I’ve worked in the media for almost thirty years, including a five-year stint at CNN. I’ve had more drinks with J-School grads than Sky‘s had hot dinners. When it comes to guns, my media colleagues are a lost generation. The forty-something-and-above mainstream media mavens are white liberals who grew up in gun-free urban enclaves. I’ve got three words for the next generation coming through: Call of Duty. And here’s another one: internet. Not to mention that college educated thirty-somethings (and below) trust Uncle Sam like Israeli Jews trust the so-called Arab Spring. In sum, I’m getting the distinct impression that the young guns in the MSM are beginning to soften their hard line against personal firearms. [To wit: this article from Reuters raising the red flag over mental health reporting to the FBI’s NICS background check database.] Early days. But am I wrong?

88 Responses to Question of the Day: Is the Media Turning Pro-Gun?

  1. The “Call of Booty” picture is entirely uncalled for. Here I thought we were supposed to be welcoming women into the shooting sports instead of alienating them? Or is that just rhetoric now?

      • Sure, but that doesn’t mean they want to see images of trashy women. Same way I don’t want to see images of half-naked men.

        Stuff like this detracts from the overall message of this website and propagates the myth that gun owners are all male slobs.

      • It’s F*CKED. I’ll say that.

        And REALLY? You want to give the ANTI-GUN PRESS any credit? For WHAT?

        You’re a FOOL if you think they’ve budged on guns. They’re just SELLING SHIT. And part of what they sell is DISARMAMENT. Stop fooling yourself.

        • Now she’s gone. The current picture is more appropriate, but the other was more fun(ny).

      • If you’re serious, I bet if it were Angelina Jolie wearing them you’d have no objection.

        If you’re being sarcastic, I agree.

    • As much as I hate political correctness, I’m afraid I have to agree. If you want TTAG to be a sausage party, that’s a decent way to go. On the other hand, TTAG is a business, so if that’s what most of the readers want, carry on.

    • Its not about offense, its about putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Would you read TTAG if every time you loaded the page there was a good chance of seeing a man in a speedo?

      • Maybe, if it was a daily occurrence. However, it is not a recurring theme here on TTAG so ultimately you’re a touch on the easily offended side.

      • Sure. I’m not here to look at pictures. I usually scroll down right away anyway to get to the text content. Plus, this is free to access so I’m not entirely sure why you’re complaining. If you can’t get over a picture of a non obscene clothed woman or man then maybe you need to get rid of your internet service.

      • If attractive men in speedos with guns attracts female (or non-hetero male) viewers, why not? Sex sells.

        Let’s stop being prudish about the human body.

      • So in other words you skip the text and look at the pictures?
        Let us know when you graduate from Manga

      • You’re not forced to look at anything. You voluntarily clicked on a link that opened to a page you found objectionable. Don’t visit or don’t click.

        • Ah, but did any of us know, before clicking the link, that it would open a picture that might offend someone’s delicate sensibilities?

          At least it wasn’t bloody corpses.

      • Would it really matter? I mean, I’m a big boy. I’ve seen much worse things than men in Speedos, both in life and on the InterWebs, and I have survived, somehow.

        People really do have to get over themselves and let the small things go.

        Also, never put yourself in other people’s shoes; They’re smelly and have all kinds of foot fungus in ’em.

        • “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have his shoes!”

  2. Also, Farago, the only reason they care about that expanded database is because mental health advocates are concerned about it.

    They don’t give a **** about liberty. Not even the liberty of those in their own profession.

    See: David Gregory’s and other “journolists'” treatment of Glenn Greenwald.

    • Agreed the Reuters article is little about liberty and much about the mislabeling of mentally troubled who seek help as violent and crime prone.

      Given the potential for security breeches revealing patients PII, and the often apathetic incompetence of government and private activities, it is of great concern that this kind of medical information might become public.

      And would the FOIA then allow news media access to this data so they could create an interactive map of the “crazies near you”?

  3. Israeli Jews don’t trust the arab spring. Some are hopeful for it, but definitely don’t trust it.

  4. There’s a chance we’ll see increased interest due to video games, I’d even wager it’s almost guaranteed. However I would surmise that most people who would be pre-disposed against guns are less likely to play such games anyways. A tendency to liking guns is more likely to get someone to play video games, than vice-versa.

    Besides, games like call of duty encourage the mindset that only the military/police should have firearms. I’m not aware of any “armed citizen” hero games, the closest you’ll get are private security personell, or perhaps private eyes.

  5. The only thing I’ve noticed is more reporting of DGUs in the MSM, particularly home invasion DGUs. See, you have a right to keep and bear arms in your HOME (but only if you don’t have children), but don’t you DARE bring it out in the street! And now the insurance carriers are jumping on the bandwagon too–allow guns, get cancelled. No, there is still a great and overwhelming bias against guns in the press.

    • I read an article recently about the insurance flap, and TADA! Free Market to the rescue: Several of those Liberty-minded folks have dumped their insurance companies and have formed a self-insurance consortium of sorts.

  6. Regarding the question: Is the media turning? Not that I can attest to.

    Is the youth more fond of guns? Yes, along with women in particular.

    Freedom is popular.

    • It’s why the grabbers are in such a hurry to advance citizen disarmament; do it while the climate is still furtile.

  7. Only by degrees. Like from a 1 to a 2 on a 10-scale. It’s a meaningless change, if it’s even measurable.

    re: the top photo… You are one classy fvcker, RF. You might write pretty well, and you might run the biggest gun blog on the ‘net, but I wouldn’t introduce you to my mother. (And that’s not a sex joke. I mean I wouldn’t invite you to her house for dinner.)

    • I think there has been some change over the last 5-10 years. Though I would not say the mainstream media is “pro-gun” I am surprised at the number of fairly neutral pieces that come out of places like NPR and the Washington Post.

      The last time I remember gun control being a major news item over a prolonged period was the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004. I don’t remember a single mainstream media article from 2004 that wasn’t banging the drum for renewal of the AWB. So I do think there has been some improvement.

      • OK, I’ll grant you that. There have been a surprising number of neutral pieces from typically “lefty” outlets. So instead of 1 > 2, maybe we’ll go 1 > 3?

        • They run the neutral stuff to build up their credibility for when legislation is pending, then they go all-in on the anti- side.

          Watch, you’ll see.

    • where are all of you white knights coming from and why are you here if boobs and phrases like “don’t stick your dick in…” are things you find totally offensive?

      if you’re protesting to protect women, I assure you that if women are here, they should expect such honesty from real men on a gun blog. and welcome it.

      if not, then they don’t belong here, either.

  8. the future is always the next generation. Piers Morgan aside, there have been a couple of Anderson Cooper interviews where i have come away thinking he was not all that anti-gun. I also think that the fact the Obama and Holder have been bad to the 1st and 4th amendments with the spy scandals has helped. Even Piers Morgan admitted that after ridiculing the NRA for worrying about tyranny, the US government was exhibiting tyrannical behavior.

  9. Absolutely not. Liberals and their lap dogs in the media will never be pro gun, pro second amendment, or pro constitution.

  10. You are probably reading too much into these stories. Millenial journalists are very much into the same kind of personal automony found in Libertarianism. They have strong privacy concerns. However, when the subject of guns comes up without the privacy issue they will be as anti as their older collegues. Personal autonomy as currently defined, i.e., matters of sex and other forms of simulation, is available within the nanny state. Self defense is not viewed in the same way

    • Show me an anti-gun libertarian and I will show you a liberal who likes to make money. Libertarians tend to be very much pro RKBA.

      That said, outside of explicitly libertarian young journalists I agree that we shouldn’t expect much, after all the anti-gun types tend to cut the checks at news orgs.

      • Libertarians are Progressives who believe in free markets. Unfortunately their polices will lead to the election of collectivists since they favor things that increase the number of pro-socialist voters like amnesty for illegals and the abolition of marriage.

        • Sir, I take exception to your characterization of Libertarians as “progressives.” That’s as insulting as calling me a Republican or a Democrat.

          Libertarians are dedicated to Individual Liberty, and wish to restore the Constitutional Republic that our Founders intended the United States to be.

          Please feel more than welcome to educate yourself: http://www.lp.org/

        • Except that Libertarians reject the very authorities granted to the Central Government by the Constitution. They also advocate policies that will increase the number of people who will vote for statism. If Libertarians were alive in 1787 they would voted no on ratification.

      • Are they actually pro gun, or just pro-disabling all taxes and regulations that apply to rich people and corporations while allowing those same rich people and corporations to scream “free market” as they gut the contract rights of their customers and employees using collusive and oligopolistic business practices and bought off and blackmailed Judges and Legislators?

        Cuz, you know, W. was down with disarmament.

        • The evil Koch brothers unlike the angelic Soros actually product things instead of raiding third world currencies. Sounds to me that you have smoked too much weed while listening to van Jones.

        • The evil David Koch is a trustee of the Reason Foundation, that group of libertarian anarchist libertines who hate Jesus, tdiinva.

          Hate ’em now?

        • Yet another person who misses the sarcasm probably because of poor reading skills. Must be a Millennial..

        • Maybe you should get with the program and use sarc tags, gramps. You write so many ridiculous things it’s hard to know when you’re serious.

        • The weed and Van Jones should have been a dead giveaway.

          The young eventually learn that the ridiculous things old men say end up being true.

        • “Rich People and Corporations” have absolutely no power to steal from you. Only governments can do that.

        • Like that attempted re-takeover of the CATO foundation when the foundation got out of line with Koch brothers propaganda?

          Michael Moore joined the NRA once too. The Koch brothers are about as Libertarian as Bloomberg is a 2a supporter.

        • The Kochs are the latest leftwing bogeyman. I even saw one commie slander that said they were related to the infamous Nazi war criminal Ilsa Koch except the Kochs are descendants of Dutch Jews. You compare how they spend their money with George Soros. Then tell me how evil they are.

        • For a group of people advocating that anything a cop can own should be available for sale to the general public, you guys seem to be missing the importance of playing by the same rules when it comes to supposedly free contracts.

        • Blehtastic is a troll. And an idiot. Moore got an interview with roger smith right away, and he took advantage of an old man with Alzheimer’s when he knocked on Heston’s door.

  11. It is my impression that the MSM takes its Gun Rights stances from those who own the purse strings, so I do not see a shift to pro Second Amendment, pro Gun Ownership coming to the major MSM sources in the near future. It does seem that more Second Amendment, pro Gun Ownership opinion and news reporting is being generated by younger people and disseminated via the Internet. So, the potential for a major shift is there, but will take some time. I think younger people trust their own resources more than the MSM, which might mean there’s more Second Amendment, pro Gun Ownership among the larger population than is apparent at this time.

  12. I think the more significant shift of the future is that more and more people will be turning to the internet for information. The older generation doesn’t seem to consider blogs as real new sources. The younger generation does (or, it might be more accurate to say that they don’t trust network news any more than they do blogs). Leftist control over the majority of public information will begin slipping unless they take steps to more tightly regulate flow of info on the net.

  13. It’s doubtful internet games will change perceptions on guns. If anything they are most likely damaging the perception on guns by reinforcing or being influenced by the mainstream media. First of all, if those internet commandos want to start shooting real guns they’ll find out it’s harder than just pointing and shooting. On top of that, which has been covered here before, there is the phenomenon that those buyers go after the “biggest and best” hardware featured in those games and don’t usually learn the right way, such as starting off with a .22. That means they try to enter the most expensive segment of the market which decreases their ability to shoot regularly, making it harder to learn, and even less appealing. If they ever get a handle on how to shoot they won’t know what to do with it, after all, what are you supposed to do when buildings aren’t exploding and helicopters aren’t falling out of the skies? All those games bring spectacular crap right to you with spectacularly unrealistic mechanics which may lead to ridiculous expectations. Just stop in your local gun shop and listen to the “youngins”. Chances are you’ll be shaking your head before too long.

    From a purely media perspective guns in games are worse than guns in movies in my opinion. Not only are guns synonymous with bad guys, if there aren’t any bad guys there is no need for guns, but they are an outlet for morally wrong behavior, such as GTA’s leniency or leading to kill innocents. Having the user in control of the actions can help break down moral boundaries *if* the user is open to breaking those boundaries. A recent study found players that do what they deem is right in morally ambiguous situations in games activate the pleasure centers of the brain, so doing the right thing makes them feel good, but doing the wrong thing does not, and may lead to further “wrong” actions. The lack of consequences in games may also break down the boundaries of real actions. In my opinion those that are unbalanced to begin with are at risk, no media will have any impact on a balanced individual. Games and other media being used to replace parenting and especially time with parents is the danger. Letting those that created “No Russian” raise your kids is just stupid. As a personal aside, I feel I had relatively good parenting in terms of morals, I played GTA4 for about ten hours and stopped because the lazy developers did not offer any options but to kill any kind of opposition, I would have preferred more interesting options like framing someone of a crime or evading them, but I guess gangsters aren’t that smart and neither are the developers.

    Of course not all games are terrible like that, but most mainstream games fall under that category of “damaging” to gun culture. The Assassin’s Creed series punishes players for killing innocents, as well as other games. One of the more interesting games I’ve played is a sandbox mod for ArmA3 called “Stratis Life” where you play as a cop, civilian, or civilian turned terrorist. At first civs don’t get any guns, you have to save up by doing odd jobs, legal or illegal, to buy a license then buy the actual guns and ammo. It easily shows why you want to be armed, especially if a terrorist or unscrupulous civ wants to kill you for your stuff or vehicle or just wants to send a message. It’s obviously a more extreme environment because there are few consequences and there is anonymity, but it’s far more interesting than the black-and-white “kill all the baddies down the corridor” of most games. Oh, and there’s actually realistic bullet drop, wind effects, and ballistic damage modeling so you can’t just point and shoot from anywhere either.

    As for internet news; I’ve learned this latest generation will read about a topic until they die but the likelihood of them actually doing anything in the real world is rather low. This seems to be an indoor generation for the most part.

  14. Yes, you are wrong. Here’s why. It’s true that some younger folks are more comfortable around firearms these days. Pick your reason, but I think it is a true statement. However, the “Media” is not, and those young liberals who are entering the media workplace will toe the line, or they won’t work. Simple as that. The liberal groupthink is too powerful to overcome, the old school libs that dominate the media will see to it.

  15. I read Ms. Roberta Rampton’s article. Any so-called journalist who’s still using the misnomer “gun show loophole”, or regurgitating the discredited “as many as 40 percent of guns are bought at gun shows and venues where checking the NICS system is not required” lie, still doesn’t get it and still isn’t worth a lick.

    • Agreed. As far as I’m concerned, anytime a journalist uses “common sense,” “gun-show loophole” (unless it has “so-called” in front of it), or “40 percent,” that’s a dog whistle indication to me that I should just stop reading and move on, unless I plan on arguing with them.

      • Ya arguing is tiring, cause its just running in circles, and I hate running. But I’m sure someday (they them it) will convince me that the 2nd amendment and the bill of rights aren’t about individual freedom but collective rights, you know the “right of the militia”, and that the government gets to decide how and when they see fit to allow us worker ants to express those rights.

  16. I am afraid of this generation COD… My 9 year old son loves the series and is allowed to play it but under the condition I educate him about what real life is and firearm awareness. I have a friend whose son joined the Army because he thought playing Airsoft made him a super soldier… After crying to his mom every week while in boot camp and crying to his mom when he was stationed in Alaska and then crying to his mom when he was sent to Afghanistan and now he’s crying a lot because he was blown up by an IED and caught shrapnel on the entire left side of his body…. Real life needs to be a subject in school. Take your kids out hunting show them the devastation of what a firearm can do. It doesn’t matter what kind of life is taken it’s still a life. Just my 200 grain on Generation COD

  17. I’m assuming most people on this blog are a bit older than me, so ill share my experience as a 19 year old attending college.

    The vast majority of people are pro gun. Infact I have trouble keeping supplied for range trips to introduce new people. Later this month I am also helping one person decide on their next purchase by attending a gun show with them.
    The most anti gun thing I have actually heard so far is no new for assault rifle junk and have actually changed one persons mind about then.

    BUT
    I attend school in Texas so it might be a bit skewed

    • My wife worked at a University to have her Masters degree paid for, so she has plenty of experience with the students and the faculty she’s shared with me over the years. In our experience most of the students are young, dumb, and liberal. Typically students sit somewhere on the left because they don’t have any life experience, money, and are overly idealistic. I can’t count the times I have heard the phrases “why does anyone need an assault rifle”, and “only the police should have guns”. After a while I didn’t say anything other than “I disagree”. It makes sense for them to say that; they have a dedicated police force that monitors the five-mile area they live in, they have no money to buy a gun, they have nowhere to store or shoot a gun, they have no one to teach them how to operate a gun, they have nothing of value to protect, no one depends on them, and they want to single-handedly destroy the corporate hate machine agenda of global war with their love. Then they leave campus after getting their degree or dropping out and find out the world isn’t all puppies and rainbows, but they still probably have no money to buy a gun or desire to learn to use one. Besides, why would you need a gun unless you plan to commit a crime? Only bad guys and Mil/LEO have guns in the movies and they don’t fit in either category.

      “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

      If you, and most of your classmates, were raised on the right and/or had some gun training it would be a different story. Around here that usually isn’t the case (thanks in part to unions).

      • Your post got me thinking that it might have something to do with my school. I go to the university of Houston so the majority of people attending are either paying their way through or are only in school because of a scholarships.

        Alot of them are actually liberal but also fine with guns.

        The amount if people I’ve talked to it about is easily 40+

      • “… they have no money to buy a gun, they have nowhere to store or shoot a gun, they have no one to teach them how to operate a gun, they have nothing of value to protect, …”

        This is exactly the problem and it isn’t just young people.

        The costs of shooting – hunting license fees, gun and ammo prices, gas to get out of the city and shoot – have gone through the roof.

        We all know how frustrating and discouraging the licensing obstacles the blue states have put up are to people who are already into guns. How many people who’ve never shot a gun will pay a $200 for fingerprinting and a class for a hobby they don’t even know they like yet?

        Just finding a place to shoot outdoors is a long drive for tens of millions of people and every year of sprawling development makes it longer. For urbanites without a car, shooting your own gun is close to impossible. (Noticed what the same people who hate guns are trying to do to cars?)

        In the long run, we are boned and there’s no way around it.

  18. You might be onto something and yet America’s demographics are fast changing to include immigrants and their kids so I’m not sure what to predict.

  19. I dont follow the MSM to have an opinion but when I was vacationing in Destin, FL last April, I was pleasantly surprised to see gun related commercials on TV. One was for a range (in Pensacola I think) and the other I cant remember, maybe a place that offers CCW.

  20. Once the recent J-school grads realize that they may never have a decent job in the industry unless the toe the party line, they’ll be as anti-gun as they are pro-money.

  21. Anecdotally I’ve had experiences with youth whose sole exposure to guns has been COD or other games who seem to have little to no interest in the real thing, perhaps even a bit put off by an actual gun.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen eyes look up from smart phones and ear buds pulled out when they realized that for the investment of a few minutes of basic safety instruction they could actually pick up and handle, even learn to use the types of arms they’ve seen in the games.
    I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “It’s heavier than I thought” or “Is that really all there is too it?” After being show how the weapon operates. Usually these comments come through looks of awe and grins of excitement.
    I recall my own youth and experiences with firearms, and they were extensive. It was a generally permissive environment in which it was understood that by a certain age you understood the safety aspects. Now, some of the older kids and teens that I’ve handed weapons to may not have ever touched a real gun before I handed them mine, and so I segregate ammo, clear the weapon myself before showing them how and give everyone a primer on safety before I hand it over. Still I strive for that zero preach, permissive environment that I remember loving so much, and recall how the experience could turn south in a hurry if the adults attitudes made it negative.
    Bringing out the real guns and being willing to discuss them both in the real world but also in the context that kids are familiar with, the video games opens communication about responsibility and safety, about violence, and can make for forming fast friendships. It also helps some gun deprived youth to realize that any perfectly normal person might own guns for perfectly normal reasons. That people who own guns might in fact be responsible, fun, informative and not necessarily rednecks, nut jobs and whatever other stereotypes they’ve absorbed.
    As for the games themselves opening doors to those who have grown up in gun free, liberal enclaves and then been sent to liberal boot camp (journalism school), I have grave doubts. If anything I recall people in general and particularly young people being more comfortable with and open about guns 20 years ago than now. I don’t think the gamers are inoculated against the media hype or the disarmament agenda to any special degree. It takes gun owning parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, real people to get young people involved in actual shooting sports with real guns to do that. You can’t convince someone who grew up shooting clays or plinking with .22’s on weekends or hunting with their parent that having a gun is wrong or will somehow make them flip out and start killing people.

  22. Hmmm. Well i had a weird experience in January during the height of Newtown push. I go to Rutgers university behind enemy lines in NJ and i was in a large class of roughly 130 people when the subject of guns arose. I readied my mind and body and prepared for a 129-1 battle over the 2nd amendment, when suddenly my professor, who clearly had no idea wtf he was talking about in regards to firearms (the terms “semi-automatic ammunition” and “magazine clips” came up) began talking to the class about the proposed AWB. He learned and read about the law and, knowing nothing of firearms, said openly to the class that it was the silliest thing he’d ever heard of after he found out they were defining guns by cosmetic features. He then asked the class of our opinion and asked if any of us thought anything congress was proposing would actually prevent crime or another Newtown and no one thought so out of 130 people. In a New Jersey public university with a completely diverse classroom, black, white, indian, arab, you name it. Now it could’ve been that the class, being young people had no fucking idea that Newtown even happened or even knew what congress was, but i found that stunning. Maybe my generation is pro-gun. I saw a Reason/Rupe poll around that time that said 70% of my generation opposed the AWB. We’ll have to wait and see, what i can tell you is that i know my generation, left and right, are very skeptical of the government and its power.

  23. I’m still a bit puzzled at the total lack of media attention to the fact that the Associated Press had been illegally wiretapped by the administration. But maybe they have Stockholm Syndrome.

    • My diagnosis is Battered Lefty Syndrome. Like the girl who gets beaten to a pulp but always goes back to her boyfriend. Because he’s all she’s got.

      Even worse, they’re in cahoots, and don’t really mind taking one for the team if it furthers the police state they’re more than happy to help create. Never underestimate the hive mind of the Left.

      That said, if Robert is right about the media’s attitude toward guns, it’s a glacial pace type change, and has much to do with their getting thrashed after putting all their credibility on the line for the Democrats. Maybe it’s more like battle fatigue. But we can always hope.

  24. It seems to me many people do not understand those who write for the MSM or speak the words that flow across their teleprompters. Journalists indulge themselves in the fantasy that their advocacy of the values of the owning class make them part of the owning class, rich by proxy. If you vacation with the owning class you won’t find much objection to guns in the hands of “the right sort.” The MSM anti-gun stance is purely an anti-plebeians-with-guns stance. Those who style themselves elite and fancy their lives are worth more than others’ are simply appalled that the man in the street could have a gun. “What if we need to slap him around a bit to save the banks or impose austerity for them (but not for us)?” The world of the educated-but-not-rich is fraught with insecurity and entails disdain for the average citizen, aka ‘slob.’ They are ambitious, and are imbued only with that morality, compliance with which does not cost them a penny.

  25. My father did not own a gun.
    My teenage brothers (I’m tenth of twelve) collectively owned two bolt action 22s.
    One single shot with a pull back firing pin like a Cricket, the other with, as we called it, a seven shot “CLIP”. Probably a Marlin.
    A crow or two, chipmunks, tin cans, bottles and the air vent stack on top of the cement silo, were the usual targets. No politics, no agenda, no right or wrong, gun are bad, just go shootn’ once in a while. The gun cabinet was made by my grandfather and attached to the wall high enough that a young child would need a tall chair to even look at the combo padlock. Safety was learned both by passive observation of behavior and attitude and stern big brother verbal whoopn’s if you didn’t observe the 4 bigs.
    So the gun thing, I didn’t know any better. Now there isn’t that “matter of fact” exposer to firearms for urban and suburban kids to where most of the population is. Their liberal parents have taught them the fear that a feral mother cat teaches her kittens about dogs. Hiss,Hiss.
    Maybe the MSM is only a mirror and if so, to preserve gun rights we have to somehow raise the current generation of kittens to love dogs or at least not be afraid of them.
    And as ropingdown, from above suggest, news is thugs with guns, not 2A guys at the range, so the mirror is cracked.

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