NEWS MEDIA ACCURACY

INDEX PAGE • See story links below

 

by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America

OK, everyone who thinks the news media is mostly accurate raise your hands. See? Very few hands go up.

Everyone who believes that the news media quickly and prominently corrects all the mistakes they make raise your hands. Same result. Why is that?

If you follow the news about your own industry or field of interest, on stories where you know what is actually going on, you are frequently horrified to see how wrong the news media gets it. When you are the person being quoted, you get to see what really goes on.

There are plenty of books and analyses of why this is so, I'm not going to pursue that here. Here you'll find accounts of truly egregious errors and distortions promoted by the news media as factual, and steadfastly uncorrected by an elite group who want you to believe they are wholesome purveyors of truth. Folks, that just ain't so. If it's in the news, these days, there's a good chance it's flat wrong.

Inaccuracy and distortion are the name of the game when it comes to gun issues. As a veteran of this field for more than twenty years, the amount of accurate reporting I've seen in any mainstream outlets is nearly zero. Requests for corrections, even on patently false statements, are basically ignored outright. I remember one time when the Associated Press reported (on the front page of my local paper, The Arizona Republic, and in papers nationwide) that no federal gun law had been passed in five years. Yet in that time federal gun law had grown by 25%! I know, because I publish the unabridged guide to federal gun laws, Gun Laws of America. AP refused to make a correction. Go figure. It's a national disgrace.

For those who ask me about some gun issue they saw covered in the "news," let me make a few observations that may help. You cannot judge any shooting event you read or hear about in the news, because you have NO facts -- no police report, no crime scene photos, no real witness testimony, no trial transcript, no jury instruction, nothing -- you are forming your opinions on what some reporter said. Reporters as a body hate guns, gun owners, gun rights, pro-rights gun laws -- and it shows in everything they do.

Experience has shown that their work in this field (and some would say in other fields) is typically erroneous, shallow, misunderstood, editorialized, plagued with errors of omission, confusing, self contradictory, poorly edited, and replete with bias, deliberate distortion, slant and spin, bigotry, agenda-driven ideology and anything they can use that will give you the wrong impression. I'm not making this up -- I've been analyzing such work for more than two decades. They'll cover even minor shooting incidents way outside their coverage area, but rarely mention self-defense which occurs daily, shooting competitions, specials at the local ranges, industry news, new product reviews (have you ever seen one? but they cover every other new product imaginable from dogs to hot dogs). Read some of the pieces below for backup.

Guns save lives.
Guns stop crime.
Guns protect you.
Guns are why America is still free.
But not in the news.

 

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
SPJ OFFICIAL CODE OF ETHICS
It is largely ignored by the news media, if their reporting is any measure.
IDEA -- Copy and send them relevant parts of their own ethical code
when writing to them about errors and bias you find.
Compare: The Associated Press Ethical Standards

SPJ "ETHICS WEEK"
Just how ethical is the news media? Are ethical breeches routinely ignored?
Each year SPJ examines news-media ethics, but evidence suggests
the examination needs examination. Eye-popping report on the 2005 event.

PAGE NINE -- The Uninvited Ombudsman Reports
by Alan Korwin. Refreshing re-writes of stories you see everyday
with the self-evident bias removed and the spin suitably ridiculed.

Why Journalists Get It Wrong
A remarkable SPJ exploration of the heart of the matter, including
four lists of reasons, from the usual suspects (too busy, poorly educated, laziness),
to the rotten underbelly (categorical omissions, agendas, hatred of some subjects).
[The Uninvited Ombudsman]

How To Handle A Hostile Interview
Journalists are infamous for trying to harm a person or subject -- not always,
but often enough, and especially on firearms issues. If they're coming after you,
as they were for a friend of mine, here are some ideas on how to
protect yourself.

Left-Right Bias
"Hard" news stories use editorial terms like "left" and "right wing" all the time --
what are these phrases, what do they mean exactly, are they used correctly?
Is it true they are sugar coatings for socialist- and fascist-leaning policies?
[The Uninvited Ombudsman]

Anti-Gun Bias In The News
The finest documented account of media anti-gun bias I've ever seen.
While these conditions remain tolerated and in place,
the media has no legitimate claim to ethical behavior.

How Gun-News Bias Is Done
Dr. Brown has put his finger right on what's happening
in newsrooms everywhere. His razor-sharp analysis is reproduced
here by permission. You will recognize these policies.

Minuteman Project Nothing Like Its Media Portrayal
The news has painted this effort as a racist band of vigilante lunatics
running around armed and dangerous. It's actually about free speech
and right to assemble, with a 100% no-contact-with-immigrants policy.
Wall Street Journal eloquently confirms my findings and media's hatchet job.
Border Patrol told to halt arrests to make Minutemen look ineffective.

National Academy of Sciences Gets Stuck
Based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications,
a survey that covered 80 different gun-control measures and some of its own
empirical work, the panel couldn’t identify a single gun-control regulation
that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents. So it calls for more studies,
and the news media finds no problem with this plan.

New York Times Recognizes a Decade of Bad Reporting
Without admitting error or actually correcting anything, the Times identifies
every error in "assault-weapon-ban" stories it and its mainstream comrades
have run for ten years. There was never a ban, it didn't affect crime, and its
expiration had no impact, despite hysterical fear-mongering nationwide.
Excellent example of gross bias in San Francisco Chronicle illustrates.

Media Nationwide Runs Naked Government Propaganda
Americans were saturated in July 2005 with "U.S. Gives 50K Tons of Food to
N. Korea," eliciting sympathy. But since the Communist ruling clique and its dictator
actually get all the food, is it a stretch to wonder if it will mostly supply the red army,
not the starving masses, and that our officials know this? Who got paid for all that
food? Editors everywhere just ran the federal propaganda verbatim, with zero thought.

Florida Castle Doctrine
This is an excellent new law, except in news stories. Here is a law
that protects the innocent, holds violent criminals accountable, makes
everyone safer, but the media ignorantly treats it like vigilantism run wild.
See what the law really says, and compare that to what the media told you.

Media Research Center Studies Gun-Coverage Bias
This highly regarded news-media research center has conducted two
separate studies and finds the same result—mainstream news about
guns runs as much as ten to one against gun rights. Numbers from John Lott,
and details on consumer ammunition sales provide perspective.

John Kerry In Trouble For Shotgun Gift?
He accepts Remington gun as gift out-of-state -- a federal felony if true.
News media portrays candidate as pro-gun, with photos of gift.
Campaign spokeswoman denies news reports despite photos.

Dr. Fabricius Invents Wild Anti-Gun Nonsense, Calls It Science
Co-written with his 12-year-old son as a school project
Newspaper Runs It On Front Page
Medical Journal Treats It As If Valid
Arizona State University Fails to Take a Position

The Indiana Experiment
Does the government routinely break laws about record management?
See what seven newspapers found when they teamed up.
The news media is capable of doing a good job when they want to.

Three Murdered a Week Ago vs. 540 Dead, Again, Today
When the paper has a story about crime victims 2,000 miles away,
but fails to mention hundreds killed daily by medical "mistakes"
you're not getting news, you're getting propaganda.

 

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