The Press Perpetuates Prevarications

How to fight back against media misinformation
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Guns are going to be an important campaign issue this year and you need to be ready to counter misinformation. The only way to fight falsehood is with fact. Moreover, don’t try to deny some facts even if it’s uncomfortable.

Word Play At Work

You will see and hear the media using the lexicon of gun prohibitionists. Stories will mention “gun safety organizations” and “gun reform efforts.” It’s gun control camo-speak — semantics designed to create an impression the people behind this crusade are interested in public safety. They are far more interested in disarming the public, and it’s rare for reporters to challenge them on it.

When a reporter refers to “common-sense gun laws,” ask what it means. Force them to explain their perspective about firearms laws. Compel them to challenge gun control proponents to offer their definitions.

It has long been a practice of gun control advocates to combine the numbers of homicides, suicides and accidents for a more dramatic total they could tout as “gun violence” victims. It is a deliberately deceptive practice, and unfairly dismisses suicide as a crime when it is an act of desperation, fueled by extreme emotional instability.

Sadly, the establishment media has virtually ignored the work on suicide prevention championed by such groups as the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation. Whenever the media talks about “gun deaths,” it is an opportunity for rights activists to set the record straight.
If a reporter, whether in print or on the air, talks about “gun safety” organizations, call them on it, because none of these organizations promote firearms safety. They promote gun control or gun prohibition.

Whether it’s the Brady Campaign, Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, or any of the state Ceasefire groups, not one of them fields certified firearms instructors. Only the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association do and you can say so with authority. USCCA is a relative newcomer while the NRA has been teaching firearms safety for more than a century.


Call Them On It

Many newspapers and television stations routinely conclude an online report by providing contact information for the reporter, either an email or twitter address, and sometimes even a telephone number. If they don’t, it’s easy to find on a news agency’s website a general telephone number. Ask for the newsroom and ask for the managing editor. Remember these three rules after identifying yourself and the reason for your call —

1. Don’t engage in name-calling because you’ll hear a click and the conversation is over forever.

2. Don’t use foul language and remain calm, even affable.

3. Explain your objection briefly and be on-point — tell the reporter or editor the problem, have facts to back up your argument and be polite!

Become A Writer

You can write a letter to the editor, and don’t talk yourself out of it by deciding it won’t matter. It will matter. Make sure you spell every word, especially names, correctly, otherwise you will look like an idiot. It’s not a way to win arguments or sway someone’s opinion and it reflects on every other gun owner to reinforce the popular caricature of gun owners as illiterate rednecks.

You can go a step further and write an Op-Ed. Keep it within 350 to 400 words, be terse, tactful and truthful. Don’t pull “facts” out of thin air and for sure don’t rely on anything you read on the Internet for accuracy.

If you’re talking about “gun violence,” don’t use the term. Erase it from your vocabulary — we’re talking about violent crime committed by people misusing firearms. Refer to the FBI Uniform Crime Report. People might suggest you’re lying, but they’re not going to challenge FBI crime data if used accurately and in context.


Or Be A Source

Another effective strategy is to become a knowledgeable source to provide balance. As a firearms journalist who happens to work for a couple of major gun rights organizations, reporters working on gun-related stories in the Northwest often contact me. Part of the reason is to provide the obligatory alternate viewpoint, but in my case, they often just want to check their facts. I do it as a professional courtesy, one journalist to another. You can do this as a local expert.

Put together a resume of sorts you can email to reporters or editors. Include such information as firearms courses you may have taken, whether you are a certified instructor, if you’ve attended or even spoken at conferences dealing with firearms, ever published anything relating to firearms; anything to show you know what you’re talking about.

Broadcast stations all have websites, and usually at the bottom, or at the top, there is a link to their FCC Info, which contains the telephone number, mailing address of the station and its call letters while the main website may just be labeled “NBC5” or “CBS7.” You should also find the mailing address and telephone number for the FCC.

If you have a complaint about a news report, let the station know, and if you see a pattern of news bias or outright falsehood, contact the FCC. It shouldn’t come to such measures if you reach out to the station news manager as detailed earlier.

Go For The Win

Let’s be honest about this. There is press bias and any news agency denying it is living in denial. However, if they’re called on it diplomatically, you just might open a door which has been foolishly closed and lay the groundwork for changing minds — and hearts.

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