The Facts, Maa’m, Just the Facts”

For over forty years we journalists worked under the thumbs of Editors and their army of fact-checkers. Break the sacred rule of thumb, “Two Independent Sources” and your manuscript, not to mention possibly your credibility and/or your job goes right in the circular file. Those of us old enough to remember the television show, “Dragnet” remember the words of Joe Friday, “The facts, maa’m, just the facts.”   I tend to lay heavy on the more “Progressive” news outlets when I see glaring untruths and slanted, biased reporting but the disease goes farther than that. Everyone, it seems, who has a computer and Internet access gets to toss out his or her personal viewpoints, more often than not,  devoid of fact and way too often they are as biased as the so-called “Mainstream Media.”   For the past four decades I have written newspaper columns and magazine articles that are in line with my personal opinions. That’s what my Editors and their publications paid for – MY opinions. Many times I included news items and to the best of my ability I always had the fact-checkers in the back of my mind.   Even what may seem trivial to readers, fact-checkers for national magazines were diligent in their quest for the truth. If I submitted an article that mentioned a boat launching ramp alongside Route 9 in Biddeford, Maine, the fact-checker would call the Biddeford City Clerk or police and verify what I submitted.   This problem of lacking fact-checking by national mainstream and cable news sources almost has me driven to the point of just ripping out the television and cancelling my newspapers. My wife is getting tired of me arguing with a television screen or newspaper page.   There is no doubt in my mind that our President was elected, then re-elected with the help of a biased media sources such as ABC, CBS, NBC and their respective cable and Internet outlets. I hammer away at NBC and MSNBC due to their posture as almost  state-run corporations. Even the MSNBC motto, “Leaning Forward” is nearly the same as the re-election slogan of our President.   Back to the basics of this rant, the need for factual reporting, it is, unfortunately, up to the reader/viewer to sift through the garbage and try to determine what the truth is. Sometimes it’s difficult to bear but I skip channels and see how a major news story gets covered by each outlet.   Three times in the past year MSNBC and it’s parent, NBC have doctored tapes to project a biased viewpoint. Each time they were caught and, unless viewers heard about the blunder from another news source, they would believe the doctored tapes as factual.   Then, there is the matter of educating field reporters about the subject matter being reported. I’ll get slammed and called a “sexist” but it’s worth the point. Too many of these mainstream reporters, both male and female have “dumb blonde syndrome.” You know the blonde who goes to a football game and asks her boyfriend how many runs their team scored.   In the massive amount of airtime and newspaper space devoted to the private ownership and use of firearms, every one of the major outlets (yes, even Fox News) comes off as a bunch of wooden heads.   My editors would never allow inflammatory words or phrases yet senior news commentators on all channels continue to blurt out things like, “the high-powered bullets exploded in the tiny little bodies of the school children,” and “there were hundreds of bullets lying around the schoolroom floor.”   Explosive bullets are outlawed and have been for many years and there is no such thing as a “high-powered bullet.” A round, or cartridge of any caliber consists of a shell casing to hold an amount of gunpowder, gunpowder, a primer, when struck creates a spark to ignite the powder and the hunk of shaped lead that hold the components parts from falling is the “bullet.”   Most of the firearms being targeted are fairly small caliber compared to common hunting rounds. A 12-gauge shotgun shooting buckshot or slugs will do much more damage than the .223 round noted in the bans. The common .30-06 deer hunting round will also do more damage. Many of these hunting firearms have been deemed “high-powered” because they are designed through the amount of lead (bullet) and powder charge to shoot targets at great distances.   As for the military ties to the firearms progressives want to ban, the M-1 Garand was the weapon used by the military in World War I and II but they did not use high capacity clips.   No wonder they can’t see that the term, “Assault Weapon” does not exist other than in the minds of left-leaning “progressives” like Sen. Barbara Boxer. I examined her “assault weapons” bill and found that it shamefully tries to use the manufactured words “assault weapons” when the specific weapons she list to ban are all semi-automatic firearms. The military uses “assault rifles” and they are fully automatic machines. As long as the user holds the trigger back the gun fires. Semi-automatic weapons can only be fired one trigger pull at a time.   If Congress wants to help they should pass a law that demands that reporters successfully pass an NRA Hunter Safety course that will at least educate them on the topic they are reporting. To me there is nothing worse than a high-paid new reporter showing their ignorance on the topic being reported. If they can readily find experts for every other news feature then surely they can find experts (such as the NRA) to help readers/viewers understand the proper descriptions.   Why are hunters and target shooter so concerned with the difference in words? If a law is passed banning those semi-automatic firearms listed, it’s a baby step to banning hunting firearms. Scientifically they are described the same way.   Just last week, ABC, CBS and NBC got together and reported that no Bushmaster caliber .223 assault weapon was used at Sandy Hook. To this day they refuse to explain why, considering the Connecticut State Police issued a written statement two weeks earlier, describing exactly the make, model and caliber of the weapons used; a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle and a semi-automatic handgun. A shotgun was found in the suspect’s car and not used.   The politically correct police would be all over police if they stop a car filled with people who simply “look” like Mexicans or shake down black teens just because they are black. Why then do important lawmakers like Barbara Boxer think it’s acceptable to ban 150 firearms just because they a black in color and “look” like military weapons. Take off all the cosmetic attachments and they are still only semi-automatic firearms. Her motivation therefore must be more political than practical.   As for demanding background checks for all gun transfers most of us would agree except we don’t trust Congress or the Obama Administration to push through a clean, fair bill. On one hand it seems prudent while on the other it is the first step toward a national database of firearms and almost certainly will become a source for more tax revenue.   Until Congress targets the main sources of firearm-related violence we gun owners will put up a vicious fight. We refuse to be blamed for the actions of criminals.   Looking a FBI reports, most of the gun-related violence occurs in urban areas. The causation of that violence includes drug use, gangs, unemployment and other social ills. Not once on any news outlet have I seen the discussion include these causes.   It boggles my mind that our lawmakers are picking on law-abiding citizens rather than going after the root of the violence. A firearm just lays there until someone picks it up and it will never be used violently unless the person holding the firearm is driven to use it in that manner. Like it or not, law-abiding citizens that pick up a gun in haste are a tiny figure compared to the punks on the street who swap drugs for guns or carry a gun just to show power or to settle scores.   As horrific as mass shootings are, we lawful citizens are just as distraught as the lawmakers who feel they must do something. We can share the grief of victim’s families but we can never feel their grief. Politicians that use the victims and their families for political gain should be chastised not supported. The Gifford family vs the NRA is pathetic. It should be the Gifford family, the NRA and congress and the President against the people who choose for whatever reason to misuse otherwise legal firearms..   That should lead readers to see as I do that these news outlets already proven to be major supporters of political candidates with Progressive ideology are simply trying to dupe the American readers and viewers.   The incidents of media bias to serve political causes is deeper than the deepest ocean and continues to jeopardize the safety of the American people. The terrorist attack on Bengazie on the anniversary of 911 is one glaring example. Raise your hand if you believed the attack was connected to an Internet video. Moths later we have none of our leaders clarify where the video ties began and we still have four dead Americans that have yet to be avenged. Toss in the “Fast and Furious” program run by our government, selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels that cost the lives of hundreds of Mexican citizens and 1 of our brave Border Patrol.   Instead of providing answers, the Obama administration stonewalls and targets the opposition. Republican candidate Mitt Romney was targeted and a “boogyman” and, with the biased reporting mentioned above, was re-elected. Now, the Obama campaign has re-energized, only this time its target is the NRA and law-abiding citizens.   The NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have spent years and millions of dollars to make hunters and homeowners safe firearm owners and users. They are not the enemy. For the record, if you are interested I am not a member of the NRA but I fully support their goals. I am a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation as well as a Life member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Past President and Director Emeritus of the New England Outdoor Writers Association