Media Slowly Recognizing How Dumb They Sound on Guns

 

As I said on Twitter last week,

And Rachel Larimore of Slate agrees.

That gun writers crow when the media makes mistakes like this indicates how little regard there is for the media from the pro-gun community. There are several ways the media can remedy this situation. For starters, treat guns like any other beat (as the Guardian has done with Lois Beckett). Media outlets tend not to send sports writers to cover the Supreme Court or style writers to cover a murder. Ignorance undermines authority. If you want to report on guns, you need to understand the differences between various weapons and how they are used. Spend time at a shooting range and learn how to fire a gun. Be able to interview an NRA member without scorn or derision.

Words matter. You’d think journalists would understand that simple fact. Most journalists have no experience with guns and don’t know anyone who does have experience. They go on (almost literal) fishing expeditions, hoping that they’ll find someone who’s erudite, knowledgeable and, most importantly, agrees with their preconceived notions of what guns are for and who should own one. I’ve had good luck talking with reporters about guns, but I will admit that my experience is just one of many.

If you want a “conversation” about guns, first learn our language, then we can talk.

There are 48 comments.

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  1. Member

    Oh no, Kevin! Didn’t you hear Prez Omega? The only possible way to keep Ameticans safe from terrorism is for all of us to disarm!

    • #1
    • June 18, 2016 at 11:27 am
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  2. Member

    Most journalists learned everything they know about Guns by Googling about them at half time of a hockey game.

    • #2
    • June 18, 2016 at 11:28 am
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  3. Member

    Kevin Creighton: Media slowly recognizing how dumb they sound on guns

    There’s a simple flaw in this logic: “sounding dumb” is always in the eyes (ears) of the listener.

    The mainstream media isn’t catering to an audience of gun experts, but rather to people with little to no knowledge of guns. But if that audience doesn’t know much about guns (and doesn’t particularly care to find out), then egregious mistakes in reporting on guns by the media won’t sound stupid to them.

    Indeed, if much of the lay audience was already predisposed to thinking that guns are generally scary and dangerous, those errors may well sound correct, while the truth sounds disingenuous.

    • #3
    • June 18, 2016 at 11:36 am
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  4. Coolidge

    It’s good to know that at least some journalists recognize how uninformed they are. Unfortunately, that’s only half the problem. The other half is the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, named after the physicist Murray Gell-Mann but described by Michael Crichton:

    You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues…. [Y]ou read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    Guns are just one of many subjects about which journalists are woefully ignorant. I’d love to see them correct their ignorance on this one subject, but they’re not really going to have much incentive to correct their general cluelessness as long as people keep listening to them and being influenced (to such an outsized degree) by what they say.

    • #4
    • June 18, 2016 at 11:42 am
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  5. Inactive

    Never gonna happen, like the farmer’s horse on sawdust, once they know the truth about guns, they no longer oppose them.

    • #5
    • June 18, 2016 at 11:43 am
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  6. Coolidge

    they don’t want to know about guns, it’s more abou virtue signaling to fellow leftists then actual reporting. That is the state of journalism today,

    • #6
    • June 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm
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  7. Member

    Ackshully, the 4th period in hockey does exist. It’s like the 19th tee in golf. It’s the bar the team goes to after the game. I’m just sayin’…

    • #7
    • June 18, 2016 at 12:08 pm
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  8. Member

    If there was a “gun beat,” is there any doubt we’d get the firearms equivalent of Bill Nye the Science Guy, right down to the bowtie?ccc78f816b8cb396864b2ac92c4d3c5c

    • #8
    • June 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm
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  9. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Ball Diamond Ball:Never gonna happen, like the farmer’s horse on sawdust, once they know the truth about guns, they no longer oppose them.

    *puts finger on nose*

    Don’t give away my evil plan!!! ;)

    Good sports writers tend to be fans of the sports they cover. I’m hoping that realization of ignorance will lead to engagement which will lead to enthusiasm. I might be wrong, but it’s worth a shot!

    • #9
    • June 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm
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  10. Inactive

    Kevin Creighton: Most journalists have no experience with guns and don’t know anyone who does have experience.

    Most journalists got their degrees at the Ben Rhodes College of Journalism. And, since they’re Better than Us, they knew what they were getting when they matriculated.

    Eric Hines

    • #10
    • June 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm
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  11. Member

    If I was one of those liberal moron editors I would be pretty nervous about sending one of my reporters to a rifle or pistol range to learn about guns, particularly if I wanted him to write a article condemning them. Just about everyone I ever introduced to shooting sports became a fan and couldn’t wait to get back and do it again. The best fuel antigunners have is ignorance and the fear it engenders.

    • #11
    • June 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm
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  12. Inactive

    There is certainly plenty of ignorance. But there is also a lot of fear of guns among the anti-gun crowd.

    One of the comments I heard from a couple of leftist types this week was that if some of the patrons at the Orlando club had had guns on them, it would have been worse. I presume this means that they might have created a cross-fire in which various innocent people would be shot as these armed patrons tried to take out the terrorist. Could have happened. I don’t think that anywhere near 49 people would have died, but I can’t prove it.

    But consider this other example: I used to work at a university at which the police were unarmed. The idea to arm them was floated, and there were a lot of people against it. “Arming the police will lead to shootings when less violent means could have been found to solve the problem,” went the typical argument.

    But these campus cops were real police, with in-depth training not only in how to use their firearms but also in how to deal with all kinds of situations that police typically face.

    My point is that people who are anti-gun are sometimes so unwilling to face up to reality that they would prefer that even the police, that thin blue line, go unarmed. They are ignorant about a lot more than how guns work.

    • #12
    • June 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm
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  13. Inactive

    Man With the Axe: One of the comments I heard from a couple of leftist types this week was that if some of the patrons at the Orlando club had had guns on them, it would have been worse. I presume this means that they might have created a cross-fire in which various innocent people would be shot….

    People who make such claims are doing nothing more than projecting. They’re assuming everyone must have this shortfall because the claimer has this shortfall.

    Projection is especially dangerous when Government officials make the same projection. It’s the flip side of their disparagement of us contemptible gun-toting Bible-clingers in flyover country.

    Eric Hines

    • #13
    • June 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm
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  14. Inactive

    But I heard that shooting a big bad AR-15 bruised some journalists shoulder. They might as well have waterboarded the poor soul as force that big scary black rifle into is grasp.

    • #14
    • June 18, 2016 at 6:08 pm
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  15. Member

    Mock AR-PTSD boy just as we mocked pajama boy

    • #15
    • June 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm
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  16. Member

    And what is the subject journalists actually know something about? OK other than sports?

    • #16
    • June 19, 2016 at 3:47 am
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  17. Inactive

    I Walton:And what is the subject journalists actually know something about? OK other than sports?

    Even there they often fall short of knowing as much as they think they know. For example, lately Michael Wilbon has been on a rant about sports analytics. He claims that black people don’t think about or talk about advanced analytics the way whites do, and so this puts them at a disadvantage when applying for jobs (coaching, GM, etc.).

    And this is bad because the analytics are not helpful. He went on and on about why it’s stupid to calculate how many points a basketball team scores per 100 possessions as a measure of offensive efficiency. Why not, he says, just use the points they score in 48 minutes, the length of a game?

    Do I have to explain how stupid that is? No, but here goes anyway. A team that plays slowly but very efficiently, using more of the shot clock, will have fewer possessions, but so will its opponent. So, it can win by scoring more points per possession. A team that runs and guns will have many more possessions but so will its opponent. It can lose while scoring more points per 48 minutes than some other teams, but fewer than its opponent in game after game.

    And this guy makes his living writing and talking about sports.

    But instead of thinking about it more deeply, he finds it emotionally satisfying to make it a race thing.

    • #17
    • June 19, 2016 at 4:21 am
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  18. Coolidge

    Ball Diamond Ball:Never gonna happen, like the farmer’s horse on sawdust, once they know the truth about guns, they no longer oppose them.

    What is the reference to horses and sawdust??

    • #18
    • June 19, 2016 at 5:50 am
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  19. Inactive

    Skyler:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Never gonna happen, like the farmer’s horse on sawdust, once they know the truth about guns, they no longer oppose them.

    What is the reference to horses and sawdust??

    Will explain later — on phone now.

    • #19
    • June 19, 2016 at 5:58 am
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  20. Inactive

    EHerring:Mock AR-PTSD boy just as we mocked pajama boy

    How did that work out in stopping Obamacare?

    Ridicule is important, but by itself it’s ineffective. Neither can it be just fire and forget; the effort must be constant and ongoing. That’s why it’s not the only tool in the Alinsky playbook.

    Eric Hines

    • #20
    • June 19, 2016 at 7:31 am
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  21. Coolidge

    Eric Hines:How did that work out in stopping Obamacare?

    And just as gun confiscation is opposed by a vast majority, so was national health care. Laws be damned. If Hillary is elected, they won’t bother with laws or courts anymore. They will just begin the confiscation. They will announce it. They will warn everyone. Then they will pick someone that they can count on to resist confiscation and they will Ruby Ridge them, or Branch Davidian them, very publicly and horribly and children will die. Families will be slaughtered. They will announce that the killing was necessary because the family resisted.

    They will make sure to make it clear that your family will suffer the same fate if you don’t surrender your guns. Terrorism works. People will comply while hoping that some court someday makes things right again. But they will control the courts.

    I’m not very optimistic about our future.

    • #21
    • June 19, 2016 at 8:00 am
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  22. Inactive

    Kevin Creighton:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Never gonna happen, like the farmer’s horse on sawdust, once they know the truth about guns, they no longer oppose them.

    *puts finger on nose*

    Don’t give away my evil plan!!! ;)

    Good sports writers tend to be fans of the sports they cover. I’m hoping that realization of ignorance will lead to engagement which will lead to enthusiasm. I might be wrong, but it’s worth a shot!

    For a real-world example outside of sports journalism, look to the State Department . . . diplomats tend to become advocates for the country or organization to which they are assigned and then, like Mate De pointed out above, set about virtue signaling their broad-mindedness.

    In fact, Obama’s presidency has been one long exercise in virtue signaling . . . how else can one explain his fetishistic response to every Islamic radical’s attack on Americans as a problem of gun ownership? He thinks it affords him/his party a political advantage, but that thesis seems to be running out of steam.

    • #22
    • June 19, 2016 at 8:04 am
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  23. Inactive

    Eugene Kriegsmann:If I was one of those liberal moron editors I would be pretty nervous about sending one of my reporters to a rifle or pistol range to learn about guns, particularly if I wanted him to write a article condemning them. Just about everyone I ever introduced to shooting sports became a fan and couldn’t wait to get back and do it again. The best fuel antigunners have is ignorance and the fear it engenders.

    When people figure out that their own security is something they can manage, and manage better than anyone else, it’s liberating. The Left hates liberated individuals who feel empowered to set a course their Master Minds (to borrow Mark Levin’s phrase) have not authorized.

    Which is exactly the point Kevin makes in the article about his company’s store in Naples, FL, written by Susannah Breslin. She’s an indie journo and published that article in Forbes Magazine, which of course covers business and commerce.

    The Left will never stop coming after your guns. Period. The media, generally speaking, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Left. So, if you do manage to entice a few journos to see things objectively, they won’t have a place in the Left’s mouthpieces but will find an audience at Forbes and the like.

    • #23
    • June 19, 2016 at 8:25 am
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  24. Member

    Eric Hines:

    EHerring:Mock AR-PTSD boy just as we mocked pajama boy

    How did that work out in stopping Obamacare?

    Ridicule is important, but by itself it’s ineffective. Neither can it be just fire and forget; the effort must be constant and ongoing. That’s why it’s not the only tool in the Alinsky playbook.

    Eric Hines

    But it is having an effect here because there are some in the media attempting to correct the record. Congressmen need to see what will come their way if they vote incorrectly. Other than the votes in Congress, there isn’t much else I can do.

    • #24
    • June 19, 2016 at 10:22 am
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  25. Thatcher

    The only thing worse than gun coverage by the mass media is their coverage of military issues. The odds are practically zero for any former military person being assigned to that beat besides someone at Fox News (e.g. one embedded FNC reporter in Gulf War II was a former Marine).

    When is the last time you read a newspaper story about a shooting competition, with the possible exception of the Olympics? The editors really don’t like us.

    So, the solution is to ridicule them whenever possible for their incompetence, which will be easy to do.

    • #25
    • June 19, 2016 at 11:34 am
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  26. Coolidge

    I Walton:And what is the subject journalists actually know something about? OK other than sports?

    That’s the heart of the problem. Journalists today tend to be hired right out of college, where they studied (wait for it) journalism. Which means that they have little knowledge, and no experience, of anything else. If the media were truly interested in building their credibility, they’d stop hiring twentysomethings with journalism degrees, and instead focus on recruiting older, experienced people into journalism as a second career.

    • #26
    • June 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm
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  27. Thatcher

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: they’d stop hiring twentysomethings with journalism degrees, and instead focus on recruiting older, experienced people into journalism as a second career.

    Which is how it used to be before “journalism” became a thing. Back when they called themselves reporters, and actually, you know, reported the news.

    • #27
    • June 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm
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  28. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    The Guardian, of all places, did a great job in this piece. This should be the model for media reporting on gun owners.

    • #28
    • June 20, 2016 at 5:22 am
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  29. Member

    It’s not about guns. Journos are smart enough to know that people can defend themselves against leftist government and healthcare if they have guns. Therefore guns are a threat.

    • #29
    • June 20, 2016 at 6:16 am
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  30. Inactive

    Skyler:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Never gonna happen, like the farmer’s horse on sawdust, once they know the truth about guns, they no longer oppose them.

    What is the reference to horses and sawdust??

    SO this farmer, smarter than all the rest, has a great idea to revolutionize the economics of farming, but he’s never had a chance to test it out.

    Each year, he begins to supplement his horses’ diets with sawdust, an acceptable bulk enhancer in winter months. He gradually increases the portion of sawdust, and money is great on the farm, but for the third time, just as he gets them up past about 90% sawdust, each year the worthless horses just up and die!

    Bad luck.

    • #30
    • June 20, 2016 at 6:53 am
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