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Media Bias Catalog -- Keep And Bear Arms .com

The Media's Anti-gun Bias
is thoroughly proven by many independent groups of people:


The Media's Anti-gun Bias

By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist, 1/17/2000
(This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 1/17/2000.
Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.)
Original Article Posted Here.

The labels ''lobby'' and ''special interest group'' are rarely used by journalists to describe lobbies or special interest groups like the American Association of Retired Persons, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, or Handgun Control Inc. But when they refer to the National Rifle Association, ''lobby'' is frequently the first word that springs to mind.

That is one of many anomalies documented by Brian Patrick, a University of Michigan scholar who spent a year comparing the coverage of the NRA in several prestigious newspapers - The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor - with the coverage of the four other groups. He dissected some 1,500 published articles, columns, editorials, and letters, and his findings are striking.

The NRA, Patrick shows, is less likely than the others to be identified by its proper name but much more likely to be tagged with some variant of ''lobby'' or ''special interest.'' The ACLU will typically be labeled a ''civil liberties group,'' ''abortion rights group,'' or ''leading liberal champion.'' Handgun Control Inc. is usually identified as a ''citizens' lobby,'' ''nonprofit organization,'' or ''public interest group.'' The NAACP is referred to as a ''national civil rights group,'' ''venerable civil rights organization,'' or ''the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization.''

But when the NRA is in the news, the tone and terminology are often very different.

''Semi-automatic caucus.'' ''Lobbying juggernaut.'' ''Powerful gun lobby.'' ''Gun organization.'' ''Radical gun lobby.'' ''The classic Washington superlobby.'' ''Arrogant lobby.'' ''The gun lobby consisting of everything from neo-Nazis to nature-loving hunters.'' ''Most feared lobby.'' ''The Beltway's loudest lobby.'' ''A rich and paranoid organization.''

The use of negative or positive labels was only one of 16 different categories Patrick devised for measuring bias in newspaper coverage of the NRA. Many of his yardsticks are shrewd; all are revealing.

Example: More than 27 percent of stories about the liberal interest groups - the NAACP, AARP, ACLU, and Handgun Control - were accompanied by photographs of the groups' officials or events. Only 6 percent of the NRA stories were similarly dressed up.

Example: When NRA officials were quoted, they were identified by their proper titles less than 20 percent of the time. For Handgun Control, by contrast, the proportion was 64 percent; for the NAACP, 73 percent. Thus Sarah Brady is the ''Handgun Control president,'' while Wayne LaPierre becomes merely an ''NRA lobbyist'' (he is the group's executive vice president).

Example: When information comes from the AARP, the papers use verbs like ''reported,'' ''indicated,'' ''concludes,'' ''documents.'' When the NAACP is quoted, the stories note that it ''spoke out,'' ''vowed,'' ''declared,'' ''announced.'' But when the NRA speaks, the papers often choose verbs that imply doubt: ''claims,'' ''asserts,'' ''likes to portray,'' ''contended,'' ''alleging.''

Patrick sifts his data with the statistical rigor one would expect of a Michigan PhD. But his bottom line is unambiguous: ''These data support a conclusion of systematic marginalization of the NRA.''

And, he might have added, of guns and gun owners in general.

On no other issue is there a wider gulf between mainstream America and the media. There are more than 225 million civilian firearms in the United States. Some 45 percent of US households own at least one gun. To tens of millions of Americans, guns mean safety and peace of mind; they know intuitively what statistics prove: gun ownership reduces crime.

Yet in the nation's eminent newsrooms, it is axiomatic that guns are nasty, that more guns mean more crime, and that those who defend the Second Amendment are ''gun nuts.'' No wonder the NRA gets such bad press. And no wonder so many gun owners have abandoned newspapers as their chief source of information.

And then there's TV.

A detailed new study by the Media Research Center finds that in the 24 months ending June 1999, the morning and evening news shows on the major networks aired an astonishing 653 stories dealing with gun policy. Of those, 393 clearly went beyond straight reporting into advocacy - and nearly 91 percent pressed an anti-gun point of view.

For instance, ABC's ''Good Morning America'' aired 93 segments on gun policy; 92 had a progun control slant. CNN's nightly show, ''The World Today,'' broadcast 98 soundbites urging more gun restrictions, but only 40 opposing them.

The MRC study (read it at www.mrc.org) assembles a remarkable array of gun-bashing rhetoric from TV talking heads. Juan Williams on Fox: ''I don't understand why we're piddling around. We should talk about getting rid of guns in this country.'' Geraldo Rivera on CNBC: ''How much longer are we gonna be wrapping in the flag of patriotism to justify 250 million guns out there?'' Roger Rosenblatt on PBS: ''If you took away the guns, and I mean really take away the guns, not what Congress is doing now, you would see that violent society diminish considerably.''

This bigotry against guns is irrational. It convinces millions of Americans that the media cannot be trusted. Someday the networks may figure out that in a land where almost one household in two owns a gun, demonizing gun owners makes no sense. But by then, who will be tuned in?

Jeff Jacoby is a Globe columnist.

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 1/17/2000.

Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

(For other MEDIA BIAS websites, click here or go to http://www.mrc.org/specialreports/news/sr20000105.html )


Television networks are unwittingly adding fuel to the fire
( The Washington Times ) Gene Mueller; 01-12-2000

As a recreational hunter and target shooter, the charge that network news broadcasts have become the "communications division of the anti- gun lobby" isn't comforting. And yet a two-year Media Research Center study says it can document its claims.

The research center says network television evening news broadcasts and morning shows are busily spinning the gun debate in favor of gun control.

So why are we getting into the fray? The Second Amendment to the Constitution - the right to keep and bear arms - is misquoted and wrongly interpreted by people who should know better. This hunter is fed up with broadcasters and others who make idiotic statements such as, "We don't want to stop the legal use of
guns by hunters and target shooters," only to follow it up with the invariable, "but . . ."

Dear fiends and foes, the Constitution's Second Amendment doesn't say the right to shoot a duck shall not be abridged. No, it addresses all Americans who legally own a gun, not only target plinkers and hunters. In fact, the framers of the Constitution wisely figured that if enough citizens owned arms they could keep an eye on a potentially oppressive, intrusive federal government. They wanted us to be truly free.

When will the hair-sprayed, talking heads of TV understand that?

Meanwhile, Media Research Center chairman, Brent Bozell, says, "There is no way to look at these numbers and not conclude that network news broadcasts have become the communications division of the anti-gun lobby. The networks have clearly chosen sides in this debate which only serves to mislead and misinform the public they're supposed to serve."

MRC analysts examined 653 morning and evening news stories on ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 1999. The findings include:

* Stories advocating gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 357 to 36 - a nearly 10 to 1 ratio.

* On the evening news, 164 broadcasts pushed a strong anti-gun position, while only 20 had some type of reporting that took a pro-gun position.

* Morning shows favored the anti-gun position by a margin of 13 to 1. More than half of morning news gun policy segments (208) tilted away from giving a balanced view. Of those segments, 93 percent (193) pushed a liberal anti-gun position, while only six percent (15) promoted gun owner rights.

What a shame. Imagine someone being so ready to pounce on one portion of the Constitution while at the same time screaming bloody murder when the First Amendment, the right to free speech (which includes TV broadcasters), is assaulted?

Fairness doesn't seem to be the TV networks' strong suit. Just tune into the Rosie O'Donnell Show on NBC and listen how her bosses permit the hysterical woman to spout anti-gun messages almost on a daily basis.

New magazine for women hunters - Women no longer will have to settle for outdoor sport publications that appear to be geared strictly toward men. The National Wild Turkey Federation, headquartered in Edgefield, S.C., now offers "Women In The Outdoors," a 4-color, quarterly issue that delivers on topics such as shooting, fishing, nature crafts, outdoor cooking, photography, canoeing and camping.

To receive the new magazine, join the National Wild Turkey Federation's Women in the Outdoors program. Call 800/843-6983.

West Virginia stocks trout - The trout stocking season in West Virginia is well under way. Some 31,000 pounds of trout will be put into state waters during January, with many streams already completed. Buy a fishing license and trout stamp, then get up-to-date stocking information by calling 334/558-3399 or through the state's Web site, www.dnr.state.us.

Hunter numbers up and down - The sale of 1998 hunting licenses was up in half the states and down in 24 others, says the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The increase is good, considering that 32 states had lower license sales in 1997.

The 10 core hunting states in the U.S. were Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina - all of them showing license sales increases - while lower hunting permit sales were seen in the remaining five, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, Minnesota and Missouri. Pennsylvania still has the most hunters judging the 1,066,032 licenses that were sold, but it shows drop of two percent. Texas is next with 975,943 hunters, a 3.5 percent increase.

* Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday - only in The Washington Times. E-mail: muelle@twtmail.com

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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
We'll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily - given the political realities - very modest. We'll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal. Pete Shields, founder of Handgun Control, Inc., New Yorker Magazine, June 26, 1976, pg. 53

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