11 Tips For Journalists Who Want To Cover Guns Like Old School Objective Reporters

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Just in time for the NRA convention — or frankly any time of the year — a Guns Save Life member submitted this list of suggestions to me for reporters who want to be real reporters.  As opposed to shills who simply regurgitate the talking points from a press release from an anti-gun group.

I. Avoid photographing sporting shooters or hunters from dangerous positions, such as from in front of the firearm, no matter how good the photograph would be. The golden rule is to never point a firearm, loaded or empty, at anyone.

II. Do your research and ask the right questions of all parties when you conduct interviews. There are objective facts and figures behind every firearm-related issue.

III. Refer to firearms by their correct name. Unless used as such, they are no more of a ‘weapon’ than a knife or brick, so check the correct terminology if you need clarification.

IV. There is a big difference between a semi-automatic rifle and a machine gun just as there is a substantial difference between a revolver and a semi-automatic handgun. Learn the difference.

V. Get both sides of the story and avoid emotionalizing an article. Maintain your credibility by talking to lobby groups, environmental groups, the government, police and gun organizations where appropriate.

VI. Remember that firearms laws do not affect illegal firearm activities.  Gun laws have the greatest impact on people who legally purchase and own firearms rather than criminals who have their own sources of firearms outside of the legal network for obtaining firearms.

VII. Recognize that each state operates under different firearms and hunting laws.  While some issues are widespread, other issues such as purchasing regulations or the storage or transportation of firearms fall under varied legislation depending on your location.

VIII. Avoid bringing emotion into reporting of animal hunts or culls.  Hunting is one of many effective animal population management tools utilized by both local and state governments, hunters and landowners. All methods, including trapping, poisoning and hunting, have their pros and cons, but together, they form part of a necessary measure.

IX. Do not assume hunters have no respect for the animals they are hunting.  Hunting is usually performed as either a pest animal control method or in a hunter-gatherer role similar to fishing. Hunters maintain a close connection with their environment and have a great appreciation for all wildlife. Many hunters, particularly lower income hunters, are dependent on the meat to help feed their families.

X. Realize the dangers of comparing firearms issues in the United States with those of other countries. The United States has a unique history, culture, which have created a relationship to firearms and their government different from any other country. It is unwise, considering the stark difference between the countries and the status of the aforementioned elements to assume that American gun owners would react to Australian type gun confiscations similar to the way Australian gun owners did.

XI. If in doubt, ask for help.  Gun organizations often have a number of people who can be interviewed for stories or even to provide advice or clarification on firearms and related issues. If asked, they may be willing to provide demonstrations or even allow reporters to experience the use of firearms.

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I don’t know if there should be a number twelve on this list, but my advice for reporters is to lose the smug condescension towards gun owners. I remember a few short years ago in the run-up to the 2016 election, the AP wanted to interview me for a national story about gun owners’ views on Donald Trump – including women gun owners.

I sat down for an interview with the AP reporter at the local library along with Guns Save Life’s then Vice-President Adrienne Logue. The reporter challenged everything we said and treated us both with more than a dash of condescension, treating us like rubes and rednecks.

Not only that, but in the interview, he just couldn’t fathom how gun owners could support Donald Trump. He then tried to assert that old talking point that there are actually a lot fewer gun owners in America, they’re just buying more guns.

I explained how the number of FOID card holders in Illinois had, at that time, nearly doubled in the eight years of Barack Obama’s reign. When he insisted I didn’t know what I was talking about (about guns or gun owner views on Trump), I responded by saying that his willful ignoring of reality and desire to push a narrative was why fewer and fewer Americans consume the mainstream media’s product…we simply don’t trust their reporting.

Fast forward a year or so later. He was a lot more humble, asking for an interview about something else germane to guns in Illinois, this time for a public broadcasting company. Seems the AP had let him go along with a number of others as part of declining revenues for the Associated Press.

It proved my point that it wasn’t gun owners who were in decline, but instead the establishment media.

comments

  1. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

    Do we still have objective journalism? The big papers seem to all hire from a handful of schools that teach propaganda as journalism. Only local papers sometimes hire someone that doesn’t know what lies to tell.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Did we ever? The Spanish American war was whipped up by completely fabricated lies from the Hurst papers, and that was at the *very* beginning of big journalism.

      1. avatar Phil Wilson says:

        ^this. It may indeed be getting worse, but the availability of alternative sources makes us more aware. My red pill came pretty early on when I learned of the existence of CSPAN. I watched a House session, then later watched an ABC news discussion about the same session. “Hey, that doesn’t match up, what gives?”

        1. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

          Of course with the attempts to restrict content on the internet alternative sources may dry up and we will be back to a single narrative allowed on every platform.

        2. avatar drunkEODguy says:

          Same sorta thing happened to my wife. Watched presidential addresses from Barak and then later from DJT. She started realizing, “they really play favorites don’t they”. Yes, yes they do sweetheart.

  2. avatar VicRattlehead says:

    Anyone care to venture a guess as to how many ‘journalists’ will actually heed ANY of this advice? Lol!!!

    1. avatar Augustus says:

      Zero, Vic. Today’s “journalists” went into the field to “make a difference.”
      There’s no attempt by such people to be neutral. They leave out facts that do not support their political beliefs, and give their group ideas as fact.

  3. avatar DaveL says:

    XI. If in doubt, ask for help

    If you were educated in mainstream academia, and inducted into mainstream journalistic culture, and you’re not in doubt about guns, you bloody well should be. Chances are most, if not all, of what you know about guns with such great certainty isn’t true.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    I went to a college known for its journalism program and as such had many acquaintances there to study just that. I don’t know what the fields was like in the golden age if there ever was one but I got the impression in the 2000’s the field was home to every self-righteous and opinionated yet ignorant and sheltered, emotionally stunted mental patient in the northeast.

    They awoke each day offended and it was their assignment to pin the cause of that offense on someone or something by the end of that day then cry themselves to sleep while patting themselves on the back.

    Strange to see such self-loathing paired with intense narcissism but they made it work.

  5. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    There’s a lot of assumptions regarding the media with this article.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Exactly Ranger Rick, agree 100%.

      At this point in time, I would say at least 90% of journalists, reporters, news anchors, correspondents, announcers, commentators, and pundits are propagandists. Even worse, they don’t seem to experience any shame about it.

      That being the case, the overwhelming majority of media mouthpieces have little (if any) interest in accuracy or facts. All they care about is advancing their agenda and they will do pretty much anything, including misrepresenting what people say and even outright fabricating pure fiction, if they believe it will help their cause.

  6. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Next week – Tips for leprechauns who want to share their wealth.

    1. avatar GapharmD says:

      Dat dar funny

  7. avatar David Deplorable says:

    The mainstream media is beyond help. Fake news!

    Your tips? Pearls Before Swine

  8. avatar strych9 says:

    The strange thing is that I don’t think many of them will listen to this because they don’t think they’re pushing a narrative. It’s not a narrative, it’s “the truth” and they KNOW this. Most of them have no idea that there are opinions other than their own out there that are actually informed by something other than meth, poor dentistry and a not-super-ugly family member of the opposite sex. These people all go to the same schools, hang out in the same cocktail circuit and take vacations to the same places filled with people who think the same way. Their vacation is usually to another cocktail circuit that’s the same as the one they left in DC or Manhatten or LA.

    As such they live in a bubble. I mean Chris Wallace covered the 2016 Republican National Convention and was shocked that people could carry guns openly in Ohio. Regular old people! Not cops! However, he was smart enough to realize and humble enough to say that the only reason it shocked him was because he had never thought about the idea of regular people carrying guns because he’s been living in DC for decades.

    You find this a lot with the Lefties. I’ve had a lot of them tell me I need to get out of my red-state-trailer-park-shithole, stop fucking my sister and travel outside the United States to “gain an understanding”. “Have you ever even considered going to Paris?” Yeah, been there a few times. Have you ever been to Harare, Montevideo or Gaborone? How about Cincinnati? That gets met with blank stares. They don’t even know where Uruguay is and they would NEVER lower themselves to the point of traveling to Cinci. That’s in the Midwest, like by Somalia or some shit.

    Point being, they live in a bubble and travel to other bubbles just like the one they left behind. They’re not nearly as well educated or worldly as they think they are. They’ve never seen actual poverty or people armed to the fucking teeth with real machine guns but who are begging for a bag of rice. Their view of the world is entirely informed by the fact that everywhere they go they run into people like them because they don’t go anywhere new. As such they know exactly fuck all about how the world functions outside tourist areas that cater to exactly the type of person they are and so they think that everyone with half a brain agrees with them because they’ve never met anyone who doesn’t hold their “elite” views and assume that anyone who does hold other views is uneducated and untraveled. It’s never occurred to them that if they traveled to other place and talked to other people in different situations they might actually come away with a different view and that some of the people who disagree with them actually have done this.

    They rank how educated they are by what they paid for the degree rather than what they actually learned and how experienced they are by mileage rather than where they went and what they did there.

    1. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

      Not only that, but opinions that disagree with the leftwing coastal elites are hate speech meaning you are supposed to hate someone who says them. And if someone mentions the constitution that person is probably a racist or white supremacist.

      I wonder how long the Midwest and coasts can share a government before disagreements become less civil. They’re already trying to flip our states blue by flooding them with Hispanics. Will our culture allow itself to die in silence or will we make a major show of resistance?

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        That’s an emotional defense of their position, it’s irrational but they cannot see it.

        See my response to Shire-man below.

    2. avatar Shire-man says:

      Joe Bob Briggs had an article about that very thing a couple of months ago. He said when he first got into showbiz everyone he met said “Joe Bob, you need to get out of Kentucky and see the cosmopolitan world” and so he did. He concluded that these Hollywood lefties needed to get out of their cosmopolitan bubbles and see Kentucky.

      It’s enlightening to realize all the assholes demanding you leave your bubble are locked in their own but their heads are so far up their asses they can’t or won’t see it.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I wouldn’t really say that their heads are so far up their asses that they can’t see it.

        They’ve been educated to see the world a certain way. We all have to one degree or another. That’s why different cultures are a thing. It’s getting outside the bubble and seeing things that don’t jive with your education and experience-to-date that show you that other people think differently and sometimes do so for a valid reason.

        The issue becomes that when you’re taught that your own particular way of doing things is absolutely 100% unquestionably superior in every possible way to any other pattern of thought that you run into what amounts to a learned form of arrogance. That arrogance is reinforced by an entire system that says “Our way is so superior that there is no reason to even think of stepping out of the bubble” which means that people don’t step out of the bubble and get another viewpoint.

        It’s a prison built in their heads. The walls are invisible which makes the whole situation frustrating for them and for anyone with a different point of view because there is nothing concrete to point to and say “See, this is why we disagree”. It’s also a very, very effective prison because the people don’t realize that they’re in it and will emotionally defend it. Which is why I keep harping on advertising, to try to break down that emotional barrier so that we can get them out of that prison. Until they are emotionally ready to do that, via being softened up by proper advertising, they will defend their own prison as not being a prison the same way some guy will defend having a shitty car when he can afford a better one because the one he has is “the right brand”.

    3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Hey, Strych –

      How did that long-assed comment you just made not trigger the “You have been blocked by TTAG” bullshit?

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I’ve been playing with it.

        One of the things it really doesn’t like is any html formatting incorporated in your text. That often sets it off immediately. If you use, say italics or bold or the strikethrough, and break up the message then it will sometimes allow a certain amount of it and force you to break the comment before the next use of any formatting. Other times it seems to depend on what formatting you use. It might allow a single use of italics but never allow a strike usage.

        I just stopped formatting with that and now it doesn’t much seem to matter as long as you don’t write a huge fucking book or repeat the same word too much, both of which it seems to mark as spam.

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          How are you doing italics and bold? There are multiple ways, but I’ve used lots of both without ever getting spammed. I use “em” (emphasis) for italics and “strong” for bold. Formatting is the same as always, with angle brackets around, and a slash to turn it off.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          I had been using the single letters, i for italics, b for bold, etc for most of it.

          Yesterday using anything with brackets more than a couple times in a post would get you blocked from posting the comment until you 1) removed enough of the formatting to satisfy the site or 2) cut the post up so that the formatting remained but in multiple posts. That solved some of it but if you tried to post something with no formatting that was too long it would make you cut that up too. How long was too long seemed to vary with how long it had been since your previous post.

          I haven’t bothered using any of it at all today because it wasn’t worth my time to fully test it/see if the issue had been resolved.

          Earlier in the day yesterday it wasn’t a problem so I sort of assumed it was an update issue and would be resolved eventually. For yesterday I just cut the posts up.

  9. avatar RGP says:

    That conflicts with what is taught in Chairman Mao’s School of Journalism.

  10. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “VI. Remember that firearms laws do not affect illegal firearm activities. Gun laws have the greatest impact on people who legally purchase and own firearms rather than criminals who have their own sources of firearms outside of the legal network for obtaining firearms.”

    Remember that firearms laws are unConstitutional as the Bill of Rights are prohibitions of government on those rights,so there is no story.

  11. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Oh, and read The Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act BEFORE you even think of accusing people of no concern for wildlife, flora or fauna. ps Around 1900 there was about 500,000Whitetailed deer east of the Mississippi. It was concerned hunters who worked to get it back to where several states harvest 300,000 plus per YEAR. The 11 are very important. Just because you think you’re an expert doesn’t mean you are.

  12. avatar MojoMedicineMan says:

    Positive article, thanks.

  13. avatar Bob Wyman says:

    The media could not care less about any of this and that only proves that total confiscation is what anti-gun people want and the media wants that story! Facts only help when one is in conversation with a peer, nobody is going quit mothers demand everytown etc by listening to facts. Most are simply terrified of firearms and enjoy the company of like-minded and it disguises their phobia.
    It is disgustingly amusing to hear reporters make wild claims on camera but when corrected they show no enlightenment…

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