In The Gun Epidemic: The Making of a Page 1 Editorial, New York Times editor Andrew Rosenthal [above] has written a self-congratulatory post explaining the paper’s decision to publish an anti-gun rights editorial on their front page. It offers insight on the decision-making process that makes the Times the leading light of civilian disarmament. Before I expose the “thinking” that led to the The Gray Lady’s editorial End the Gun Epidemic in America, I want you to know one thing: the paper’s publisher has a New York City concealed carry permit – a “privilege” only bestowed on the Big Apple’s richest and most powerful residents. What else needs saying? This, apparently . . .
The day after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, [publisher] Arthur [Sulzberger] was in my office. Would it be possible, he asked, for us to go bananas on guns for a while? (He actually used an earthier expression than bananas.) I said yes, and mobilized our editorial writers. In the next month, we published about 15 editorials on the subject of guns, gun violence and gun regulation.
I’m thinking the term “Punch” used was “ape shit.” More to the point, Rosenthal doesn’t see the need to mention the fact that all of these editorials called for more gun control. While I don’t begrudge a newspaper its right to bias its editorials in whatever direction it sees fit, the Times touts itself as an objective voice. The fact that its publisher launched an anti-gun rights jihad – also reflected in its “news” coverage of the Sandy Hook and subsequent spree killings – puts paid to that myth. We can see this anti-gun rights tunnel vision in this passage, as well . . .
We talked about the idea in some detail last Thursday. On the con side, there was the argument about separation of news and opinion. We also talked about the possibility, which later came to pass, that the killers in San Bernardino could be Muslims with some kind of tie to international terrorist groups, like the Islamic State, or at least sympathetic to those groups and their sadistic agenda. Would a gun control editorial seem appropriate?
So the the paper’s non-existent separation of news and opinion gave the Times pause for thought? Rosenthal’s claim that the paper’s editors only knew of the San Bernardino shooters’ ties to Islamic fundamentalism after they published the gun grabbing editorial is an outright lie. The connection was suspected (if not factually established) within hours of the shooting.
The real con side of the “debate” over the original editorial should have been “are we right to call for gun control leading to firearms confiscation?” (A proposal this follow-up editorial fails to mention.) Rosenthal writes that the Times set aside any and all qualms about tying their agenda to an irrelevant mass shooting with a simple qualification: “Making it work regardless of who the killers turned out to be was an issue of writing and editing.” Spin baby spin! How did that work out for ya?
We felt it had to focus on the specific issue of spree killings like the one in California, and earlier in Colorado Springs and so many other places, and on two ideas that related to it.
The first was that it is not tolerable to have an open, legal market on which would-be terrorists can easily amass an arsenal of weapons that are so perfectly suited to their task. That might not have prevented the San Bernardino shooting (a common argument which we’ve heard a lot in recent days), but at least we as a society would not have aided and abetted it.
According to Rosenthal, we, as a society, aided and abetted the San Bernardino terrorists. “We” meaning gun owners and those who defend our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms – including (but not limited to) AR-15’s. In other words, the Times depends on the idea of collective guilt to promote its civilian disarmament agenda. An idea which doesn’t apply to the paper’s publisher.
The second was that — as much as we support other gun control measures and have written about them hundreds of times — it was time to say that there are too many firearms out there.
Background checks, bans relating to the no-fly list, mental health screening, limits on magazine capacities, trigger locks and many other good ideas that have been flatly rejected by the Republicans in Congress would not reduce the number of firearms in circulation. There are more guns than people in our country. We wanted to focus on this and to issue a loud call to action. There was simply no room on the front page on Saturday to list every good gun control idea.
I’m glad that Rosenthal admits that the Times wants the government to adopt and enforce any and all gun control proposals. And remove (a.k.a., confiscate) Americans’ firearms. Considering the original editorial and this follow-up, of this there can be no doubt.
The response was overwhelming. The readership of the editorial was enormous, and so was the volume of comments from our readers. There were plenty of people who disagreed with us on principle and in particulars, and did so forcefully. And there were, predictably, some who just spewed hatred and hostility.
It’s interesting in a very sad way that people who oppose gun control measures often resort to violent imagery to make the point that they can be trusted to do the right thing with their firearms. “Let me buy any gun I want to defend myself, or I’ll shoot you” is not a rational argument.
As Nick pointed out, the Times failed to publish any Letters to the Editor criticizing the paper’s stance. An omission that makes it seems as if pro-gun rights readers are incapable of a reasoned, rational response to the Times‘ clarion call to terminate Americans’ Second Amendment protections. And allows Rosenthal to characterize all opposition as hate-filled vitriol. Which it isn’t.
Rosenthal fails to understand that HIS position is “surrender your guns or we’ll shoot you.” How can guns be removed from Americans without the use of deadly force? By the same token, Rosenthal only needs look here – or contact the NRA – to see that the vast majority of gun owning Americans are peaceful patriots. Well they are unless and until the government enacts the Times’ anti-gun rights agenda. At that point, the Times and its ilk will reap what they sow.
[NOTE: TTAG does not allow ad hominem attacks on people named in its articles.]