How delusional do you have to be to think that the NRA disseminates its message “without being questioned” by The New York Times and Washington Post? . . . Five Years After Sandy Hook, Major U.S. Papers Still Have a Serious Gun Problem
What is the secret of the NRA’s success? It may involve the NRA’s ability to speak to and write for media outlets without being questioned, like it did after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Key to this strategy is the use of alleged “independent” experts who spread its pro-gun views throughout the press.
Take, for example, the pro-gun scholar, David Kopel. Today the news and opinion sections at both The New York Times and The Washington Post are out of sync over whether to disclose his receipt of NRA funding, while The Wall Street Journal misleads readers by never disclosing it.
“Writers and editors make their own decisions, which I don’t second-guess,” said Kopel in an email to The Progressive.
The Progressive isn’t happy about the funding Dave Kopel’s Independence Institute has gotten from the NRA over the last decade or so.
Last month the Times ran a news story about “Ghost Guns,” homemade firearms that are hard to track. The story quoted David Kopel, describing him as “the research director of the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank, who is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver.”
In the story, Kopel compared the nation’s current level of gun regulation to “prohibition or quasi-prohibition,” adding that the nation’s allegedly restrictive gun laws are “the lever that pushes up homemade production.” That seems odd considering that gun laws have only grown more lax across the nation over the past twenty years. But, knowing that his Independence Institute has received NRA funding, his comments make a lot more sense.
The New York Times’s assistant managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, declined to comment.
Because, as everyone knows, The Times has been in the gun lobby’s pockets, well, forever.
The Post’s online opinion section has done better. The paper runs Kopel’s opinion columns as part of The Volokh Conspiracy, a consortium of conservative-leaning legal scholars hosted by the Post online. But for years, the Post ran Kopel’s columns without identifying his NRA funding.
The Post finally began noting Kopel’s NRA financial ties after a critical post by the liberal group Media Matters. The paper’s opinion editors quietly changed his identification retroactively in all his columns. Editors call that a “rowback,” as if to row backwards over water and then forward again to smooth any ripple of an error. On this point Post spokeswoman Gannon Conway declined to comment.
What would the mainstream media do without ethical watchdogs like Media Matters to keep them on the straight and narrow?