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It’s gotten to the point where it’s virtually impossible to take anything that comes out of the NBC news operation seriously. You wonder how their talking heads manage to get through a report with a straight face any more, somehow expecting the few dozen people who still watch network news magazines to take what they present at face value. Ask George Zimmerman – who may end up owning a fair sized piece of the Peacock Network when all is said and done – how reliably NBC reports something as seemingly basic as a 911 conversation. The issue now is this week’s report on something called Rock Center about the safety of Remington rifles and shotguns . . .

The report claims that the basic guts of some Remington firearms, the common fire control or CFC, is inherently unsafe and can fire basically at any time without warning. For corroboration, Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn relies on the word of two “industry experts,” Tom Butters and Jack Belk.

In response, the Freedom Group company is going on offense. They’re hitting back with the above video which appears to demonstrate that the duo have something of a conflict of interest, basically shaking down Remington in order to sell them their own patented design.

None of which necessarily means that what NBC alleges about Remington’s CFC isn’t true. These aren’t the first questions raised about the safety of Remington products. It only illustrates – yet again –  that the network’s judgement in selecting industry experts isn’t much better than their standards in hiring producers and editors.

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  1. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Just like the days of old, we now have a new breed of snake oil salesmen trying to foist their wares on an ignorant public.

  2. ” it’s virtually impossible to take anything that comes out of the NBC news operation seriously. ”

    There’s nothing like hyperbole to strengthen one’s argument.

    • ” it’s virtually impossible to take anything that comes out of the NBC news operation seriously. ”

      Or Fox news. Or CNN. Or the NYT.

      • Agreed Vincit,

        Have you seen some of the general bogus reporting that FOX has? Its comical.

        The NYT has some good reporting but goes way left when it addresses the right.

        CNN just plain sucks most of the time. They make news by repeating B.S. news.

        However, it is up to us to filter what is real and what is biased. This can be difficult at times when the reporting is subtle. So the easiest path is to cater to our general inclination (Left, Right or Middle) and believe what we want to hear.

  3. “Ask George Zimmerman – who may end up owning a fair sized piece of the Peacock Network when all is said and done”

    Just how realistic is that? Does GZ have a good case to win or settle with NBC?

  4. “None of which necessarily means that what NBC alleges about Remington’s CFC isn’t true.”

    So, Dan, what exactly is the problem? The truth of the report or the “truth-tellers”?
    If someone you respected did the report, would you have a problem with the report? It would seem the answer would be, no.

    You are predisposed to not believe NBC, do you think Fox or the WSJ would do the story? Do you think this is a consumer rights?

    • I think the point was that the experts NBC used had a conflict of interest and reason to skew their results. NBC should have found out about that before citing those experts. It’s called “due diligence”.

  5. The term “independent expert” is an oxymoron. 99% of experts testify in precisely the way their masters tell them to testify. The 1% that won’t go along to get along aren’t hired.

    The expert’s main job is to bullsh!t the trier of fact while appearing authoritative. I’ve dealt with some experts who are so good at it, they even managed to convince themselves.

  6. There is a documentary about the Remington 700 produced by some network (I forget which), and it focuses mainly on the people that have been killed because the claim that the rifle will go off without touching the trigger. Discussion about faulty trigger design related to faulty safety, etc. The most notable part – Remington memo purportedly indicated that there was an issue with the trigger/safety/gun could go off, stuff – fix was too expensive so never implemented.

    I have not heard of this issue with the Remington 870 shotgun – I own two of them.

    Remington is just trying to combat bad press, and they are no different from any other company that denies, denies, denies liability. Where is the video of their experts that they hired to say what they want them to say in response to the other hired guns? There is always a battle of the experts.

    • There have been a lot of claims against the 700 going back to around 1985. Remmy’s paid out millions in damages and settlements (a big chunk of it from one judgment). It’s hard for me to believe — but not out of the realm of possibility — that every case involved user error.

      IIRC, Remmy changed it’s 700 connector design in 2007. Whether the design was changed because it was defective or because it was the focus of too many lawsuits would be a matter of conjecture.

      FYI, in some jurisdictions, a change in design cannot be used as evidence that the design was defective to begin with.

  7. Wife and I watched the last half of this last night. As hit-pieces go, I think it was fairly mild. FWIW, NBC did disclose the so-called “conflict of interest” WRT Butter’s “improved mechanism” and dismissed it as a factor. Honestly, the fact that he is hired and paid by the plaintiff’s is conflict enough to doubt his testimony – as Ralph pointed out, he is a “hired gun” and like all hired guns he says what he is paid to say.

    The most unbelievable segment was the last part where the host incredulously asked whether the “accidental” discharge of a 742 could have resulted in a wrongful conviction. The problem is that the defendant in that case told a different story to NBC than the one he told on the stand – his trial testimony was that he “accidentally touched the trigger” but after finding out about the supposedly defective triggers, he now insists he never touched the trigger and that it must have been “defective.”

    Worse yet, he trotted out the hoary old “I was cleaning the gun and it went off” defense which is 100% grade-A bullshit. Whether the gun had a “defective trigger” or not, if I was on the jury I would not have believed for even 1 second that he was “cleaning his gun” since the first act of anybody in cleaning a weapon is, you know, to clear the goddamn thing.

    Whenever I hear the line “I was cleaning the gun and it went off” I know that either someone was being careless or reckless with a gun (playing with it, not “cleaning” it) and failed to check and see if it was loaded, or they deliberately shot the other person and are now trying to escape responsibility for that act. I also know that they are banking on the fact that the jury is probably ignorant of firerarms, ignorant enough to think that “cleaning” a gun is a dangerous act that frequently results in negligent discharges.

    • It was the model rocket engines attached to the trigger when they demonstrated it that was my first clue that NBC might not be on the up and up…

      There was a pre-9/11 joke about the first WTC bombing in 1993 that went:

      “Hey, did you hear what they found at the bottom of the crater in the parking garage of the World Trade Center?”

      “The remains of a 1980 GMC pickup truck and a NBC camera crew.”


  8. The Remington 870 and 700 are classic designs that have been in military and law enforcement use for decades. I own both, have trained and qualified on both, and felt like a bastard step child by going through a Swat Sniper School with a Savage 110 Tactical .308. Design flaw? Bullshit.

    I haven’t seen a single experienced shooter worth his salt who will criticize either design.

    Is there anyone here on TTAG who has had an issue with either “going off” without pulling the trigger? I had a well intentioned fellow warn me that my LTR could fire if I manipulated the safety under a loaded chamber or some other BS.

    • It was well known in my generation of gun carriers that the 870 could slamfire if you struck something hard with the butt, with finger off the trigger, at least when the safety was off. Two separate coworkers, who I trusted, have told me they witnessed it. In those days, we were formally trained about that hazard. With the safety on, I don’t remember.

  9. I’ve read about these reports regarding the Rem 700. I can’t say one way or the other of they are true. But I will say they smell fishy. Plus you shouldn’t cover anything with the muzzle of a loaded firearm that you’re not willing to perforate. As mentioned above if I sat on any of these juries I would throw a challenge flag.


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