U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- A new Rasmussen survey revealed how 62 percent of likely voters “think the problem of bias in the news media is getting worse,” and also noted 52 percent of voters “don’t trust the political news they’re getting, compared to 32% who do.”
According to the Rasmussen survey, “More Republicans (76%) than Democrats (54%) or unaffiliated voters (54%) consider ‘fake news’ a Very Serious problem in the media.” Those “unaffiliated” voters often identify as “Independents.”
Perhaps nowhere is the belief of media bias more acute than when it comes to reporting about firearms and crime, and there may be no better recent example than an Associated Press report about an actual survey on gun control in which the term “gun violence” was used 11 times over the course of 1,130 words, sometimes appearing twice in the same paragraph. There was also a reference to “gun killings”—as though firearms were actually pulling their own triggers—and a reference to Joe Biden’s gun control legislation passed earlier this summer, describing it as a “gun safety” measure.
Yet, when a homicide involves the use of a different tool, perhaps a knife or blunt instrument, the press does not report that as “knife violence” or “hammer violence,” instead more accurately reporting a victim was “fatally stabbed” or “bludgeoned.”
References to “gun violence” from Anti-Second Amendment activists purposely demonize firearms and shift blame away from the perpetrators of violent crimes. The term creates the impression such crimes are the gun’s fault, not the person pressing the trigger.
There was only a single use of the term “gun control” in the AP article, and a notation about the gun rights victory handed down by the Supreme Court in late June stating, “a conservative majority on the Supreme Court expanded gun rights, finding a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.”
Gun rights advocates contend the high court didn’t “expand” anything but simply restored the right to bear arms without having to show “good cause” in order to exercise that right. The court also didn’t “find” any constitutional right but did find the “good cause” requirement to be unconstitutional.
Perhaps nothing more clearly underscored the problem than the reaction in mid-July to published reports, including one here at Ammoland News, about a revision in the newest Associated Press Style Book, considered the guide to journalists around the world, addressing how published reports should refer to semi-auto rifles.
“The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle. An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted.
“Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon,” the AP explains, “which are highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon.”
At the time this revision was being debated, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms observed, “It will be interesting to see if the media now challenges politicians and anti-gun lobbyists whenever they use such terms.”
So far, it doesn’t appear the press is making any such effort, instead just allowing politicians and anti-gun lobbyists to continue using such phrases and quoting them obediently.
However, there was one hint of progress in a story appearing in The Hill about the announcement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that it is “going after so-called ‘ghost guns.’” The term “ghost guns” appears to be an invention from the gun prohibition lobby designed to demonize privately-built firearms, which is a tradition dating back centuries.
Additionally, Rasmussen notes “majorities of both Republicans (67%) and unaffiliated voters (59%) don’t trust the political news they’re getting.” On the other hand—and not surprisingly—55 percent of Democrats “trust the political news they’re getting.”
Breaking things down even farther along political lines, 76 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Independents “believe the problem of bias in the news media is getting worse,” while only 44 percent of Democrats think so.
It isn’t just the appearance of bias in published reports, but in the reluctance to publish or do stories based on news releases from gun rights advocacy groups. Many newspapers also years ago stopped accepting classified advertising about firearms.
Coincidental to this report, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Activity posted an article online noting, “Gun control advocates have renewed a longstanding plan to have the Federal Trade Commission (which regulates commercial speech) punish firearms manufacturers for how they advertise firearms. A petition filed with the FTC by several large firearm prohibition organizations claims that any suggestion firearms provide protection to their owners or make their homes safer is tantamount to false advertising. The petition also suggests that the use of patriotic, militaristic, or macho images and languages in firearm advertising – the same themes used to sell everything from beer to vehicles to sunglasses – is deliberately being used to appeal to insurrectionists and mass shooters.”
While the battle may have been about the Second Amendment, it is now shifting to the First Amendment, with the establishment media pushing a particular narrative rather than simply reporting the news and allowing the readers and listeners to decide and reach their own conclusions.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.