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Interviewers are supposed to be objective. No wait, that’s not it. They’re supposed to be antagonistic. To treat all interviewees as if they’re lying. Which is, more often than not, true. There are two ways to satisfy the remit: assemble people on either side of an issue and let them present their case, or ask tough questions. Here we see msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell feeding the Brady Campaign to Prevent Violence underhand lobs, letting them squirm away from unpalatable (for them) reality and failing to get to the meat of the matter. Let’s break it down . . .

Mitchell starts by saying that the Clackamas shooting is “only the latest in [a] series of mass shootings.” It’s a standard media meme: this event (whatever it may be) is part of a trend. Ideally, a worsening trend like, say, global warming. Or the Syrian conflict. Or anything, really.

Truth be told, mass shootings stretch back to the invention of gunpowder. While it doesn’t make Clackamas any less of a tragedy, there’ve been dozens of mass shootings in Mexico during the last five years. Not to mention what the media doesn’t mention (or know about) in Africa. India. The Philippines. And elsewhere.

Anyway, the gun control industry loves this “another spree killing” meme. In fact, they depend on it. Have done for years. I mean, they can’t very well say something must be done if something doesn’t need to be done. If things are getting better, what’s the point of new gun control laws?

And things are getting better, in terms of violent crime stats in the U.S. So a “mass shooting”—a dubious term here applied to an incident where less people were killed than many drunk driving accidents—is a welcome opportunity for The Brady Campaign and their ilk to wave the bloody shirt.

Mitchell proceeds by taking the Second Amendment off the table. Says so in as many words: “We’re not talking about Second Amendment rights. We’re talking about reasonable background checks.”

Surprising, Mr. Gross is down with that. Here as elsewhere, he’s saying that the Second Amendment protects firearms ownership for hunting, recreation and . . . wait for it . . . self-defense. No question: the goal posts have shifted.

To that end, Gross quickly moves on to his talking point: we need to make the 40 percent of gun sales not subject to a federal background checks subject to federal background checks.

To her credit, Mitchell points out that Clackamas killer Jacob Roberts would have passed a federal background check. Brady counsel John Lowy pushes that inconvenient truth to one side and urges Andrea and her viewers to “look at the big picture.”

Which Gross paints as Americans clamoring for an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban. More to the point: close the private sales loophole! ‘Cause “every day there are convicted felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill who don’t get any background check at all.”

Which is the point that any good interviewer would ask what difference would that make? Where’s the evidence that background checks prevent mass shootings or homicides or suicide (which account for over half of Gross’ “daily murder” stats)?

I don’t expect Andrea Mitchell or her suport staff to [want to] know the stats on the subject. But they are just a quick Google search away. To wit this [via John Lott at]:

Take the numbers for [FBI firearms-related criminal background checks in] 2008, the latest year with data available. The 78,906 initial denials resulted in only 147 cases involving banned individuals trying to purchase guns being referred to prosecutors. Of those 147 cases, prosecutors thought the evidence was strong enough to prosecute only 105, and they won convictions in just 43. But few of these 43 cases involved career criminals or those who posed real threats. The typical case was someone who had a misdemeanor conviction for an offense he didn’t realize prevented him from buying a gun.

Ms. Mitchell (and the person responsible for msnbc’s subtitles) fails to understand the difference between online firearms sales involving an FFL and private sales to individuals who connect via the internet. It’s a conflation of commercial exchanges that the Brady Campaign is actively encouraging.

Which raises—or should raise—another question. The question. Why do some law-abiding, gun owning Americans oppose background checks on private sales?

Background checks put the government in the middle of a private transaction involving citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Whether it’s a fear of registration and confiscation or just a natural aversion to Big Brother intrusion, law-abiding Americans want Uncle Sam to butt out of private firearms sales.

Failing to mention or (Heaven forfend) ask the Brady Boyz about this opposing point-of-view makes the interview a farce.

Once upon a time, the Big Three networks’ news divisions weren’t for sale. Once upon a time, they tried hard to stock their newsrooms with hard-nosed journos. I’m not convinced they succeeded as much as they thought they did, but at least the news divisions paid lip service to the concept of objectivity.

It depresses me that Al Jazeera is now the home of “proper” interviews. Then again, the Internet. The Internet changes everything, as both the Brady Campaign and Andrea Mitchell know. Whether they like it or not.

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  1. Al Jazeera news is a million times better than US domestic news. The interviews on the American networks are a joke. The only ones who come close to asking real questions and calling out bullshit are the people on CSPAN, and they are limited by a mandate (from Brian Lamb, not congress) to be irreproachably non-partisan.

  2. Where do the gun grabbers come up with the 40% number, anyway? That seems like one of those statistics that would be really difficult to get an accurate number on. I’ve sold (used/ second-hand) guns to people without requiring them to pass a background check, but it was always to people I knew anyway. So what’s the big deal? Seems to be that folks that are inclined to break the law anyway by selling the gun to a felon would not be deterred by a law that requires backgrounds checks.

  3. It doesn’t matter if interviewers are biased. The interviewee most likely will lie in various ways. An unbiased reporter can question a person with contradictory facts all night. The average viewer won’t know the difference or take the time to do some research of their own.

  4. “…an incident where less people were killed than many drunk driving accidents…”

    Fewer people, not less. If you can count it (people, birds, cars), the usage is fewer. If you can’t (humanity, wildlife, traffic), the usage is less. The only major exceptions are increments of time, money, and distance, for which it is customary to use less, even though they are countable.

    This has been your “Grammar Minute” for Friday, December 14th, 2012.

    Why yes, I am great fun at parties; why do you ask?

  5. The goal posts have not been moved. Instead they are going to try to lull the moderate gun supporters into a false sense of security who might otherwise clench at obvious attempts to dismantle the 2nd amendment. Instead the Brady gang and their minions are going to rub our backs and tell us to relax as they slip their agenda slowing into our ARSE!

  6. You should look up the footage from Alan Gottlieb of the SAF on Piers Morgan from a couple days ago. Piers tells him to be quiet in the middle of it and it ends with Gottlieb just laughing.

    • Piers did the same thing to John Lott. Put them on so he could foam at the mouth, without letting them get in more than one or two complete sentences in the entire segment.

  7. Now that Big O is back in the gun control issues is front and center all of a sudden. Andrea is giving the Brady Bunch handjobs not underhand lobs.

    • Like the preacher in Blazing Saddles said: ” Are we accomplishing anything here…Or are we just jerking off??”
      We will probably never change the media/Anti’s minds about gun control issues.
      What would be nice is if we, the 2nd Amendment Supporters, could get a reporter on major tv networks to do interviews with both pro and anti gun people with real honest provable facts and stats, and actually be able to prove them wrong on National TV and not have to go to commercial break every time you prove them wrong!!

  8. Fifty years ago, the American mass media’s objectivity and quest for the facts was far from perfect. However, it was far better than it is today. It is ironic that currently ‘RT’ Russian Today News generally offers much better detailed and honest coverage of what is going on in the world and America than American mass media.

    • I keep hearing about RT from the last people I would expect to have good things to say about a Russian news outlet. Might need to look into it.

      • I would suspect that American news media tells more truth about Russia than Russian media, and Russian media is more truthful than American media about America.

    • Russia today is a awesome news source. I love how they call the money-out-of-thin-air kleptocrats and government tyrants out.

      if you ever want to know whats really going on in the economy, switch fox and cnn off and listen to Paul Craig Roberts on RT.

  9. Giving the government more oversight over firearms purchases invites legislation infringing on the 2A. We are doing them a favor by opposing these actions since the SCOTUS will most likely issue another smackdown, next time it might be the gun owners version of Roe V Wade.

    Funny how decisions liberals want are jammed down our throats while those they don’t are ignored, excepted, or reinterpreted as they wish. The only way to shut these people up is precedent and lots of it.

    They are all praying for a SCOTUS pick so they can start getting some 5-4 victories. That’s easier than legislation and far more permanent.

  10. Todays news services are a joke. There is so much bias that I don’t really trust any of them. CNN is bad, NBC News (formerly MSNBC) is bad. Fox is biased too. I miss the good old days that I’ve read about where journalists had integrity and didn’t let their bias influence their reporting. If you found out something that disagreed with your bias, you still reported it without spin. Where did the integrity go?

    • Based on what I’ve about Hearst and the other head honchos of his era, they were just more subtle about it back then. The Internet is giving us more news sources, more inputs, more points of view.

      And editors are getting lazier about hiding their bias.

  11. Let’s turn this around. Assume, for the sake of argument, that 40% statistic. Then ask, where is all the blood in the streets? If this really is how mass killers get their guns, then why do so many of the reports end up admitting it wasn’t the gun show loophole which enabled their purchase, but a screwed up medical report at best, and usually there was nothing in their background which would have denied the purchase?

    They can’t have their cake and eat it too. Either the gun show loophole is harmless, or there are thousands of killings of which we know nothing.

  12. The news media isn’t about truth. It’s about news. As in *new.* And they’ve come to realize a fundamental truth about human nature: we’re storytellers. We think in terms of stories. So that’s what they’re all really doing, is telling stories.

    Back in the good old days (were they really that good?), there was at least an ethic of truthful storytelling. You can’t expect anyone to be completely unbiased, but they did usually try. News stories now are a calculated business model, nothing more.

  13. Usual superficial lib thinking, address the symptoms and not the disease. Figure out why this kid took this final step. You’ll find out it’s same lib thinking that are causing the decline of civilization in general. Do they even stop to see if any the policies, laws, and regulations they implement are effective, or worse, counterproductive?

  14. There are plenty of things sold that the government gets involved in, and adding face-to-face gun sales to them doesn’t particularly irk me (provided the resources needed are made available to private sellers). Real estate, automobiles, certain pharmaceuticals…


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