The Monday Notice: Press malfeasance on guns

Also, it's infrastru — uh, impeachment week!

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Most of the press coverage when it comes to firearms is terrible. There’s no other way to put it. It’s one of those issues where the reporters who cover it, primarily have little experience with firearms beyond what they’ve read. They don’t own guns, have never used them, nor do they spend much time with people who own guns. They also operate under the assumption that people who own guns have a weird fetish with them.

Contrary to these silly beliefs, most people who own guns see them as tools - much in the same way a chef sees a knife or carpenter sees a drill. Just like cooking and building, it’s also fun. Why do people get different types of guns? It’s a variety. A 9mm is not the same as a .357 or a .44 magnum. Chefs have dozens of knives, and carpenters have 5-6 different types of drills, but no one ever thinks that’s “weird.” But, own more than a few guns, and you’re “obsessed” and part of some weird “gun culture.”

Of course, some of them are weirdos. But there are weirdos involved with any profession or hobby. Do you think Nusret Gökçe, aka “Salt Bae,” is normal? How about the dudes who dress up like ninjas and play with nunchucks?

But the people who like to go to the range, hunt, or carry a firearm for protection are “icky” to the multitudes of reporters, talking heads, Twitter personalities and pundits who don’t like guns.

There’s a rally today in Richmond in support of gun rights, and from the media coverage, you’d think it as the Confederate Army advancing on Ft. Sumter. Headlines include:

“Richmond on edge ahead of pro-gun rally at Virginia capitol.”

“Richmond in state of emergency ahead of gun rally, residents fear another Charlotteville.”

“Richmond braces for huge gun-rights rally”

Yesterday morning, I tweeted the following:

Shortly after, I opened my copy of the Sunday Washington Post, and the headline above, about “bracing” for the rally was on the front page. Here’s the first graf:

The convoys and militias are coming, if social media posts are to be believed, headed to Virginia's capital to take a stand for gun rights — or, in the words of some, to fan the flames of a civil war.

Civil war. Really.

According to David Frum of The Atlantic, if you carry a firearm, you’re automatically “threatening” people.

But that’s how it is. It’s easy for the press to behave as though the rally in question will be nothing but a repeat of Charlottesville and that gun owners are nothing but a bunch of thugs and bullies out to threaten the common folk. It’s an event where people from the press want something to go wrong. Many of them want someone to hoist a Nazi or Confederate flag. They want some militia bozo to discharge a weapon. They want to see Richard Spencer in the crowd. Alex Jones will be there. Who wants to bet that nutcase gets a decent amount of airtime? Isolated incidents will confirm biases, and it’s all some people will need to say, “See? We told you!”

It’s why the reporting is so bad, and the talking heads don’t seem to get it. Look at the issue of universal background checks. There’s never enough repeating of the fact that it has the support of “90% of Americans.” That provides the ammo (no pun intended) to “call out” the politicians who won’t support it. They get to paint those who oppose the pointless legislation (and it is, which I won’t get into here) as “extremists” or “out of touch” with the “overwhelming majority of Americans.”

However, you never see the same people with that attitude when it comes to an issue such as voter ID. Despite voter ID having the support of 80% of Americans, including a high percentage of non-whites (77%), whenever the same people who talk about the “extremists” who won’t support “common sense” gun legislation, always frame voter ID in the context of “voter suppression.” They say people push voter ID as a means of covering for the “myth” of voter fraud. It is no different than the myth of the mass shooter who acquires his firearms at a gun show or a garage sale. The FBI doesn’t even measure crimes committed with firearms sold privately, because the number is so low.

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During my time on the Dallas Morning News editorial board, we covered several elections, and the job of the board was to meet with candidates during the primary and general election and decide to endorse a candidate. Sometimes the decision was easy. Other times, it was more difficult and ended with unhappy board members.

It was a lot of work preparing for these endorsements. Candidates had to fill out questionnaires, and the writers had to research each candidate (if they were the lead for that particular race) and report it to other members before there was an interview. The goal of the board was not to influence voters so much as it was to inform them and give them all the information necessary to make a decision.

One thing I could not fathom the board doing was endorsing two candidates in the same race. But that’s precisely what the New York Times editorial board did when they decided to endorse Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. It was a poor decision on their part.

Noah Rothman of Commentary called it “incredible cowardice.”

The Times engaged in a case of trying to please both sides of the Democratic electorate by endorsing the more moderate Klobuchar and the far-left Warren, freeing them from the inevitable “white male” criticism they’d inevitably face if they endorsed Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg.

But by trying to play to both sides, what service did they do to readers?

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With a new subscription to HBO, I finally got around to watching the final two seasons of Silicon Valley, sans Erlich Bachman. Make no mistake, and the show was not nearly as strong with the absence of TJ Miller’s over-the-top character. Mike Judge made the most of it, however, advancing the story to a point where the viewer knows that Bachman would only serve to be a sideshow as opposed to being integral to the story.

Season 5 was terrific with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Season 6, on the other hand, was a bit weaker. Still, I enjoyed the way Judge wrapped it all up by showing the crew ten years after the demise of PiedPiper. The show could never measure up to the absolute hilarity of the first two seasons. Still, Judge navigated that well and thankfully, did not extend the series for another season or two.

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It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day and while I won’t bother with the game people play of attempting to determine King’s politics in today’s political world, I will just say to go watch his “I have a dream” speech from 1963 — a speech that paved the way for historical change in the United States. That is all.

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Impeachment trial starts this week, and it will be a spectacle. Expect cable news ratings to go through the roof and a smorgasbord of hot takes. So this is a bit outside the lines on impeachment, but I am going to have some words about The Lincoln Project and its role in the entire mess. If you haven’t heard, The Lincoln Project is a Super PAC launched by Republican (and former Republican) operatives such as Rick Wilson, John Weaver, and George Conway. I don’t have an issue with the group seeking to defeat Donald Trump. Where I find fault with them, and where I will touch on is the group targeting Republicans such as Cory Gardner and Susan Collins, who may not do their bidding. And what Republican group appoints a radical leftist like Molly Jong-Fast to their leadership team?

I will have words.

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2020 book reading update: I am a little less than halfway through Christopher Hitchens’ memoir, Hitch 22. I didn’t know much about his personal life and youth, and it makes for fascinating if somewhat sad, reading. My goal is to finish by the end of the month (it’s 400 pages. Not hard to read, but certainly not light reading, either), and that will give me two books for the year. The goal will be 2-3 books per month. Next up is Peter Wehner’s, The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

I’m hoping to sneak Tim Alberta’s book in somewhere this year, but that thing is nearly 700 pages long. Not that I care about the length but when time is short…

Tune in next week as I will provide a list of all the suggestions given to me by you, the readers. Thank you!

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So far my prediction of the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl holds up as they are going after defeating the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship. But wow, did the 49’ers look good in their matchup against the Green Bay Packers. The Niners defense was all over the field and before anyone knew what was happening they were up 27-0. The final score was 37-20, but those 20 points came in garbage time. The Niners dominated that game. The Chiefs can’t afford to play a come-from-behind game against them or it will be another in a long list of Super Bowl blowouts.

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Until next week, folks!