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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Media, Firearms, and Protesters

On Monday, the AP reported:

About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday...

Included in the story was the term "assault weapon" to describe what one man was carrying.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Blog tried to educate the two reporters on how to accurately report on firearms because after saying the man was carrying a "military style" firearm, they repeatedly use the term "assault weapon" in the story. NSSF has been at the forefront of trying to introduce the media to firearms with their "Writer's Guide to Firearms and Ammunition."

You will note in the AP story it has been "updated" from the original story but it is clear they did not update it with the correct descriptions of the firearm.

Kudos to the Phoenix Police for making it clear that those carrying firearms, including the man carrying the semi-automatic rifle were all legal, that no crimes were committed, and no one was arrested. This doesn't surprise me because in my contact with the Phoenix Police during the NRA Annual Meeting they were all very professional and friendly.

Alan Korwin also wrote about the media coverage of this on his Page Nine blog and notes something else about the man carrying the rifle that you would not have known if you did not see the local ABC television coverage video above:

I mentioned to the local NBC-TV affiliate that the media seemed to be avoiding the fact that Chris, the well-known local libertarian with the rifle (and a sidearm), was black. “Well, we’re not supposed to mention race if it’s not a key part of the story.” My eyebrows shot up. “You have a black man with a gun! At a rally for the black president! That’s not relevant?” So she sheepishly admitted, with a chuckle, “Well, that would take away the whole redneck right-wing extremist thing.” This is known in “news” circles as objective reporting.
Hat tip to NSSF and Alan Korwin.

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