A wise man once said: There are lies, damn lies, and mainstream American journalism.
If you’ve ever wondered how otherwise relatively intelligent people can get caught up in a wave of anti-gun hysteria, look no further than the magnificent failure that is modern mainstream media. Most Americans are busy people; we have jobs, families, hobbies, and friends, and we just don’t have the time to deeply research every single issue at stake. For most of us, that means that we’re relying on the media to give us the information we need to make decisions at the ballot box…and, sadly, the hoplophobes in the MSM are taking full advantage of that. There’s just one tiny, itsy-bitsy little problem with their disinformation campaign: They’re really terrible at it. Here are two of the biggest mainstream-media fails we’ve seen (recently).
1) Schrodinger’s NICS Checks
Let’s start with a very simple example: NICS checks. The year 2019 showed a record number of these “background checks” that go through the FBI’s NICS system. When I say “simple” I mean that there’s a concrete number that we can point to and compare to all the other numbers going back to 1998. If you’re a mainstream media journalist, however, that number either means that either a) “All those horrible MAGA-hat wearers are getting ready to do something horrible with all those guns!!!11!!eleventy!” OR b) “The firearms industry as a whole is in a terrible slump and on its way towards the ash-heap of history!!11!!eleventy!1” Which is it? Well, that depends on whether that journalist’s editor wants to fearmonger or repress the vote. What it doesn’t depend on, however, is the actual writer. Compare these two articles:
and this one…
Those two articles were written about a month apart…and would you look at that, they were written by the same person.
Now, it’s actually absolutely possible for NICS checks to be up while sales are down; as you probably already know, that NICS check represents a gun transfer, and not necessarily a sale. Furthermore, the industry has been working hard to bring more affordable guns to market, so you can certainly see more guns being sold while the manufacturer makes not as much profit. But don’t waste your time looking for a rational answer; what is most likely to have happened here is that the journalist first wrote for an outlet that wanted to scare anti-gunners to the ballot box, and secondly for an outlet that wanted to scare pro-Second Amendment voters away from it.
2) B-b-b-but David Hogg Wouldn’t Lie to Us!
Ever since the terrible tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High, the photogenic (but not terribly well-informed) David Hogg has been the absolute darling of the anti-gunners. Oh, never mind the fact that he doesn’t seem to understand that Canadians can’t vote in American elections. Never mind the fact that, like all anti-gunners, Hogg has no problem retaining armed security staff while he’s busy trying to take those arms away from regular citizens. The media had already anointed him the new anti-gun icon by the time they realized that he wasn’t entirely…stable…so they’re kind of stuck with him. So when he goes on his social media and posts this:
…well, his lackeys in the mainstream media have their marching orders, don’t they? Time to head down to Wal-Mart and prove to the world that buying a firearm is easier and faster than buying ephedrine-based cold medicine. (Or shoes, according to the rest of the Hogg pack in that Twitter thread.)
There’s just one problem with that, and that is that it’s not true. So when one intrepid journalist set out to “prove” Hogg’s statement, she was shocked to learn what American gun owners already knew: Wal-Mart is not a great place to buy guns, because their selection kind of sucks and they don’t tend to have particularly knowledgeable sales people. Plus, the NICS check has to be done regardless of what kind of gun you buy, and no, it’s not okay for your address on the Form 4473 to not match the one on your government-issued ID. Throughout her experience, she was held up by oodles of red tape and a company policy that seems to actively discourage people from buying guns at Wal-Mart.
Although the writer seemed to have fully absorbed the lesson that the “conventional wisdom” is wrong and that Hogg is as full of it as the barnyard critters he’s named for, the article just sort of…tapers off at the end. There’s no conclusion, which is rather unusual for investigative journalism of this type. I don’t know this writer or her editor, so I certainly can’t prove this, but I have a pretty well-educated guess as to why. After all, it’s bad enough to have to admit that the “conventional wisdom” is Hoggsh*t. It would be doubleplusungood to draw the conclusion that maybe lots of other things the MSM believes about guns and gun owners aren’t true either.
What’s your favorite mainstream media FAIL? Tell us in the comments!