Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Guns and the Press

A couple of stories leapt out at me today.

The first is from Clayton Cramer's blog where he details the way in which USA Today falsified a news account to remove a reference to the fact that a man on a rampage with a knife was stopped by a citizen and his privately held firearm. In the USA Today story the knife-weilder was "tackled", not stopped by a man with a gun. Cramer also stresses that the AP source for the story on USA Today also referenced the gun; so this isn't a case of accidental misreporting but a clear attempt to deceive the public with false information. Where I come from, that's called lying. The story has since been updated with a little thing called the facts, no doubt following complaints.

The second is from The Other Side. Kim du Toit fisked a piece about the dreaded "cop-killer" FN Five.Seven handgun. The NY1 story reported statistics by Queen's District Attorney Richard Brown, who claimed that the recently introduced gun was responsible for the deaths of 425 cops between '94 and '03.
Kim du Toit checked the "facts" and send off an email challenging the claims (the gun in question was only introduced in 2000 and only then to LEOs). To his surprise, and mine I might add, NY1 responded, admitting that the statistics made no sense and they also removed the story from their website, to their credit. They said that they had given credit to the information, seeing as how it had come from law enforcement.

So there we have it- two obvious instances of deliberate attempts to decieve- to lie- to the public on the issdues of guns; once by a major news outlet and once by a District Attorney. While the stories have since been corrected I have to wonder how many people will only have seen the original stories; and taken them at face value? The damage has already been done.

UPDATE - Kevin at Smallest Minority has much more on the subject.

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