roaming around the rally, so this naturally made me wonder how fair the media coverage would be. Only two news outlets have covered it, or at least put their stories online. The first is the Intelligencer:
The pro-gun protesters tried to shout down speakers throughout the 45-minute rally, even as Moore sought a moment of silence for victims of gun violence and as Kessleman spoke of his dead son.
“I thought that was disrespectful,” Avino said. “It’s a poor reflection on them.”
There weren’t any groups backing the protest, which was largely self-organized through informal communication networks, forums, Facebook, etc. Going in, it was hard to say what a smart tactic would be, because you don’t know what our opponents are going to focus on. If it’s a more vigil type rally, with speakers recounting lost loves ones, aggressive tactics would be boorish. But for an explicitly political rally, with calls to political action, chanting, etc, I don’t see why quiet opposition is necessarily the smart tactic.
This rally was not a vigil type rally, but it was explicitly political, with calls for action, including confiscation. More aggressive tactics were justified. When the line “for too many years Congress has done the bidding of the NRA,” our side cheered. When they called for bans on guns and magazine, our side booed. The speaker from New Jersey was heckled with calls to “Go back to Jersey!” When they tried to rally their crowd with “What do we want? Action!” and the pro-2A crowd drowned them out with “Freedom!” Cries of “leave us alone” were also often heard from the crowd when speakers called for action.
Where I think our side did cross the line was the few early hecklers during the moment of silence. Fortunately that quickly stopped, and our side did observe it, but those few early people own that quote above. Channel 10 News also covered the rally, I think a bit more fairly than the Intelligencer:
View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.
UPDATE: Here’s video from the rally organizers. Decide for yourself whether they are being shouted down or just opposed.
Mar 28, 2013
Most folks who read this blog have have probably seen this “Journalist Guide to Firearms” graphic at some point:
What amuses me about this is that we’ve highlighted when the Associated Press has tried to push journalists into the direction of using the correct language.
Yesterday, AP announced that they are expanding their “weapons” entry. Digital subscribers have full access to their new definitions, but they previewed one on Facebook.
semi-automatic A firearm that fires only once for each pull of the trigger. It reloads after each shot. The form: a semi-automatic rifle, a semi-automatic weapon, a semi-automatic pistol. The hyphen is an exception to general guidance against hyphenating words formed with semi-.
I find this amusing since people who know guns then started a discussion in the comments to improve the language so as to reduce potential confusion with double-action revolvers. We are everywhere, and I love it.
Mar 28, 2013
The media, who know about as much about guns as a squirrel, are jumping all over the story about Adam Lanza having his own gun safe. Maybe he did, or maybe it was Nancy Lanza’s safe. Either way, a big thing they point to is this?
Investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the house, and a holiday card with a check “made out to Adam Lanza for the purchase of a C183 (firearm), authored by Nancy Lanza,” according to a search warrant.
What the hell is a C183? I’ve never heard of a firearm by this model. It is a 14 megapixel camera. Did some ignorant journalist see C183 and just assume it was a gun? Who determined a C183 is a gun? I’ve never heard of any gun by this model name, and it’s possible there is one I don’t know about, but it is definitely also a point and shoot made by Kodak.
Thanks to WR2A for the story.
UPDATE: It occurs to me if you misinterpreted a Z as a 1, it could be a CZ83.