Media Bias Review

Two Years Ago, The Press Had A Chance And Blew It
; .

Don’t call this an “assault weapon,” according to the Associated
Press style tip published in July 2022. It’s a “semi-automatic” rifle.
The press continues to wrongly label such guns, however.

The Associated Press Stylebook is pretty much the media Bible, adhered to by reporters and editors from small-town weeklies to the big major dailies, and copywriters for broadcast media.

It’s pretty easy to tell a “citizen journalist” from a veteran news hack; that is, someone with a career who knows AP Style reflexively, as opposed to somebody who thinks he/she is a writer. Crusty old scribes (me included) keep an AP Stylebook at their desks just to follow the guidelines that make news writing understandable, uniform and — in theory, anyway — unbiased. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Almost two years ago, the AP added this note to the Stylebook and circulated it on social media: “The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled and automatically reloads for a subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle. An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted.

“Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon,” the style tip continued, “which are highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon.”

Alas, the establishment media (i.e., “mainstream press”) either didn’t get the memo or, more likely, just stubbornly ignored it. My colleagues in the press can be a disappointing lot, and on this issue, disappointment becomes disgust every time there is a headline about an “assault weapons” ban or “assault rifle” used in a crime.

Way back on July 14, 2022, National Review’s Isaac Schorr did a splendid bit of reporting when he wrote, “The AP’s guidance, highlighted in a tweet on Wednesday, marked a rare ruling that pleased political conservatives. Previous guidance on gender issues and urban violence had been criticized for accepting progressive premises.”

All of this translates to media bias, and when it comes to firearms, it’s an allegation with plenty of incriminating evidence. Reporters make mistakes about firearms frequently, and copy editors don’t catch those errors because they don’t know anything about guns, either. When was the last time a reporter in the White House pressroom challenged a spokesperson, “Do you know the percentage of homicides committed annually with rifles of any kind?” (FYI, it’s between 2% and 4%.) In the unlikely event the spokesperson knows the answer, the follow-up question would necessarily be: “So, why do you guys want to ban a whole class of firearms that aren’t involved in even 5% of murders in this country?”

Seven years ago, Forbes published a report about one news hack who shared this observation: “Every major newspaper ought to have someone on staff who understands firearms and the people who own them. A reporter who understands guns could put gun-control proponents, and especially any grand-standing politician, on the spot; make them justify what they’re after by hitting them with questions based on statistical facts, rather than emotion.”


Ruger markets a popular semi-auto rifle for all sorts of purposes.
It is not, however, a “weapon of war” as anti-gunners, including
those in the media, insist on calling it.

Gun Control Lexicon

“Assault weapon” is a term which, even if it wasn’t invented by the gun control lobby, is routinely exploited and over-used by every establishment news agency in the country. Opinion columnists couple the term with “weapons of war” and other provocative — nay, inflammatory — words and phrases right out of the gun control lexicon.

This is what the AP Stylebook tip was trying to correct. That news agencies essentially haven’t done a thing suggests two things: bias and laziness.

We’re in an election year, and guns are going to be a political hot-button issue. Just pay attention to news reports about gun control, and six months from now — when you’re supposed to be electing a new president and Congress — tell me I’m wrong.


Arm Brace Boogie

When a bunch of Second Amendment groups filed challenges against the Biden administration’s “final rule” declaring pistol arm braces turned people’s modern semi-auto pistols into short-barreled rifles, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction last November, blocking enforcement of the rule.

The Biden administration appealed, determined to change the rules which had been in place for several years. Now, in one of the several cases, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed a response to the government’s appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Biden administration’s weaponization of the ATF included
pulling a 180 with a new “final rule” reversing years of policy
which did not consider arm braces like the ones shown on these
two firearms to suddenly declare them to be something they are not.

“The Final Rule enacted in 2023 constitutes a marked departure from the ATF’s past position about whether brace-equipped pistols still constitute ‘pistols,’” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a news release. “As we explain in our brief, for over a decade, the agency took the position that brace-equipped pistols did not constitute short-barreled ‘rifles.’ Between 2012 and 2014 in particular, ATF issued no fewer than 17 classification letters about one specific arm brace or another, all opining that arm brace designs did not convert pistols into short-barreled rifles. But that suddenly changed under the Biden administration.”

“The Final Rule completely alters the rifle-pistol distinction,” added SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut in the same release. “There are millions of common firearms formerly defined as ‘pistols’ covered by the 1968 Gun Control Act that are now defined as ‘rifles.’ By shifting this definitional boundary, the Final Rule turned millions of Americans into potential felons overnight, simply because they complied with the letter of the law and ATF’s own guidance. We look forward to defeating this legislative fiat by the executive branch.”

Joining SAF are Rainier Arms, LLC, and two individual citizens, Samuel Walley and William Green. They are represented by attorney Chad Flores at Flores Law in Houston, Texas. Defendants are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and its director, Steven Dettelbach, in his official capacity; United States Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland. The case is on appeal from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.


Red Flag Warning

Last month, in case you missed it, Kamala Harris traveled down to Parkland, Fla., where she spoke to a group at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, scene of the Feb. 14, 2018 rampage which resulted in the deaths of 17 students and adults.

It was a poorly disguised campaign visit in which Harris announced the creation of the National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resources Center. This office will be operated through the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, with grant funding from the Biden Justice Department.

The White House issued a statement: “The Resource Center will provide training and technical assistance, which will include developing and disseminating educational opportunities and workshops for a wide variety of stakeholders, providing implementation support, supporting peer-to-peer engagements with model learning sites, performing site assessments, and developing presentations and webinars that will advance states and localities’ knowledge in key areas related to ERPOs.

“At the same time President Biden and Vice President Harris call on Congress to pass universal background checks,” the White House added, “a national red flag law, an assault weapons ban, and a secure storage law; to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which gives gun dealers and manufactures special immunity from certain liability for their products; and to increase appropriations to support youth mental health and violence prevention strategies.”

Last year, the Second Amendment Foundation launched a little project of its own dubbed “Capture the Flag.” The mission of this effort is to challenge unconstitutional red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws. We’ll see how this shakes out.

There was an interesting, and under-reported part of this story. Ryan Petty, father of a Parkland victim, reportedly called her comments a “slap in the face” to parents like him who have advocated for solutions that do not infringe on Second Amendment rights.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Petty told a reporter, “The vice president and the White House’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention made it very clear to families early on that nothing short of new gun control was going to satisfy them in protecting our nation’s schools. And that is just a slap in the face to those of us that have worked for six years now to try to protect our nation’s schools.”

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Watch Tennessee Antis Melt Down

Anti-gunners in Tennessee are furious that State House lawmakers have passed legislation on a 68-28 vote allowing certain specially-trained teachers and staff to carry guns in schools.

Protesters were screaming such things as “blood on your hands,” according to Chalkbeat Tennessee. It was just over a year ago that an intruder entered the Covenant School in Nashville, killing three adults and three youngsters before being fatally shot by responding police officers. They entered the building rather than standing around, and within four minutes, those lawmen had tracked the killer to the second floor and stopped the rampage.

Under the legislation, which was sent to Republican Gov. Bill Lee, only teachers or staff who volunteer for the program would be eligible. They also must have a carry permit, clear a background check, undergo 40 hours of firearms training and get written authorization from the school principal and local law enforcement.

All Democrats and four Republicans voted against the measure, according to CBS News.