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 Keepandbeararms.com in Washington State, to alphecca.com 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.