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NRA and Fox

December 22nd, 2012

Being here in America gives me an excellent opportunity to see Fox News (absent in Japan) in action.

After the Newtown massacre, Fox was uncharacteristically restrained. They even praised Obama for his handling of the situation, for the speeches that he made. Like the NRA, I’m pretty sure they sensed that then was not the time to go into Obama derangement mode.

That didn’t last long. Actually, that very night, Huckabee appeared on Cavuto and said that the children were killed because we had driven God out of the schools. Some of my family were outraged at this, and felt that Huckabee would suffer badly for it, that it crossed a line into a whole new dimension of slime that would certainly blow up. I pointed out that this kind of statement is not new, that conservatives have said this kind of thing before, and that usually the press just ignores it. Sadly, I was proven right—virtually no one outside of a few major blogs paid attention. A day or two later, Huckabee, undoubtedly informed of what an ass he made of himself, walked it back with a mealy-mouthed rewrite.

Still, Fox remained relatively muted, perhaps in part also because Murdoch is pro gun-control.

Well, things are slowly changing back. Wayne LaPierre gave a “news conference” (it was actually, at best, a “live press release,” as the press were not allowed to ask questions) in which he (1) placed the blame squarely on video games, movies, and music videos, as well as the media, who, according to LaPierre, “demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking”; and (2) released the NRA’s answer to the problem: put armed guards in every school in America. He says that we already put armed guards at banks, airports, office buildings, power plants, court houses, and sports stadiums, as well as having Capitol Police for the Congress and the secret service for the president.

How did Fox News handle it? Gently, but positively. They called no criticisms at all; they reported the highlights of the speech in terms that made it sound reasonable and respectable, and noted that “critics are attacking” and “lashing out” against the NRA. They noted the NRA’s strength and influence, and rather graciously presented the NRA’s ideas as if they were not ludicrous.

This is the Fox News which is much more dangerous than the clips I usually see, which are of their most outrageous and stupid moments. This is a very subtle and guided approach, one that seems reasonable and considered, but is very powerfully advocating a very specific point of view, and then calling it “fair and balanced” (using those specific words, still) “journalism.”

As I write this, they are airing a segment which could conceivably be titled “LaPierre Talking Points,” blaming movies and other media violence for what is happening; they aired their favorite punching bag, Nancy Pelosi, following it with the suggestion that Hollywood bribes to Democrats are also to blame, but pushing hard on the media-violence-is-to-blame angle, completely ignoring the NRA lobbying and the weapons industry. Their “fair and balanced” panel discussion with pro-gun and pro-gun-control people has not yet aired as promised (I’m waiting to see if they are putting in a Colmesian patsy for the pro-control side).

Something else worthy of comment is LaPierre’s own asinine ideas. Seriously, arm schools like we do Congress or the White House? That would only cost a trillion dollars a year. Airports and power plants? OK, hundreds of billions. Even if the security is just at the levels of court houses and banks, we’re talking huge expenses. Security would likely be more at the level of Los Angeles’ one uniformed cop per school, which itself would cost billions.

Not that I would be against the expense if it would work; however, expense is not even the central issue here. The central issue is whether or not you want your kids to go to schools where men in combat gear holding semiautomatic rifles patrol the halls.

Then there is the fact that it is more than questionable as to whether a cop armed with a handgun could reasonably defend against someone in armor bearing a semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine. If you recall, the Fort Hood, Texas shooter killed 13 people before he was stopped—and his target was the Soldier Readiness Center of a military installation. And the shooter was even then taken down only as he fumbled to reload.

If LaPierre were to think for a moment, he would realize that several of the security operations he mentioned would fall easily to a man with a semi-automatic rifle. Office buildings, sports stadiums, office buildings, and probably banks would all have little defense against someone trying to kill everyone in sight. As we saw with Fort Hood, even military installations cannot stop someone easily if their goal is simply to commit mayhem without regard to their own survivability. Even the president is not immune, as we have seen.

What was significant about LaPierre’s statement was that he gave absolutely no ground whatsoever. Many were expecting him to at least throw a bone to current sensitivity, maybe coming out for even limited restrictions to high-capacity magazines, or a partial ban on semi-automatic rifles of the worst variety. I thought he would at least offer something that looked like it would limit or ban the worst of the weaponry while actually leaving wide, gaping loopholes and eventually changing nothing. He did not even do that.

My father told me a joke recently: a man asks a woman, “If a billionaire offered you a hundred million dollars to go to bed with him, would you consider it?” “Maybe,” the woman answered, “I guess I might.” “How about having sex for twenty bucks?” the man forwards. The woman is offended, and replies, “God, no! What do you think, am I a whore or something?” The man replies, “We’ve already established that; now we’re just negotiating.” The point being, sometimes absolute principles matter.

I have said before that the NRA is essentially the ACLU for a single constitutional amendment rather than the whole Constitution, though they are much more money- and business-oriented than the ACLU. But they are similar in that they (a) take absolute stands on certain rights, and (b) do not shy away even if the things they defend are the most horrific examples of scum imaginable.

And that is what the NRA is doing here: standing by an absolute principle. You could almost admire them for it, were it not such a deranged principle and such an appallingly harmful one.

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  1. Troy
    December 23rd, 2012 at 02:57 | #1

    Imagine if Fox worked for good.

    But that would require 100% of the population to be good.

    50% tops is about all this place can muster.


    is an interesting thesis

    standard addendum: “not that Japan is any better these days!”

    I might be happier in Australia, Denmark or Canada.

    What I’m thinking of doing is moving up to Bellingham and spending weekends in Vancouver.

    Bellingham has a Trader Joes and that’s my main requirement in life, LOL

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