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Ever since the New York Times started making stuff up on slow news days, the Washington Post is the paper I now turn to when I’m feeling a little masochistic and want a firehose full of self-righteous east coast establishment elitism along with my daily news. (Excluding the excellent Volokh Conspiracy blog hosted by the WaPo, of course, which is worth reading for positive reasons.) Despite my trepidation, I’m far more willing to read the WaPo because, unlike the legacy print media in New Netherlands, their reporters still seem to adhere to an anachronistic concept of news reporting that requires them to at least try to tie their half-baked opinions to some sort of fact that actually happened. As long as they’re not too busy binge-watching the latest season of House of Cards or something . . .

I’m pleased to be able to report that the WaPo has met my insanely low standards for legacy print media yet again.

Glenn Kessler, writer of the WaPo’s “Fact Checker” blog, takes aim at a recent appearance by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on CBS’s “This Morning”, in which the Sunshine State stalwart made the following claim:

None of the major shootings that have occurred in this country over the last few months or years that have outraged us, would gun laws have prevented them.

Mr. Kessler suggests in his post that initially, this seemed like it would be an open and shut case:

A colleague pointed out this statement by Marco Rubio as a possible fact check, suggesting that it was almost certainly incorrect. It posed an interesting challenge, given the reams of data to examine.

It turned out that once he started looking at the data, it was, indeed an open and shut case. Just not in the way he initially suspected. Kessler took a look at the database of mass shootings maintained by the (odiously anti-second amendment) Mother Jones newsmagazine and looks at twelve major multiple victim public shootings from that database, analyzing along the way whether or not Rubio’s statement was correct in light of the facts of that particular situation. His conclusion?

Rubio’s statement stands up to scrutiny — at least for the recent past, as he framed it. Notably, three of the mass shootings took place in California, which already has strong gun laws including a ban on certain weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Gun-control advocates often point to the experience in other countries that have enacted gun laws that heavily restrict gun ownership; as we have shown, quantitative measures of cross-comparative crime statistics, especially where the crime is not consistently defined (i.e., “mass shooting”), usually end up being apples-to-oranges comparisons. It is possible that some gun-control proposals, such as a ban on large-capacity magazines, would reduce the number of dead in a future shooting, though the evidence for that is heavily disputed. But Rubio was speaking in the past, about specific incidents. He earns a rare Geppetto Checkmark.

The “Geppetto Checkmark” is the rating from the Fact Checker blog’s rather twee “Pinocchio Test” of truthfulness, and is Kessler’s way of saying that Marco Rubio’s statement about guns is “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

It’s a sign of how low my expectations are to hear the truth about guns in any of the legacy media that reporting of a simple fact like this is considered significant enough to note to write a post about it. But it is, and so there we are. Kudos, WaPo, on a job….done

Now, if only we could get Mr. Kessler to fact-check his own newspaper’s editorial board.

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  1. Washington Post and CBS are similar in that way: reliably leftist, but still capable of sporadic acts of journalism (though CBS has been running off the last of their genuine reporters).

  2. Kessler has been known to go on a truth tear on occasion, and does seem to have a bit more than just pro forma concern for his reputation as a “journalist”. But he’s still a WaPo reporter, and will happily lapse back into liberal water-carrying. Nice to see him in truth-telling mode here.

  3. Don’t worry, their next article will simply say that the facts don’t matter and we should ban guns anyways. For the kids.

    Personally, I don’t care. My response to gun control proposals is a simple “no.”

    The second amendment is a constitutional law that cannot be overturned by a majority vote. As such, I do not have to defend it. A simple “no” is good enough.

    If it isn’t, we’ll finally get to hear the order to come and take them. That will be a fun day. A REALLY fun day. All those happy liberals faces will turn to despair as cops, soldiers, and the national guard repeat my line and just say “no” rather than face down 300,000,000 guns for such a stupid reason.

    • “The second amendment is a constitutional law that cannot be overturned by a majority vote.”

      It most certainly can when the vote is by the 9 sitting SCOTUS justices.

      And that is a very real possibility as the next justices start to retire…

      • The right to keep and bear arms is a natural, civil and Constitutionally PROTECTED right not subject to the democratic process nor arguments of social utility.

        But you are absolutely right about the nine un-elected and un-accountable SCOTUS justices who can change all of that, or ignore infringements, on a whim. I’m reasonably certain that was not the role the Founding Fathers had envisioned for this tribunal in a democratic republic.

  4. Given the open calls for confiscation lately, I’m wary of his purposes. It’s almost as if they are saying, “We admit the most stringent gun control laws currently in place are ineffective, therefore the only solution is British/Australian style confiscation.” Jumping directly to the endgame that we’ve known was the ultimate goal all along.

  5. This is why I stopped reading the Post and others like it. If only 10% is honest reporting then why should I spend time going through the other 90% lies?

    • I have a similar attitude to almost all media. I used to listen to the local traffic radio station, even though their traffic reports only told you what had happened without any recommendations on how to avoid the trouble. But I eventually heard enough regular news reports about familiar subjects to get tired of their inaccuracies and omissions. Newspapers with maps of their own area, mislabeled by 50 miles, intersections of parallel streets, just too many sloppy errors, and it finally dawned on me that if they were making that many errors in things I was familiar with, were they not making as many errors in unfamiliar subjects? So I stopped paying attention to them.

  6. Yes, Pravda on the Potomac occasionally tells the truth in order to maintain its last vestige of journalistic credibility. Then again, so did Pravda on the Moskva, and it was still FOS.

  7. “It is possible that some gun-control proposals, such as a ban on large-capacity magazines, would reduce the number of dead in a future shooting, though the evidence for that is heavily disputed.”

    Nice how he slips in that this is possible, establishing as such, before ackowledging only in passing that it’s in dispute. And just because something is in dispute does mean that one side is even valid. After all, the Holocaust is “in dispute.”

    So-called high capacity magazines have been used in places where they’re already banned and yielded high body counts. Smaller capacity magazines have been used where legal and yielded high body counts, too. Killere are going to adapt their techniques. You need to go after bad guys directly and arm good guys proactively. Fiddling around with laws and tools, while ignoring the killers, is a waste of time.

  8. “I’m pleased to be able to report that the WaPo has met my insanely low standards for legacy print media yet again.”

    So, it’s come down to this. Success through lowered expectations.

    • I guess, but it’s still impressive to me that someone went through and actually pulled the string on the whole “if only we had background checks” canard.

  9. “The country should have tried harder to stop him — and should be trying harder to stop the other Dylann Roofs still out there.”

    GREAT! I’ll carry and be ready as needed. Hopefully I’ll NEVER be needed.

  10. The Washington Post has actually run no less than two articles that say the No Fly List gun ban is stupid. Yes, one of them (I think) was an opinion piece, but in my opinion, this points towards the fact that at least some of their writers and editors do not have their heads up their rears. It’s not ideal, but it certainly isn’t the New York Times.

  11. Even a stopped clock-I wouldn’t shower them with praise. Even the kenyan king is right once in a fortnight…or year.


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