U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Buried near the end of a 916-word Op-ed for Fox News discussing the recent walkout of students and parents at a vigil-turned-gun-control-event, writer and best-selling author Frank Miniter drives a rhetorical wooden stake deep into the heart of the media’s bias against guns and people who own them.
“Political differences aside,” Miniter proffers, “imagine if the media actually treated gun rights groups honestly.”
Indeed. Imagine that.
For decades, gun owners and especially Second Amendment activists have complained about media bias. Editorials demanding increasingly restrictive gun control laws are one thing, but when – as many rights activists have asserted – bias finds its way into news columns, that’s a problem.
Miniter, who admits to writing a weekly gun-rights column for the NRA, reported on the walkout at the evening vigil for students who were shot by two of their own classmates at Colorado’s STEM School Highlands Ranch. Students and their parents were appalled and angered when visiting politicians tried to exploit the event to push a gun control agenda.
The event was admittedly sponsored by a Brady Campaign youth group called “Team Enough.” But, as Miniter painfully pointed out, “The very public scene of hundreds of Colorado students and their parents walking out of a vigil that was turned into a political theater by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was so embarrassing that the gun control group actually issued an apology.”
In a statement, the Brady Campaign said, “We are deeply sorry any part of this vigil did not provide the support, caring and sense of community we sought to foster and facilitate and which we know is so crucial to communities who suffer the trauma of gun violence.”
But Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, wasn’t buying it. In a prepared statement, Gottlieb chastised the gun prohibition lobbying group, suggesting that Brady owes an apology not just to the students and parents, but to every law-abiding gun owner in America.
“The Brady Campaign was well aware that an anti-gun politician would turn such a somber event into a gun control rally,” he said. “Instead, students and their parents were rightly offended and they responded appropriately by walking out.
“The Brady Campaign and the politicians who tried to exploit this tragedy should be ashamed,” he added.
But what about the media? Should they be ashamed as well?
By incorporating volatile terms including “gun violence” and “high-powered assault weapons” into their reporting, are the media telling a story or selling a particular viewpoint?
When some deranged individual stabs people, why isn’t that reported as “knife violence?” Does anyone in a typical newsroom know that common deer hunting rifles use ammunition that is far more powerful than ammunition used in a typical 5.56mm NATO semi-auto modern sporting rifle?
When was the last time a newspaper or broadcast report identified the National Rifle Association, which has tens of thousands of certified volunteer firearms safety instructors in its ranks, as a “gun safety group?” That designation is typically used in reference to gun control organizations such as the Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety or Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense in America.
When was the last time a “mainstream” news agency challenged a statement from an anti-gun politician or gun prohibition lobbying group about the failure of laws they have previously pushed when they haven’t prevented violent crimes? When, after a tragedy like the Colorado school shooting, anti-gunners call for background checks, why doesn’t some enterprising reporter or editorial writer ask, “Well, they used a stolen gun. How would a background check have prevented that?” Or, “This suspect had no criminal record, so he passed a background check. How would your proposal have prevented this tragedy?”
Miniter makes some uncomfortable points in his essay, including this one: “The National Rifle Association…has the School Shield program that sends teams of experts to schools to help them create safer environments…The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for firearms manufacturers, has lobbied for FixNICS and many other initiatives to keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited from owning them.
“Instead of demonizing these groups,” Miniter contends, “imagine if the mainstream media were willing to be more factual and nuanced in their reporting. Solutions would become much clearer in such a climate.”
Miniter once profiled this writer in a 2017 piece for Forbes, in which he criticized the Washington Post for not having even one “politically incorrect, gun-owning nonconformist in their newsroom. They once had Stephen Hunter on staff, but he is a rare thing indeed.”
While the NRA leadership currently appears to have its share of troubles, it is one of those “rare things” for NRA-sponsored firearms safety programs to enjoy any publicity.
Miniter is not the only notable to blister media bias. Researcher John Lott has done the same, such as in this piece he wrote last year for the Washington Times.
While it may be difficult to imagine gun rights groups ever getting a completely fair shake, especially on editorial pages, Miniter does offer some hope.
“The students who boldly walked out en masse as they chanted ‘mental health, mental health’ from what shouldn’t have been a political event did shock the mainstream media into actually reporting on the story,” he noted about the Colorado flap. “That’s a big step toward finding honest solutions to a horrifying problem.”
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