EDITORIAL: Media shoot first, correct later on NRA

You’d be hard-pressed to find an issue more misrepresented and manipulated by the American media than guns.

For example, when this year’s National Rifle Association convention started at Nashville’s Music City Center on April 10, The New York Times ran a carefully timed piece discrediting the event because, as the editorial board wrote, “seventy-thousand people are expected to attend” and “not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot.”

“There will be plenty of weapons in evidence at the hundreds of display booths,” the board wrote, “but for convention security the firing pins must be removed.” It went on to argue that in light of “all the N.R.A. propaganda” about how “good guys with guns” are needed to guard everything from elementary schools to workplaces across the nation, the “gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.”

It was a compelling, forceful argument — an argument that was eagerly echoed by MSNBC.

The trouble is, it was also completely false.

As the Tennessean newspaper subsequently (and correctly) reported, gun owners with proper carry permits were, in fact, allowed to bring their guns into the association’s convention. A spokeswoman for Music City Center told the paper that it was the center’s policy to follow state law in such instances, and said neither the center nor the NRA had any problem with permit-holding gun owners bringing their weapons. As the paper also reported, the only guns that would have their firing pins removed at the convention were those on display at the convention’s trade show. This is nothing new. The guns aren’t for sale, aren’t to be fired and can’t be removed from their display cases.

Mistakes such as this one are made when the media are so invested in an agenda-driven narrative that they refuse to do their job. Just like Rolling Stone magazine had to admit recently that it failed in its reporting of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, The New York Times and MSNBC were forced to concede that their coverage of the NRA convention was wrong. The Times and MSNBC are so opposed to Americans’ Second Amendment rights that they’re not concerned with accuracy. They’re concerned with preserving a narrative.

Will incidents such as these cause activist media outlets to rethink their approach? Don’t bet on it.

If you happen to find yourself reading an article or watching a news story about the National Rifle Association or Second Amendment issues in this era of hyperpartisanship, be sure to carefully consider the source.

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