On January 18, the Chicago Tribune ran an article entitled “Just what is an Assault Weapon?” This article sought to be a friendly public service announcement explaining the characteristics of an assault weapon and citing its many dangerous attributes. Unfortunately, all that the Tribune accomplished was a very public revelation of their ignorance of firearms, infused with a healthy dose of left wing bias. Four days later, after considerable mocking in the comment section, the paper was forced to print a correction which reads more like an article from The Onion than a serious piece from a leading newspaper.
The correction article contains such gems as, “In an attempt to explain what makes a gun an ‘assault weapon,’ we mistakenly labeled the gun’s sling attachment as a mount for a bayonet or grenade launcher.” Only in the darkest corners of liberal imagination could the 2” swivel at the bottom of most rifles seriously be considered a sensible place to mount a grenade launcher. Nonetheless, the Tribune brazenly proclaimed it so on page 18.
The comedy of errors continues when the correction article observes, “Some questioned our use of the term ‘spear’ to describe a bayonet’s function.” Perhaps this explains Obama’s confusing assertion that the US Military no longer had a use for bayonets. Apparently, there is a rumor running around Chicago cocktail parties that the 8” knife attached to the top of some rifles is, in fact, a 3 foot spear.
The author goes on to state that it is completely unfair to suggest that these mistakes were the product of a left wing bias against guns. Unfortunately, simply asserting that these were “careless mistakes” does not absolve one of the implications of their own words. The Tribune knew exactly what it was doing when it set out to define certain firearms as “assault weapons.” “Assault weapon” is a loaded term from the beginning. Any gun is an assault weapon if you attack someone with it. Stating that some guns are inherently assault weapons by their very design is done for one reason: politics.
Using an entire page to classify certain guns into the category of assault weapons is evidence enough of bias (Could you ever imagine a giant article from a major newspaper entitled “Just what is a “welfare queen?”). The Tribune, however, went much further by contriving dangerous and scary attributes of firearms for the sole purpose of making their case. This reveals two things which conservatives have known for quite some time: First, journalists, especially print journalists, misreport facts when it suits their political sympathies. Second, the people who wish to regulate firearms the most are almost always the same people who know next to nothing about them.
In the new age of social media, we have been given the power to hold journalists’ feet to the fire when they misrepresent the facts. As we publicize their blatant attempts to deceive, their credibility will diminish, and their days of defining the debate will end.
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