As anyone who has been interested in the debate over armed self defense knows, the vast majority of professional journalists have a deep seated bias against the very concept. Private citizens owning guns so they can protect their family and themselves? That path leads to chaos and death! Or so they seem to believe.
How are self defense advocates able to discern this? After all, most journalists insist that they are as unbiased as a person is able to be when discussing any subject under the Sun. And yet they repeatedly and consistently make the same mistakes when writing about the subject.
The laws concerning the ownership and use of weapons are usually ignored or misrepresented, the capabilities of firearms are almost always distorted, and the statistics indicating that private citizens who legally carry concealed firearms for their defense are the most peaceful and law abiding members of our society are rarely mentioned. And, most striking, these errors seem to go in only one direction. Data checking and being thorough about the facts seems to be important only if it advances the gun control agenda.
I have encountered very few people that work in the media over my life. The few that have crossed paths with me in social settings were uniformly intelligent, curious, and polite. But the one defining characteristic that I noticed with all of them was that they were sure they had the inside track on everything!
No matter what the subject, there was a rock-solid conviction that they were an expert in the field. Even though they were, very obviously, experts in nothing more than whatever their job happened to have in the media. Even so, they considered themselves to be vast fonts of wisdom, wisdom from which all would be well advised to partake.
What caused this bizarre attitude?
The only thing that seems to make sense to me is the nature of the job. Journalists spend their time talking to actual experts, people who really understand what is going on in their field. Since the one basic skill of the interview is to tease out the relevant information and put it into terms the general public understands, reporters have the sense that they have gained some sort of expertise through the process.
I’m discussing this subject due to this piece by Lane Wallace in The Atlantic. The author states that she had always defended her fellow journalists from charges of bias, but a recent event “gave me a new perspective on the issue.”
It seems that it became obvious during a press conference being held to announce the launch of a new product that her fellow journalists had already decided on the stories they were going to write. They did this even with an imperfect understanding of the facts. What is worse is that they had no interest in determining if they were correct in their assumptions, They just wanted a few tidbits to flesh out what they had already decided they were going to write, and that was it.
Like I said, blindingly obvious to about everyone else. But I suppose someone who has decided on a media career can’t see the forest for the trees, or the obvious due to bias.
(Hat tip to Glenn.)