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L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 518, May 10, 2009

"Don't Tread On Me"

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Can the Media Ever Tell the Truth?
by Sean Gangol
RGangol@sbcglobal.net

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

For years we have known how biased the mainstream media can be when it comes to certain issues. This bias could be attributed to the fact that most of these so-called journalists are completely ignorant about certain issues. Another possibility is that they think everybody else is ignorant and will believe whatever they are told. Whatever the reason, maybe this is why more people are turning to alternative media outlets such as Fox News, talk radio and various internet sources. These sources can be just as biased as any of the mainstream news networks, but at least there are alternatives.

One of the most recent forms of bias by the mainstream media (also known as the old media) is its coverage of the Obama administration. It's bad enough that the media has to continue its love affair with Obama, but now they have to lie about how people feel about his administration. Based on the polls, the old media would have us believe that most Americans think that Obama is doing a good job. What's worse is the way the mainstream media has down played The Tea Party protests that have been popping up all over the nation. Some channels have claimed that the protesters were small in number and others hinted that they were actually representatives of major corporations. In reality there were thousands of protestors in the major cities. It seems obvious the media doesn't want us to believe that there are people not happy about Obama spending us into a trillion dollar deficit.

The old media has always been one sided when it comes to the issue of guns. This time the media sank to a whole new low, when it reported without question a claim by the Obama administration that both US gun shops and gun shows were arming Mexican drug cartels. They even claim that 90% of the guns recovered in the Mexican drug war were smuggled from the United States. Never mind that the henchmen in these cartels use everything from fully automatic AK-47's to rocket-propelled grenades. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of gun laws in the US should know that you can't get that kind of hardware at any mom and pop gun store. God forbid that any of the old media networks could have pointed this out. The only network that poked holes in this claim was Fox News, who also pointed out that the real number of guns being smuggled in Mexico is more like 17%. I am willing to bet that most of those guns are going to Mexican citizens who need protection against the cartels, since their government is too corrupt to trust them with arms.

The media showed more anti-gun bias with a 20/20 episode titled "If Only I had a Gun." In this episode, Diane Sawyer attempted to prove how impossible it is for somebody to defend themselves in the event of a mass shooting. The show starts off with Sawyer claiming that she wasn't able to find any credible studies about the effectiveness of self-defense. She was either lying or she conducted the world's sloppiest research. When I did my own research on self-defense, the two names that came up most was an economist named John Lott jr. and Gary Kleck, a criminologist. Both of these men started off with anti-gun biases, only to change their stance when they realized how effective armed citizens were against criminals. It is funny how Ms. Sawyer neglected to mention them. That wasn't even the most deceptive part of the program. The part that was the most misleading was an experiment that was conducted on a college campus. The test consisted of a college student armed with an Airsoft gun in a classroom, and a firearms instructor acting as a mass shooter. The experiment seemed like it was set up to fail. For one thing the test subjects were required to wear bulky gloves and holsters that they were unfamiliar with. The simulation was conducted three times with three different students. In each of those times the student with the gun sat in the same place, which made it easy for the shooter to know who was packing. It automatically made the student one of the first targets. What they also failed to take into account was the over qualification of the mock shooter. Most psychotic gunmen are not professional marksmen that make their living teaching police officers how to shoot. The only advantage that these psychos have over their victims is that they are usually the only ones armed.

The 20/20 segment was partially right. Possessing a firearm doesn't guarantee safety. I am reminded of what Suzanna Hupp, a former Texas Representative once said when she lost her parents in the infamous Luby's massacre. She said that there was no guarantee that having a gun would have prevented the tragedy, but it sure would have evened the odds. That point was definitely lost on the people who put that segment together.

It's becoming increasingly difficult to tell the legitimate news from the tabloids. Most people would sum this up to their love of sensationalism, but the media's greatest shame isn't their lust for controversy. It is their failure at being a counter balance to government rhetoric. One of the reasons why our founding fathers believed in freedom of the press is because they hoped that the press would act as a watch dog organization and protect the rights of the people.

To the eternal disgrace of the old media, they don't seem to question any of the government's rhetoric. If they actually did their job then they would have pointed out that it is the failure of America's drug policies that is turning Mexico into a war zone and not the gun shows. If the old media wasn't so determined to delude themselves as well as the American people, they would realize that there are those who don't believe that Obama is God's greatest gift to the world. If they did better research, they would realize that some of the best crime fighters are the same "gun nuts" that they like to ridicule. I suppose it's easier to act like a cheerleader for the government, then a watchdog.


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