John Lott on the consistently inaccurate reporting surrounding “gun violence” incidents. What Lott’s too polite to say is that the media have a rooting interest in presenting these incidents they way they do. So don’t look for anything to change any time soon.
After the Virginia Beach attack, The Wall Street Journal noted, “In Virginia, it is legal to carry guns into public buildings, with a few exceptions.” While literally true, it is completely misleading not to explain that one of those exceptions forbids Virginia Beach employees from carrying guns in public buildings.
The national media also ignores stories of armed private citizens stopping would-be mass public shootings. On the rare occasions that they do cover the stories, they get them wrong.
There have been dozens of such cases in recent years. Last fall, at a back-to-school event in Titusville, Florida, more than 200 students were present when a man started firing his gun at people. Fortunately, a vendor with a concealed handgun permit stepped in and shot the attacker, seriously injuring him. “This person stepped in and saved a lot of people’s lives,” said Titusville Police Sgt. William Amos. “He’s a hero.”
The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is another case, but the media coverage was completely wrong. After a concealed handgun permit holder stopped a killer who was shooting black people at a Kroger grocery store in Louisville, Kentucky, national media outlets, such as ABC and NBC News, noted that the killer told another white man, “Whites don’t kill whites.” It sounded as if the killer was merely reassuring a bystander that he had nothing to worry about. But they left out the crucial first part of the quote. The killer said, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.” The other white person was pointing a permitted concealed handgun at the killer.
With biased news coverage like this, it is hardly surprising that people want to ban guns. The media’s refusal to talk about the dangers of gun-free zones has a huge impact on the gun control debate. They refuse to provide balanced reporting that doesn’t fit their agenda.
– John Lott in Why balanced reporting about guns is crucial