- Neutral Journalism: Of top 20 circulating newspapers, 18 pushed gun control in editorials from Dec. 15, 2012 to Jan. 11, 2013.
- Pushing Gun Control: 97 percent of the gun editorials (89 out of 92) promoted gun control or attacked the NRA.
At one time, newspapers were America’s source for news and current events. Today it’s a completely different story. While President Obama has declared a push to ban or limit types of guns, the nation’s major newspapers are nearly unanimous in their support of gun control. The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and other most-popular papers led the list.
The consistent theme of almost every gun editorial from Dec. 15, 2012 to Jan. 11, 2013, was that stricter gun laws were needed, and semi-automatic rifles should be completely banned from civilian use. Some newspapers were even more aggressive.
Whether they claimed that the children of Newtown had been “sacrificed” to the NRA, or the repeated reference at semi-automatic rifles as “military-style” or “killing machines,” it was understandable why gun sales have increased so much lately. Many of these editorials urged then president to severely limit gun rights.
The New York Times made it clear it believed “the Second Amendment does not provide each American with an absolute right to own a gun.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune declared that nobody should be able to own semi-automatic rifles. “Not hunters. Not collectors. Not recreational target shooters. No one,” the paper wrote. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer bemoaned “the nation’s lack of gun laws.”
Only two out of the top 20 most circulated newspapers in the nation did not support increased gun control – The Wall Street Journal and The Orange County Register.
The New York Times’ War on the Second Amendment and the NRA
From Dec. 15, 2012, the day after the Newtown shooting, to Jan. 11, 2013, The New York Times ran 14 editorials on the issue of gun control, bypassing all other newspapers in the number of anti-gun editorials. The paper had an equally bad attitude toward the NRA within these editorials as well.
The Times completely dismissed the Second Amendment in its Dec. 18 editorial. “Those who believe, as we do, that the Second Amendment does not provide each American with an absolute right to own guns must recognize that this position can alienate sympathetic listeners and is not likely to prevail any time soon,” they wrote. This position is even more extreme than President Obama, who affirmed the right to bear arms in his press conference on Jan. 16, 2013. “I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen,” he stated.
On Dec. 21, The Times commented about the press conference being held by the NRA … the next day. “We would like to believe that the NRA, the most influential opponent of sensible gun-control policies, … but we have little faith that it will offer and substantial reform.” The Times already had their mind made up about what the NRA could offer to the national debate. It was inevitable that the editorial following the press conference would be equally as negative – and it was.
In the Dec. 22 editorial titled, “The NRA Crawls from Its Hidey Hole,” the editors went completely unhinged, and accused the NRA of “devoting itself to destroying compromise on guns.” They also restated that they had their mind made up about the NRA’s solution before they even stepped foot in the press conference. “No one seriously believed the NRA when it said it would contribute something ‘meaningful’ to the discussion about gun violence.”
Newspapers Ignore Clackmas Towne Center Shooter Stopped by Concealed Carry Holder
Just three days before Newtown, on Dec. 11, 2012, an armed gunman walked in the Clackmas Town Center shopping mall in Happy Valley, Ore. He shot two people, but was confronted by concealed carry permit holder Nick Meli, who was enabled to properly use his weapon to subdue the shooter before he could do more damage. This wasn’t reported in the local newspapers. Only one local Portland television station covered Meli’s presence .
While several editorials from across the country mentioned this shooting, they never mentioned the intruder being stopped by Meli, a national trend  among the media in reference to this shooting.
In fact, in a Dec. 15 editorial for The Denver Post, the paper specifically mentioned that the gunman in this shooting “killed two people – and was intent on killing more.” Yet it didn’t acknowledge how he was stopped … and the Post continued to advocate for stricter gun control laws.
Newspapers Versus the NRA
An overarching theme of the top newspapers’ editorials was that defenders the NRA “sacrificed” the lives of 6 and 7 year olds, as The Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed on Jan. 8. The New York Daily News charged that the NRA had been “grotesquely” preserving a “right to slaughter” through its advocacy for the Second Amendment. This attitude towards the NRA was shared by many other newspapers, as well.
The Star-Ledger from Newark, N.J. claimed that NRA President Wayne LaPierre “personifies the mind-numbing extremism that makes the NRA a pariah.” The San Jose Mercury News referred to the NRA’s press conference on Dec. 21 as “disturbing” and “unhinged” and claimed they “are not interested in protecting Americans from gun violence.”
In Florida, the Tampa Bay Times had a similar assessment of the NRA, stating that it was “self-serving.” The New York Daily News, however, had a solution for what the President could do about the NRA. “He must lead Congress in telling the NRA to go to hell,” they wrote in their Dec. 16 editorial.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that newspapers campaigned so aggressively for stricter gun control laws. They, like other proclaimed journalists , have lost touch with what their job actually is – to report the news. Instead, many of our leading newspapers have become advocacy outlets for the left. Ironically, these newspapers have lost respect for the Constitution that gives them the right to operate freely.