Everytown May Have Pushed Too Far

It’s not in doubt that our opponents lie in order to get ahead. To be fair to them, they kind of have to, because the actual truth is not on their side. But despite the media being generally compliant in helping them get their message out in a favorable light, there is such a thing as a lie too big even the media can’t ignore it. It appears that Everytown has crossed that line, forcing CNN to walk back earlier statements from the group.

What we have to hope is that this will make the media and hopefully the public a lot more careful about pronouncements from the group in the future. I don’t think this will be an earth shattering event, where Everytown suddenly gets called on every bit of spin or exaggeration from here on out, but at the very least they know they can’t just outright lie and expect the media to just go along.

There have been a number of outlets covering this. I’d at least say it qualifies as a little egg on their faces.

11 Responses to “Everytown May Have Pushed Too Far”

  1. chiefjaybob says:

    This is reminding me of Bloomberg’s Death Bus tour, and their screw up in reading all of the names of the poor “children victims” of gun violence. Like, ya know, the Boston bombers among other assorted criminals.

  2. Heather from AK says:

    Unfortunately, what most people hear first is what sticks.

  3. Countertop says:

    This happened, and of course the Sheriff office on the same day has pointed out that due to there being two armed adults in the Oregon school, the shooting was addressed in under a minute.

  4. Brad says:

    Perhaps this incident will put a speed bump in the way of the media practice of regurgitating anti-gun press releases as original content.

    I’ve seen it myself. A wire service, I think it was AP, produced an article on .50 caliber rifles that was nothing more than a press release from VPC. This school shooting report from Bloomberg was a similar case of media copy-and-paste anti-gun propaganda. I think the media is prone to this kind of malfeasance as much from laziness as from anti-gun bias.

  5. Jake says:

    The anti’s are already pushing back, though, and in exactly the way I was afraid they would. Unfortunately, Johnson overreached. As one article points out:

    The crux of Johnson’s and now CNN’s position is that shootings that arise from arguments, or gang violence, or suicides, aren’t, as Johnson put it, “mass school shootings and shouldn’t be treated as such.” It’s important to note the only person using the word “mass” is Johnson. Everytown says that they document as many school shootings as they see reported in the media.

    Most of the ones he excluded are shootings that took place on school grounds. He would have been better off only excluding the incidents that took place off school grounds or after hours, and arguing against the legitimacy of including suicides. Sure, the number of fakes would have been smaller, but it still would have showed how they were lying, and would have been less vulnerable to criticism.

    tl;dr – He fell into the same exaggeration trap that Everytown did, but in the opposite direction.

    A gang shooting or a targeted shooting that takes place at a school is still a shooting that takes place at a school, which is all Everytown’s press release actually claimed.[1] Claiming otherwise makes us look just as bad as Everytown.

    [1] “Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings.”
    – “School Shootings in America”. Everytown for Gun Safety. 10 June 2014. Web. 13 June 2013. []

    • Crotalus says:

      Except that the impression MDA gives is that all 74 WERE Sandy Hook type shootings, and they count on this. CNN finally committed actual journalism, and MDA, not liking being caught, stamped its foot and said “Are too!”

      • Jake says:

        But, like I said, going too far in the other direction makes our side look just as bad. Possibly worse, because it gives them a good opportunity to paint us as “uncaring” and “heartless” because we’re (supposedly) claiming that these shootings at schools don’t count.

    • Alpheus says:

      On the one hand, I wouldn’t say that “our side” is doing this. It’s CNN. They are hardly on our side. We’re merely amazed that someone not on “our side” (ie CNN, in this case) is calling MDA on the errors of their ways.

      On the other hand, I think the CNN reporter has a point. Several weeks ago, Mother Jones published an article claiming that mass shootings have never been stopped by a civilian carrying a gun…and they defined “mass shooting” as a shooting where four or more people were killed by a shooter. The problem with this definition is that, if an armed citizen stops a mass shooting, and only two people (or less) die, then it’s not a mass shooting!

      This leads me to think that we either need a second term, “attempted mass shooting”, or we need to include incidents where it’s pretty clear that the shooter intended to shoot or kill a lot of people as a mass shooting event (heck, if two died and five were wounded, then it *ought* to count as a mass shooting event!). In any case, the Mother Jones article was disingenuous.

      Whether the CNN reporter was correct in disqualifying suicides, or disqualifying gang activity, I could see why they might want to do that; indeed, if you are trying to compare these events to what happened at Newtown, it would even make sense! But either way, the fact that CNN is even trying to get to the bottom of MDA claim, and are discovering that the MDA numbers don’t add up (even if their own math is a bit off…) is a pretty amazing thing.

      • Jake says:

        I can’t really disagree with anything you’ve said, except to point out that whether CNN is really on “our side” or not is really irrelevant from the standpoint of public appearances – the whole thing is getting painted by the other side as “gun nuts deny school shootings”, and they can point to specific “school shootings” that are being denied.