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L. Brent Bozell
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Doubling Down on Anti-Gun News


Doubling Down on Anti-Gun News

Everyone can imagine the horror of a madman shooting up an elementary school, especially the horror of losing your six-year-old in the melee. But at some point, the news media's wallowing in Newtown reminds one of Don Henley's satirical song "Dirty Laundry," and how the anchors' eyes gleam through plane-crash news because "it's interesting when people die; we love dirty laundry."

The "O" word that defines the media at times like these isn't "objective." It's "opportunistic."

To be sure, the "news" manufacturers aren't hoping for a school shooting. But that doesn't mean they aren't ready to exploit it. Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen was explicit back in 1999: ""Perhaps it will take one more school shooting to move the majority of Americans into a position more powerful than that of the NRA. Perhaps it will take one more school shooting to move us from people who support gun control to people who vote it."

A new Media Research Center study reviewed a sample of 216 gun-policy stories on ABC, CBS and NBC in the first month after Newtown, from the Dec. 14 shooting through the morning after President Obama's Feb. 16 speech pushing new gun control proposals. The number is instructive. That's not 216 stories in a month on Newtown. That's 216 stories just about the policy "solution" — more gun control.

There are zero stories tilting toward a "solution" of curbing violence in TV and movies. That's because the TV networks show violent scenes nightly and are owned by companies with movie studios that profit from violent scenes. Try finding the word "violence" next to "movies" or "television" in a post-Newtown story on the TV networks where it isn't a casual afterthought.

The First Amendment is treated as sacred; the Second Amendment as profane.

As one might suspect, stories advocating more gun control dominated. But "outnumbered" is an understatement. They smothered stories tilting against gun control by 99 to 12, or more than 8 to 1.

It's easy to arrive at that results when anti-gun sound bites were aired almost twice as frequently as gun rights sound bites (228 to 134). When the Big Three network "news" operations sought out guests for interviews, the tilt was 26 to 7.

CBS won the month for being the most shamelessly tilted, with 44 anti-gun stories to just two with a gun-rights emphasis and 37 in the neutral zone. NBC was "best" with a slant of 26 to 5, and 43 neutral stories. Let's hope none of these people would assert that they're "fair and balanced" when absolutely everyone can smell the strong liberal coffee they're making.

No one at the networks waited to begin the campaign advertising disguised as "news." On the first night after the Newtown shooting, just hours after the grisly story broke, "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley was already pushing: "One wonders if the nature of this crime and the age of the victims might create the debate in Washington that could push legislation along?"

Over on NBC that night, reporter Tom Costello connected liberal dots: "In Colorado, still haunted by the Aurora and Columbine massacres, the governor of that western pro-gun state also said it's time to begin a discussion about sensible gun control. ... Tonight, with dozens dead, including so many children, the debate over guns is back."

The bias here is just loaded with urgency, because every politicized "news" advocate knows that the policy debate on guns operates on emotion, and not on facts. The facts might be the same in the first 10 days as they are three months later, but liberal journalists feel like they're going to lose the debate to the NRA's army of members in fly-over country as soon as the emotion subsides.

That's why the Senate launched an emotional gun control hearing on Jan. 30 starring former Democrat Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, a famous and tragic victim of a madman shooting. Even that Gabby story was a rerun, since the networks also promoted her saying "Enough" to the NRA on Jan. 7 on the anniversary of the Tucson shooting.

Six days before the hearing, a Senate staffer told Broadcasting and Cable magazine that the hearing would not be confined to gun control issues and could include mental health and media violence issues: "I think everything is going to come up." But while the witness panel was balanced, there was no panel of Hollywood executives to face tough questions, the way that Senators love lining up tobacco or oil-company CEOs.

After Newtown, the networks again demonstrated that there's no story on which they can't dramatically stack the deck. Liberal news stories lead to liberal legislation. They know it; and relish it.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



3 Comments | Post Comment
This is exactly the kind of article that will get you called all kinds of things from the American left. )After all, when facts get in the way, ignore them and bash.) Oh, wait... what's that? You don't care what they call you or others who state facts and expose them for who they are..... Good. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Truth never fails
Fri Feb 8, 2013 11:27 AM
Sir;... In this article you are not Objective... The words that describe you best all start with C, as in Callous, and cankor, cavalier, changling, cancerous, chancre, just to name a few...
I own guns and have hunted and killed deer... Even the death of this beautiful beast to feed the beast in me was too much of a tragedy to witness, even as the one responsible... Why should I make my stomach a grave yard for animals... And then I read you making small talk, and one would presume large money demeaning the deaths of mere children, and the compounded suffering that fact must ever cause...Why not admit that even people used to reporting on terrible tragedies might genuinely be moved to sadness and shock...
The demands of the gun safety people are not so extreme that they should not be considered...The rights of the gun nuts are not so paramount that they cannot bear limits...You see that this group of people encouraged into outright paranoia about their government and fellow citizens are the very ones whose votes have refused public health funding...
No one in government has enough of funds to deal with crazy people; not public health, metal health, police, or schools... The same people who support gun rights and fear their government are helping to create as situation where courts and cops do not work, and there is no fall back solution to the all too common insanity we see everywhere in nearly every community...The right does not offer anything in the way of solutions... They just malign those who do see the problem, do react with pain and panic, and do seek solutions...
Sir... I have pissed away my life for a paycheck, and that paycheck bought for pennies the daily risk of my life... When I look at some cast outrage like the Hollocaust, or the first or second world wars taken together, I am not so inclined to take offense at the death as at the denigration of human life... It is one thing to take a life, and an easy deed to die... We all pay with our lives for our lives, so what does it really matter if one lives a moment or many years...The most terrible thing one can do to another is to make their lives so miserable that they wish their lives away; and this is becoming common... Look at how many soldiers and veterans are breaking up and ending it all... All these mass murders are murder suicides unless the shooter loses his nerve, and can't face what he deals out... But if the loss of a child is not terrible enough for a pain that goes on and on with consequences no one knows at the time; consider the loss of a child to violence that could have been prevented or limited -which people cannot find the moral strength to do...This is the birthday of some lost child loved as no flower in the sweetness of bloom has ever been loved, loved as you can never love your money, invested with labor and anticipation -that is snatched from life by monsterous inhuman forces caring not what people dream or care for...
Think not that those parents will not sometimes wish themselves dead so they can be free of their grief, and visit nothing forever, or join their loved children in heaven... And this is the crime of crimes, that we have but one life and should ever by the actions of others wish our lives over; and it is too common...People have their live robbed of meaning that they must trade them for crumbs, and for worries about tomorrow... They work and have no time, or have time and no money... They wish for quiting time, for the weekend, for vacation, for retirement, and finally they wish for death because they are made so miserable in the commerce and trade of their lives for the stuff of life at a terrible discount...
I have been caught in that trade, and there were many times only the force of will could keep me from being robbed of my moments... I was conscious of my life... I lived that pain, that cold, that heat, that thirst, that fatigue, that ache, that misery that my paycheck depended on; and I knew at every moment of it that there was some one like you content to consider my life as having no more meaning that the pennies that bought my time...We are more than that... Those children were not meat before some fool with your help made them so... Those were living spiritual beings with desires and dreams all wrapped up in the desires and dreams of others, and for you to make light, and worse, money out of the tragedy of their passing is more than a crime; it is a sin... Shame on you...
Comment: #2
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Feb 9, 2013 12:18 PM
Sir;... The more I think of what you write they more I come to believe you think democrats and liberal minded persons generally are but marionettes dancing on the end of so many media strings...It is true that what differentiates the left from the right in this land is the right's preoccupation with ideas, and theories, abstractions, and principals; while the left is capable of feeling, sensitivity, awarness, and connection... Republicans have the stuff of forms, and think formally... Democrats have the essentials of relationships within themselves, in their ability to relate...
What you do not get for the ability you clearly do not have, is the absolute horror of mass killing...You would be closer to stalin, saying the deaths of ten thousand is a statistic... We can almost always grasp some part of death when it is the death of a pet, or a loved one, a parent or a child... The enormity of it slowly sinks in as we are reminded of our own mortality and the slender thread that holds spirit to matter...But after a point we become inured to it, numb, and accepting... No one can grasp the deaths of great numbers except as statistic... We do not double our sense of loss or grief as the dead increase... Most people can only bear so much unless like you, they are dead to it, so numb and incapable of human connection as to feel nothing...
People love their children, strange as it may seem... They often seem to resent their children for their imposition, for their outright tyranny at times, for their many rank offenses...They often invest their children with a great hope for the future, the fulfillment of their own lives and dreams when naturally the child has his own future and dreams...If they are really dense, they think they can mould the personality of the child when if they knew better and may learn, their personality is the only thing that comes complete with a child... If you think back after a while, you realize they always were who they are... But when they are gone, and only then do you begin to grasp what you have lost, what a pelasure it was to know them, how fine and forgiving they are, so quick of eye and sharp of sight, how the newness of life to them can make life new, and give us life twice...

All the joe fridays of journalism with just the facts will never give what people usually get from the news... Sure we like the spectacle...There was an accident and cruel fate twisted a human body beyond recognition, and recollection bring alive the ancient gods of Wish and Luck in mind... It is sometimes possible to feel alive, to really be aware of our sensual existence in the presence of its antipod, so we can pat ourselves all over and say: And only I survived to tell you...
But this is not life... So many die without ever having lived... People live lives defered, put off, denied for another time because if they were ever to admit they feel as they feel they might have to act, perhaps lose their jobs, perhaps even lose the lost lives they call their lives... Society demands that we endure some injustice, some elbows and knees, bumps and bruising... People endure this, or add to it and endure it too... But the willingness of people for the sake of morality which is society to endure injustice is used to exploit them mercilessly, and take all meaning from their lives to convert it into cash... It is for that reason that so many people are forced to live though their children, and in their hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow...
If you remember seeing the movie Apocalypse Now, America's great salute to Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the final word of the dying antagonist Kurts were: The Horror... Isn't that what war is all about: Inflicting as much horror, and enduring enough horror to earn the fear, if not respect of the other side??? The horror of it all is so much an abstraction to the normally numb fashion which we live, like zombies, marching to work and marching home again and again, and again through our lives of quiet desparation...
The power of horror to move the emotions of even the most hardened news person is what you are seeing in relation to Sandy Hook Elementary... Some people can still feel it, all those children with their smiles and dreams tied on them like a bow, snatched out of life by some cruel madness, and turned to twisted, deformed, dead matter... The horror... And what does that horror mean to you???
It is so inevitable that where life and labor are demeaned, where people must sell their lives so cheaply as the only way to have a life to sell, that eventually that class that acts upon them must consider their lives as nothing... They pack up human beings and send them to war, like they were nothing, to kill other human beings who are like nothing, and they do this because they are of the sort to see all as an abstraction, to not know anything with their sight or senses... Horace, who died eight years before Christ was born said: We are all statistics born to consume resources... Even in his day the thought was common that all people could be reduced to so many numbers, mere abstractions considered apart from the moral form of life within them...

To stand against you, and that class you represent is my honor... I am here to tell you that the lives of those children has meaning, and not just to their parents, their kin, and their close circle of friends...Those deaths which you wish to make possible are so much like the lives your entire class wish to make impossible for your greater profit...It is not enough to say that it is unfair, unkind, or uncivil... What you support is entirely inhuman...The kindness of humanity to its insane is as essential to our honor and self respect as our protection and love of our children; but with the abstract view of humanity, by the equasion of all life with money, these cost too much...
I am not demanding that my government do anything in the expectation that they will do too much, and yet they should do something, and I will not abuse anyone for being struck by the horror of it all... We kill ourselves and each other and our environment out of a vast denial of humanity, and with a denial of emotions...It is not my problem that people cannot face their fears or endure their hate without gun in hand... I have a hard time countenancing anyone who entertains the idea of actually killing a human being for mere chattels...When a human problem, the division of resources, or justice, or any of the infinite moral forms is under consideration, you can toss your abstractions in the toilet... A solution is going to cost some money...If you are going to balance money against the weight of a human life, the weight of money will always be greater, so why bother???

Just because we are forced as the price of our animal survival to trade our entire lives for money does not mean they are worth only money to us; but that is the problem behind the problem we must inevitably confront...The horror you dismiss with one demeaning line is the very fact of our lives we must admit and address, because it lies at the end of the ideation, and abstraction of humanity at the heart of our economy...We are not numbers...
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:08 AM
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