When reporters write about the effects of climate change, they are painted as liberal and biased. News outlets reporting on the Russia investigation and Russian hacks of the 2016 are deemed agents of the liberal deep state. If the media reports on abortion rights, they are believed to push a liberal, often anti-Christian agenda.
Survivors of the shooting at Parkland High School have been able to keep the attention of the media for well over a month through a compelling message, organized school walk outs, and most recently, the “March for Our Lives.” They have successfully initiated a national interest in gun control that will most likely still be a voting issue come the midterms in November.
Unfortunately, the conversation on gun control in America has been derailed by the right’s ongoing campaign against the legitimacy of the media. Like with climate change, it’s impossible to escape the stamp of “liberal” while covering the facts and encouraging reasonable debate. And the best tactic to get around the facts in the GOP wheelhouse is to rally their side against the truths being reporting by so-called “liberal elite” or “globalist” outlets like the New York Times or CNN.
Dana Loesch, spokeswoman for the NRA, exemplified the extreme rhetoric in an ad where she claims “[liberals and gun control advocates] use their media to assassinate real news.”
Most gun control solutions, in fact, are supported by a majority of Americans on both sides of the spectrum. When 88 percent of people of both parties support universal background checks, it’s no longer liberal bias to support it from the media’s perspective–something that the right has seemingly succeeded at claiming. This is the type of “real news” that the NRA and its allies want to distract us from.
In a recent interview between CNN’s Brian Stelter and The Daily Wire editor-in-chief, Ben Shapiro, this issue was raised at length.
“The coverage of the gun debate has been absolutely egregious,” Shapiro said. News outlets have decided “to single out certain events and not other events in order to make a particular case, or they allow certain people to go on TV and suggest that folks like Dana Loesch or people at the NRA are evil.”
Shapiro added that, “this sort of thing makes a lot of people on the Right feel that the media are using this as an opportunity to push gun control rather than objectively covering the legislative efforts that are going on in Washington, D.C.”
But to cover the legislative efforts is to cover the Parkland students, who are unarguably driving the agenda and the movement’s push towards real gun control.
If anything, coverage of legislation should discuss the 68 percent of Americans who support stricter gun laws. This is the largest support of gun reform in over two decades.
A source from Town Hall writes that, “the news media should clarify, not distort; it should provide facts and context, not engage in newsy partisanship.”
The media should not be criticised merely for reporting on a movement. The coverage of the Parkland students’ efforts in amending gun laws are unlike anything ever seen before, and, in turn, require real reporting.
The shame here is that folks who probably do agree with common sense gun reform–people who would benefit from fact-based reporting on the issue–are persuaded to turn away from the sources actually doing that reporting. Instead, they are left with a litany of misguided and extreme voices on the gun debate, from Fox & Friends to NRA TV to Alex Jones.
It’s the latest in a long line of potential common sense policies (climate change and healthcare, for example) being roadblocked by the right and their delegitimization of the media. We must dispel the myth that reporting the facts has to be political, and continue to speak out against these efforts to delegitimize the media and “assassinate the real news.”