Scheuch told investigators he made more money selling firearms online than he did while working. https://t.co/eb1cEoF6jI
— Idaho Statesman (@IdahoStatesman) October 29, 2019
U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “After warning from ATF bureau, Boise man pleads guilty to selling firearms illegally,” the Idaho Statesman reported Friday. “William Richard Scheuch was arraigned on the charge in Boise on Tuesday.”
The story was illustrated with a photo of a man posing with a rifle. Several other rifles were on display racks on the wall behind him.
“Scheuch told investigators he made more money selling firearms online than he did while working,” the Statesman tweet promoting the story and using that photo proclaimed. The caption reiterated the guilty plea, the warning and the allegation of continued sales.
The problem? That’s not Scheuch in the photo. And readers not knowing better would assume it is.
“Idaho Second Amendment Alliance posted a video today calling out the Idaho Statesman for reusing the same picture of a Boise-based firearms manufacturer Primary Weapons Systems National Sales Manager Stacey Nagy showing one of their firearms,” Ryan Horsley, General Manager at Red’s Trading Post in Twin Falls advises (and there’s a whole ‘nother long story behind how I know Ryan).
“The picture originally was from a video discussing the difference between Modern Sporting Rifles and machineguns,” Horsley continued. “They have since used the same picture in two additional articles that were negative, one of in regards to an AR-15 not being allowed as a donation in a school fundraiser.
“Obviously with the Mr.Nagy’s picture above the article, it appears that it was him that was arrested and this is a very damaging implication to a law-abiding, heavily-regulated firearms manufacturer and their employee,” Horsley explained. “ISAA President Greg Pruett is calling for Idaho Statesman Editor to remove the pictures and print a retraction.”
That’s appropriate, and since this story was first brought to my attention, the article photo has been changed on the Statesman web page. But doing it quietly and hoping no one notices doesn't cut it. A full and prominent retraction and apology are still due.
How did it happen in the first place? We‘ve seen repeatedly that “journalists” aren’t particularly knowledgeable about the gun issues they presume to present themselves as subject matter experts on. Nor is a “profession” that is overwhelmingly Democrat particularly sensitive to gun owner concerns about fairness and accuracy. A good bet would be somebody in editorial heard “gun story” and the quick and easy solution was to grab the “gun picture” they’d used several times before without considering the context.
Maybe I’m giving them too much benefit of the doubt and somebody just wanted to stick it to gun people, but I’m going to go with laziness here. And that to me is just as inexcusable.
Such sloppiness can be damaging, particularly to anyone so misidentified, and especially since it’s well-documented how many readers scan headlines and form often-incorrect impressions without thoroughly reading articles. And a lot of people now have reason to believe a guy whose only “offense” was trying to explain the truth about guns is a <Gasp!> “gun criminal.”
“The paper’s circulation is 48,739 copies, making the Statesman the largest newspaper by circulation in the state of Idaho,” Ballotpedia notes. And while MondoTimes estimates the number closer to 38,952, that’s still a lot of eyeballs. Add to that over 78,000 Twitter followers and almost 73,000 Facebook followers, and all kinds of possibilities for unpleasant meatspace encounters could arise.
“Here is the video we did on Facebook regarding the Idaho Statesman issue,” Pruett replied to Horsley in our email conversation. “I spoke with the CEO of Primary Weapons Systems. He was also going to reach out to them…”
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.