Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gun Violence and the Media

Since the horrific events in Connecticut, I have been giving a lot of thought to questions about gun control, our media and the future.  

I think that everything that I want to cover is going to take a while to gel in my mind so it will appear somewhat episodically in this blog.  To start, though, I would like to comment on the media's treatment of this event.

We have many killings, many mass killings both here and in Europe and elsewhere in the world. All of these events are covered by the media.  Does such coverage yield more violence?  Of course it does, that is Pathology 101. The monsters perpetrating these outrages are looking to make their pathetic lives more than what they are as they exit them.  At least one professional has commented on the way to treat these events in the media:

  • If you don't want to propagate more mass murders...
  • Don't start the story with sirens blaring.
  • Don't have photographs of the killer.
  • Don't make this 24/7 coverage.
  • Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story.
  • Not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero.
  • Do localize this story to the affected community and as boring as possible in every other market. 
You can check out the credentials of Dr. Park Dietz on Wiki.  He knows what he is talking about.  Having said that (and the truth of what he claims is palpable, isn't it?)  reflect, please on the coverage of the Aurora and Newtown shootings.  

Responsible?  Over done?  You judge but bear in mind that the news media does not generate revenue by being responsible,  they generate money by selling papers or magazines or, increasingly, getting hits on their sites.  If they can be responsible and generate loot, great!.  If they have to fall short, however, they will let dignity and responsibility and common sense fail before they will take a money hit.  So what we see is wall to wall coverage with little regard to content.  As Rush Limbaugh said a few days after the event, not one thing he reported on the day of the event was true.  But every media outlet was reporting!!  

This brings us to my favorite failed media outlet, the New York Times.  Since the day after the Connecticut shootings, the Times has run page one stories on gun control   Every day.  At least one story plus editorial.  Every day.  Their anti-gun agenda is now on full display and they are frothing at the mouth.  It does make one wonder what is not getting reported or how their agenda slants other stories.  Lately they have come out questioning the right of citizens to carry weapons on their persons, legally.  When an intrinsically dishonest entity such as the Times calls for a "review" of existing processes or questions whether something or other ought to be allowed they are, in fact, taking a position that what the current situation is is wrong and they oppose it.  The Times may well be the newspaper of record in the United States but it is also scandalously doctrinaire on certain subjects.  Among these is gun control.  I think that it is fair to say that any article whatsoever that bears, even tangentially, on private ownership of weapons, will be biased.  

In closing, let us take a quick look at the generally dismal stock performance of the New York Times during the week since the Connecticut shootings.
Stock Price for the New York Times

As I said earlier, the business of the media is business and we can see that the blood coverage that the Times has engaged in is correlated with a bit of a bounce in the net worth of old "Bud" Sulzberger (majority shareholder) and his minions.  When the Times sanctimoniously states that gun companies make blood money, remember this chart.  The Times, cynically, is making a fortune on the backs of the people whose misfortune they want you to believe they care about.

Yeah.  And I have a bridge for you to buy.



Posting names of gun owners

The idiots at the Gannett paper, Journal News, thought that it would be amusing to post the names and addresses of every gun owner in their distribution area, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. I wrote a cute comment, reproduced below.

This reminds me of an actress past her prime doing soft core porn to generate a bit more interest. Print news is dead and anything that they can do to generate notoriety will be done. In the present case they did something that, while legal, is simply wrong. Wring and stupid. And they put us all at risk for a cheap PR trick.
In any event the personal contact information for all concerned at the paper can be found at:
We should all know everything about everybody, right Ms. Lambert (n.b. Editor)?

Let me draw your attention to this link: it goes to a blog that has posted the home addresses of the staff at the Journal.  Fair play I think.

You and I don't need the Journal News, or the NYT or any specific source of news and information.  That is because God gave us the Internet.  The world is at your fingertips and you don't need the filtering of the old established sources of information.  Gannett was founded in 1906, BTW.  

In their desperation to be profitable and relevant  the dinosaurs in publishing have used absurd tricks like pay walls and distasteful journalistic practices.  Our pals at the one daunting Time Magazine recently had this as a from cover:

Time.  Can you imagine?  Henry Luce is spinning in his grave and probably would love to come back and kick some ass.  

Back to the fools at the Journal News.  Posting the names of gun owners is bad.  Because you can do something does not give you license to do it,  knowing that is what distinguishes a responsible adult from a child.  I am sure that the Editor,  Ms. Lambert, is not fool and knew just what she was doing.  She was hoping that the notoriety would get her a job in a major market.  Let's face it, Rockland County, N.Y. is not exactly Big Apple territory.  We can only hope that her management will see this silly and dangerous trick for what it is and make sure that this person, of questionable control over her career advancing impulses, is kept far from major markets where she could do real harm.

In any event, public record is public record and I hope that the information regarding Journal News employees is disseminated far and wide.  That is because  contrary to conventional wisdom, two wrongs often make a right.