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Thread: A Reporter Explains Why Gun Coverage Is So Biased

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    Default A Reporter Explains Why Gun Coverage Is So Biased

    Posted on April 6, 2013 by John Hinderaker in gun control, Second Amendment
    A Reporter Explains Why Gun Coverage Is So Biased

    Well, not intentionally. But Jim Ragsdale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune attended a conference in Chicago on covering gun issues, which he describes this way:

    “Covering Guns” brought reporters with front-line experience covering mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; Newtown, Conn., and Red Lake, Minn., to meet with gun experts and advocates and gun trainers. Sponsored by the Poynter journalism center and funded by the McCormick Foundation of Chicago, we gathered in a city that witnessed 506 homicides last year.

    The idea, I take it, was to educate reporters so they could do a better job of covering news stories about firearms:

    A team led by Don Haworth, a Chicago private investigator and firearms trainer, explained the components of a round, the various sizes of ammunition magazines, even the spiral etching inside the barrel that spins the bullet for accuracy and leaves a ballistic fingerprint.

    If the reporters who attended the event came away knowing what a magazine is, they are ahead of the game. But Ragsdale’s account shows what an uphill battle it is to educate reporters. He is endearingly candid in describing the trepidation with which he approached the firing range:


    Then someone handed me a Glock.

    There suddenly was only one overriding truth and it was exploding in my hands, like a tiny cannon. I held on as my kindly gun-range instructor urged me to breathe deeply and squeeze gently.

    “Good, good,” he kept saying, but I felt like I was holding on for dear life. …

    But I felt no sense of “gun control” — not much better than the member of our party who screamed and dropped the weapon on a table after it fired.

    What a wonderful image! A reporter who covers news stories involving firearms actually fires a gun, presumably for the first time in his or her life, and responds by screaming and dropping the pistol. Priceless!

    But the real problem isn’t that reporters are wimpy, it is that they let their biases interfere with accurately reporting the facts. Ragsdale comes across as a reasonably well-intentioned guy, but he is myopically unable to connect dots. He posits a tight relationship between gun rights and homicide rates. Ragsdale refers to “a Chicago Crime Lab bar chart of victims, in which the column for young African-American males spikes as tall as what they used to call the Sears Tower.” He continues:

    But no one disputed the fact that some of our 270 million guns inevitably leak into Chicago and north Minneapolis and also into the hands of people who are the emotional opposite of Haworth and our coolheaded trainers. The Chicago Crime Lab’s numbers show that U.S. residents are no more crime-prone on non-gun measures than, say, Londoners. We lead the world in gun ownership, and England has few firearms in private hands. It’s difficult to get shot in the U.K.

    But it’s easy to get stabbed.

    I left Chicago wondering whether there is any middle ground — if we can have our Glocks and our ranges and our permits to carry without that Sears Tower of tragedy.

    The key datum for Ragsdale is “the unavoidable fact that the U.S. homicide rate towers over those of other developed nations.” That, he thinks, confirms the ineluctable connection between gun rights and homicide. But he is wrong: as I wrote here, there is no correlation between legal gun ownership and murder rate. The homicide rate in the U.S. is around average. Russia’s homicide rate is four times ours; rates in Africa average around five times ours; the rate in Brazil is five times ours; Mexico, which has stringent gun control laws, has double our homicide rate; murder rates in the Caribbean approximate those in Africa. It is true that Western European countries in general have lower rates than we do, but that is mostly because African-Americans commit murders at eight times the rate of whites. The murder rate in Norway is very low, but it is indistinguishable from the rate among Norwegian-Americans. It is also noteworthy that the homicide rate in the U.S. today is only one-half what it was in the early 1990s. That decline, which has occurred during a time when gun laws have generally been liberalized, is never addressed by gun control advocates.

    Ragsdale was correct to focus on the fact that murder in the United States occurs largely among young African-American males. That is where the problem lies, and where solutions, if there are any, must be found. But gun laws are irrelevant. Whether viewed internationally or from state to state, there is no correlation between firearms laws and murder rates. As has been pointed out many times, Chicago, with its sky-high homicide rate, has draconian gun control laws, and Illinois was the only state in the union with a blanket prohibition on concealed carry, until the courts ruled that law unconstitutional.

    It is a good thing when reporters confront their fears and work up the courage to fire a gun. But it will be better when they confront their prejudices and have the courage to put their biases aside, and report the facts.

    Link: A Reporter Explains Why Gun Coverage Is So Biased | Power Line
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    That was a very interesting read. thank you.

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    Yup. Good read. Thanks!
    Loves to hunt, fish and spend time with his kids.
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    Thanks for sharing. Goes to prove that journalists are people to who view the world through their own lens so to speak. Every thoughtful human being does this. I catch myself doing it as well. Whether we're reporting on guns or formulating policy on any of the assorted issues of the day we need to approach it objectively with unbiased data. Only then can worthwhile policy be made.

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    Guns don't kill people, young black men kill people. That should go over well.
    jmac00, cor_man257 and capitalcrew like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayKnobs View Post
    Guns don't kill people, young black men kill people. That should go over well.
    Exactly what I was thinking. Guns don't kill people, but lets not blame race either folks. You can be a bad guy and white. Its "ghettos" and poverty that do this stuff. Not color. Young black men are most prevalent in ghettos (or so I believe) hence, most of them are committing the crimes. But if white guys were the most prevalent in those places it would be us doing most of it.

    The overall problem is really parenting anyway.
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    I agree cor man it's not a black problem per say its a large city poverty problem. You could be black, white or poka dot your a product of your environment. Like you said the break down of the family is largely to blame. The only father figures they have are gang leaders and their favorite rappers that tell them its ok to sell crack and shoot someone cause they looked at you the wrong way. And our current welfare state perpetuates this scenario and the moment you try to address this you get labeled a racist. We need a way to get people to see the real problem and remove race because I don't believe it's a black only problem but its certainly not the gun's fault

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    Quote Originally Posted by cor_man257 View Post
    The overall problem is really parenting anyway.
    It is a LOT deeper then just parenting.

    As for the OP, enlightening read and thank you for posting

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    Glad to read something positive

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    As a career-long (now retired) public affairs (read: lobbying, media relations guy) I'm glad to see this piece. My main point of appreciation is that we must recognize that the media--yeah, those wimps who have never been in the military, never even in the Scouts, are translating and broadcasting info about our sport/passion to the masses--and that includes the clueless demagogues we elect. Until we reach them--for better or worse-- we are losing the battle.

    Here's a link to a posting I made earlier; the responses highlight my point perfectly:
    WaPo Columnist on NRA Thug Appearance at Nat Press Club
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    Quote Originally Posted by cor_man257 View Post
    Exactly what I was thinking. Guns don't kill people, but lets not blame race either folks. You can be a bad guy and white. Its "ghettos" and poverty that do this stuff. Not color. Young black men are most prevalent in ghettos (or so I believe) hence, most of them are committing the crimes. But if white guys were the most prevalent in those places it would be us doing most of it.

    The overall problem is really parenting anyway.
    Out of morbid curiosity, where do the members of this board stand on access to contraception / abortion? I'm guessing the majority of the members of this website are registered Republican.
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    Bull Sh*T Excuse: "But the real problem isn’t that reporters are wimpy, it is that they let their biases interfere with accurately reporting the facts"


    I guess they don't teach Ethics, Moral Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interests in journalism school.

    Reporters report with full knowledge of what they report and how they report it, and they know exactly what words they use and why they use those words to present their information.

    They are too smart to allow their biases to interfere with reporting a story, instead they consciously embrace their biases around them, and their bosses expect them to go along with the Liberal Agenda or else.

    Honest, Ethical Hardcore Investigative Reporting are long gone.

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    They are conditioned by both academia and the popular media, that it is uncool to tolerate guns or those associated with, or identifying with guns. It is reinforced by their social networks. I was raised in an environment, both at home and at school, that guns are a tool for sporting purposes, protection, and historically, they gave us our country. I was taught to admire the workmanship, the great memories they bring, and the power that you must responsibly control. You were considered on your way to manhood when you could be trusted to go out hunting or shooting on your own. A right of passage. The narrative presented to them was different.
    OCULUS likes this.
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    " than the member of our party who screamed and dropped the weapon on a table after it fired."

    LOL What a scene that forms in my mind...
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    This week on ‘NYN’: Jimmy’s got a gun

    A good start--from the Albany Times Union.
    Ray
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    Quote Originally Posted by X340 View Post
    " than the member of our party who screamed and dropped the weapon on a table after it fired."

    LOL What a scene that forms in my mind...
    It may have been her first orgasm: PJ Media » A Short History of Guns and Sexual Inadequacy
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    You can probably correlate the dropping of the firearm when firing it, to someone who has probably never swung a (real) hammer and drove in a nail. I'm gonna go with wimpy here. There's also a relationship between people being able to fix things on their own, and being able to handle a firearm. Hands being used to actually working, and not just typing. I'm in the IT field, but my hands always have some kinda cut, scrape, or something on them from working on our vehicles, house, yard, etc... Getting used to having some shock work thru your body, and getting used to the reaction, is probably not a bad thing.

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