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May 18, 2015

Anti-Gun Group Called Out (Mildly) for Falsification As the News Media Continue to Confuse Matters


We have noted previously that gun control organizations often exaggerate, confuse, conflate or just plain misrepresent the facts in the pursuit of their political agendas.  It happened again following the recent tragic murder of NYPD officer Brian Moore by a career criminal. This time, however, the Politifact organization did some fact checking and found that Everytown for Gun Safety’s talking points had outrun the facts. It rated one of the group’s key statements “mostly false,” adding “Such overreaches allow political debate to shape facts.”

We call that understatement. Indeed, we believe that is the intent. Everytown, of course, is funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has never met a gun he didn’t hate, unless it was on the person of one of his bodyguards.

For New York City reporters, it’s become standard fare to blame out-of-state firearms retailers for the problem of street crime involving guns in their city.  Here, reporters literally learned to take their their lead from U.S. Sen. Charles (Chuck) Schumer, who has been a champion of this misleading narrative for many years and who dusted off his talking points to repeat the exercise.  For New York’s senior senator, it is better to blame out-of-state businesses than criticize Democratic officeholders for failed policies or, heaven forbid, the city’s criminals themselves for their actions.

The gun used to murder Officer Moore had been stolen in a smash and grab burglary in 2011.  The theft was reported to ATF and local law enforcement as required by federal law, which is how the police were able to so quickly trace the gun.

In fact, most guns used in crimes are stolen. But the New York Daily News moved past that fact to report, “Georgia’s lax gun laws are often cited by critics for the steady northern flow of illegal weapons to New York.” Last we checked Georgia had not repealed any of its criminal statutes covering the crime of burglary. And then there’s that old journalistic trope of using the unnamed “critics” to make an editorial point in a news story. But why stop there?

Pivoting to the equally tragic December ambush murders of two other NYPD officers, the Daily News adds to the public’s confusion by reporting, “Straw buyers purchasing firearms for people who can’t legally own guns face no penalty…” Wait. That’s wrong. There are tough federal laws on the books for those convicted of illegal straw purchasers. What’s more, the gun used to murder these officers was not straw purchased.

Now here is a story involving an attack on a police officer that deserves national media attention but will not receive it, because it does not fit into the mainstream media’s preferred anti-gun narrative. In this case, a legally-armed civilian was able to use his handgun to stop a burglary suspect who was in the process of brutally beating an Oklahoma City Police Officer in the head with his own baton. Gun control advocates hate stories like this.

Lastly, apparently not happy about the aforementioned Everytown for Gun Safety’s lack of progress in changing the nation’s attitudes toward accepting more gun control comes word that billionaire Bloomberg has started an adjunct editorial organization and hired former journalists to launch the effort next month. We will have to see how the mainstream media treats “news” that comes out of this new branch of his extended anti-gun advocacy organization.  The people working there may have journalistic credentials, but they are no longer acting in the capacity of journalists. Here’s our take: Meet the new propagandists, same as the old propagandists.  The media distribution list remains the same. Nothing has changed.