Ethics Alarms returns to the evergreen topic of the journalism ethics defying left-agenda bias of the Mainstream media with the most defiant and annoying perpetrator of all, National Public Radio. Its solemn, cultivated con on this occasion involved, naturally, the news media’s war on guns, which, for those you don’t understand the concept of “fair and objective reporting,” is supposed to be “the news media explicating the left’s war on guns.”
A week ago, NPR’s Chris Arnold reported on the emergence of a “powerful new gun control group,” Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization came out of the union of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group launched by Shannon Watts during the post-Newtown gun control push.
Describing Watts, the NPR feature said:
“Much of the groundswell behind this crusade comes from just regular people pulled into it for their own reasons. For a woman named Shannon Watts, she was drawn in by another mass shooting — the murder of 20 schoolchildren 6- and 7-year-olds in Newtown, Connecticut. Watts wasn’t there: She lived 800 miles away in Zionsville, Indiana. She was folding her kids’ laundry, actually, when the news broke. And she wanted to do something. ‘I was obviously devastated but I was also angry and I went online and I thought, ‘Surely there is a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun safety.’ And I couldn’t find anything. Watts had never done anything political before but she made a Facebook page and she called it One Million Moms for Gun Control [now Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America].”
Now, this is how the news media can slant an issue and later say, “Who, us?” This paragraph is designed to send the visceral, lizard-brain-level message “Anti-gun activism GOOD.” The public, especially the college educated, generally well-off listeners of NPR, is rightly suspicious of lobbyists and activists of all stripes, and sophisticated, well-funded efforts to influence public policy. They are most likely to trust the instincts of, well, themselves, or people like themselves, or better yet, “innocents” driven by conviction and unselfish, unsophisticated democratic motives, like, say “Guns BAD’ and “Do something!” Thus the paragraph above describes a hero that Every Listener can identify with, for many of them see themselves as ” just regular people” who “never done anything political before.”
They also melt like lemon drops over activism by moms, because many are moms, and everyone loves mom. This is also why savvy activists like to name their groups after mothers.
You have to love the details NPR chose to include and what they suggest. “Zionsville, Indiana”…might as well be called Everytown. Watts was folding her kids’ laundry when she heard of Newtown. Can’t you just picture Donna Reed or Marion Cunningham hearing the news on NPR, probably with tears in her eyes, getting a that look of determination in her eyes (“I know that look, honey!”) and deciding to, dammit, do something, having never done “anything political” before?
But in the case of Shannon Watts, that was an intentionally misleading image, crafted by her and abetted by NPR to promote sympathy for the anti-gun movement.
Let’s look at NPR’s correction after Newsbusters, the conservative news watchdog, newsbusted the story in a post titled “Dishonest NPR Tells of ‘Regular’ Mom Who Put the Con in Gun Control”: Continue reading