On July 8, ABC's World News Tonight used a
Anchor Dan Harris used moving images of gun victims, resounding gunshots, bad science and selective quotes to make an emotional pitch for gun control, while giving gun rights defenders a terse, hostile hearing.
A group of
Although studies show that only 21 percent of guns used in crimes in the
Rather than report the exact figures, ABC introduced viewers to Cashae Rivers, a girl killed in a drive-by shooting last year, and her sobbing aunt. “Riding in the back seat of a car, a bullet ripped through her heart,” announced reporter David Kerley.
Against the background of a concrete floor strewn with dozens of firearms, ABC News strung together hard-hitting quotes from liberals in the city government.
One complained: “The state of
Another added: “I can no longer continue to sit here and allow the level of violence to continue unabated simply because people don't feel it's appropriate to do what I believe is their mandatory duty.”
It's a battle the city of
ABC News gave the gun rights side only a token opportunity to respond, quoting Republican State Representative Steve Cappelli: “Any measure we give Philadelphia, any new regulation, any new authority to regulate firearms, will not impact the very element that is terrorizing that city.” ABC News followed this quote with a sound clip of a gun shot. “That argument is being echoed across much of the country, as rural sensibilities continue to rule the gun debate. And cities like
Against the visual backdrop of a huge bin overflowing with guns, Kerley threw out what appeared to be a decisive fact: “In fact,
Peer-reviewed studies belie the anti-gun assumptions of ABC News journalists. Simply comparing the crime rates of cities with different gun laws is not a scientifically valid way to evaluate gun policy, according to the National Academy of Sciences. “It is difficult to gauge the value of [gun control] measures because social and economic factors behind criminal acts are often complex and interwoven, and the efforts are narrow in scope,” concluded a 2004 NAS study. Commissioned by the
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took up the issue in 2003, looking at bans on firearms, restrictions on firearms, waiting periods and licensing, zero tolerance laws in schools, childhood access prevention laws and combinations of all of these. The result? “The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.”