They Lead By Example

Laura Washington is a journalism teacher at DePaul University and wrote this article in September of 2007, that I was pointed to by a link at Brillianter. Before doing a mini fisking on this, just a few words about technique.

It is easy to see why newspaper articles and articles in many online publications and magazines are poorly researched and hard to understand. When you have a teacher of journalism writing about something she clearly knows nothing about and provides no evidence to support her opinions, what does she expect her students to do?

The opening statement:

The national news polls suggest that the majority of Americans support more gun control.

Could you please, please cite the polls? How were they worded? Where were they taken? Anything? Astonishingly, in this article there isn’t just no citing of the polls, there isn’t one link to anything in the entire article.

The People of the Gun are beating their drums on websites from in Washington State, to in Vermont. Every time a plea for gun restrictions surfaces on the Internet, the gun stalwarts furiously post hundreds of missives in homage to the Second Amendment.

“The People of the Gun”. That is a new one on me, but OK, I can handle it. It is nice to see Alphecca get a mention (I have been a reader for a long time), but hardly the one I would think would show control of the internet. According to sitemeter, Kos had over 1m visitors last Friday, where Alphecca had a little over eleven hundred. Keepandbeararms doesn’t have a sitemeter, but in their ad copy it says that they had 145k visitors last month. While sitemeter isn’t perfect, it is clear from this comparison that the far left sewer that Kos runs is mammoth compared to either of the sites that Washington mentions in the article. How hard would it be to rally some diary poster from Kos to write some anti-gun screeds? Alphecca and KBA, in comparison to a behemoth like Kos, may as well be shouting into a toilet, like I do at Life in the Great Midwest. I am trying to figure out how Washington picked these two sites as examples. How could she ever run into a site like Alphecca? Well, I figured out how she probably stumbled upon KBA anyway…

Through organizing, the Internet, and plunking down plenty of cold hard cash, the gun lobby has proven it is ready for primetime. Meanwhile, its opponents are languishing in the wee-hours of late-night local cable.

Cash? Really? Where is mine? The poor, poor gun control people, languishing on late night cable. Not in the New York Times, Sun Times, major networks or anywhere else. Right.

The lethal success of the gun lobby is rooted in its ability to sway legislators of both Democratic and Republican persuasion. Democratic deer hunters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio are susceptible to NRA dictates, forcing many faint-of-heart, national Democratic candidates to eschew gun control.

To her credit, Ms. Washington nailed this part. Senators and representatives from areas that have a large population of hunters and people that enjoy firearms don’t put gun control legislation at the top of their agenda. Don’t take it personally Ms. Washington, it is just votes. Votes and voting blocs cut both ways.

Gun control activists: start playing the other side’s game by embracing technology. Progressives: harness the Internet and aim it at Democratic and independent voters.

Again, Kos, MoveOn, Atrios, etc. etc.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger knows the numbers. In June, Pfleger and [Jesse] Jackson were arrested for criminal trespassing during a protest outside a gun shop in a Chicago suburb. Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s, an African-American Catholic Church on Chicago’s South Side, has been crusading for stricter regulation of gun shops and manufacturers.

[Insert hysterical laughter here] I would love – absolutely love – to see how many guns sold from that gun shop were involved in the murders in the Chicagoland area in 2007. My guess is close to zero. Ms. Washington is quite unaware that the cat is out of the bag. Chicago has some of the most strict gun control laws in the nation, yet people keep getting shot – how does that happen?

I could go on and on, but you get the point. If people like Ms. Washington are basing their articles on blatantly false facts and provide no links to studies or evidence that support their positions, what do they expect their students to do?

Cross posted at LITGM.

7 thoughts on “They Lead By Example”

  1. Aarrgh… that is a pretty terrible article. Especially since, as you pointed out, she is a journalism TEACHER.

    We often point out how awful the articles are and then the journalists hide behind the fact that they are “neutral”… but not very neutral, after all, nor effective.

  2. I live in a high rise and it is not practical to take my dogs out more than 4x a day. Newsprint is invaluable to my oldest dog.

  3. Sorry Fred, but after you sock puppeted one of my threads I will not allow your comments to appear on any of my threads ever again – Dan.

  4. Dr. Washington’s unstated thesis here is that the majority of Americans are very stupid and that they are easily manipulator by sophisticated propaganda campaigns. This concept, which finds wide acceptance on the left, undermines the entire premise of American democracy. It’s very dangerous.

    Gun control fails as a political issue because it is grounded in the elitist beliefs that ordinary, law abiding people are to stupid and incompetent to own and use guns. Leftist can’t understand why calling people stupid is a failure at the polls so they invent elaborate effects and conspiracies to explain it.

  5. ‘Snuff’ the Gun Shop Owner, Priest Says
    By Susan Jones Senior Editor
    May 29, 2007

    ( – An Illinois gun-rights group says it plans to complain to the Catholic Church after a Chicago priest at the weekend appeared to call for the murder of a suburban gun shop owner.

    During a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition protest at Chuck’s Gun Shop & Range on Saturday, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Church, threatened to “snuff” shop owner John Riggio.

  6. I like how the anti-gun folks talk about the gun lobby as if it were some behemoth trade group, when in actuality some of the biggest pro-gun organizations operate on the dues of individual members in a way that many organizations (MoveOn, for example) can only dream of. Here we have a true grass-roots movement, but it is treated as some special interest because it’s all us rubes (People of the Gun).

Comments are closed.