What the media thinks of you

Flawed groupthink affects media coverage of the gun community

Imagine if a lawmaker introduced an unconstitutional anti-gun bill and the media told the truth.

Imagine if reporters actually did their job, and held the lawmaker accountable.

Imagine if they described the bill as a violation of our constitutional rights, an assault on personal liberties and individual freedoms, and not what the Framers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.

Imagine if there were editorials calling out the lawmaker for his unconstitutional views, questioning his ethics and demanding he or she resign.

The media is supposed to be the watchdog of our elected officials. They’re supposed to ask questions and hold them accountable. However, when it comes to anything having to do with guns, the media has completely abrogated their responsibilities.

The sad part is they don’t care.

The media controls the narrative. They can correct bad behavior. They can force change if they want.

Unfortunately, this will never happen, because almost all journalists are incredibly — almost violently — anti-gun.

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The problem

I spent more than two decades as a card carrying member of the mainstream media — most of it as an investigative reporter. The last few years as a newspaper editor.

I also maintained a pro-gun website which, ultimately, led to my demise.

When it comes to guns, the normal journalistic ethics and rules don’t apply. Actions that would usually result in a journalist’s immediate termination — biased coverage, editorializing or even outright lies and fabrications — are all forgiven if the story is anti-gun.

During my 20 years — in five different newsrooms — I only met three other journalists who owned a gun. Only one of these was what I would consider a true “gun owner.”

All three of them were still in the closet about their firearms, because they were afraid of what their colleagues would say, and what their bosses would do.

Unlike me, they didn’t want to challenge the rest of their colleagues’ views of guns and gun owners. They didn’t want to question longstanding — albeit flawed — conventional wisdom about the gun community.

What the media thinks

This is the type of groupthink I endured for more than 20 years:

  • All gun owners are referred to as “gun nuts,” and all are rubes, hicks and hillbillies.

  • Guns are evil. All guns should be banned. No one needs a gun.

  • All pro-gun lawmakers are crazy. You can vilify them at will. Anything goes.

  • All anti-gun lawmakers are heroes. They should be praised and protected from scorn.

  • All anti-gun legislation — even if its unworkable, such as micro-stamping or “smart gun” technology — is necessary and should be supported.

  • All pro-gun legislation is crazy. It should be ridiculed using outright lies and extreme examples.

  • The NRA and other pro-gun groups are obstructing the goal of complete civilian disarmament. They should be ridiculed and vilified. No mention should ever be made of their training, hunter education and gun safety programs — especially Eddie Eagle.

  • Concealed carry — especially Constitutional Carry — should be criticized at every given opportunity, as should those who carry firearms.

  • If a concealed carrier uses their defensive firearm to save a life, it should not be reported unless they’re sued or charged with a crime.

  • Anyone who challenges this accepted conventional wisdom — even another journalist — is the enemy.

Proof

Once it became known that there was a reporter in Sarasota who owned guns and celebrated the gun community, the gloves came off.

The Poynter Institute — a self-described think tank for journalists — wrote this hit piece: In Sarasota, a pro-gun columnist is also a top editor at the paper.

I had violated the unwritten code and had to be taken down.

Throughout the ensuing tsunami, I had complete support from my editor, who’s still one of my best friends.

He left the paper last week too, on the same day I did.

In the meantime, the media’s unhealthy obsession and extremely flawed views of guns and gun owners shows no signs of abating. If anything, it’s getting worse.

The best thing you can do as news consumers is to change the channel.

As always, thanks for your time.

Lee