Media Bias Catalog -- Keep And Bear Arms .com
is thoroughly proven by many independent
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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
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
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
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
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
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
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.
(For other MEDIA BIAS websites, click
here or go to http://www.mrc.org/specialreports/news/sr20000105.html
networks are unwittingly adding fuel to the fire
The Washington Times ) Gene Mueller; 01-12-2000
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
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
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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