The motivation for this post came to me after reading this post by Ace. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while, but Ace beat me to it. I’d like to continue with my own take on the subject here.
I’m sure that most of you have heard of the Chicago Tribune gun error by now. If not, the short of the story is that the Chicago Tribune printed a technical drawing of an AR-15 in an attempt to explain the legal definition of “assault weapon.” Most noteworthy was them mistaking a sling attachment for a grenade launcher mount.
That’s right. They printed a full page picture of an AR-15 on Page 18 of the January 18th paper and thought that a sling mount was a mount for a grenade launcher. Even more frightening is that this was just one of many errors in the story.
The Chicago Tribune issued an apology in which they make the claim that this was a simple mistake and although it was regrettable and embarrassing, they are only human. Then, they whine about it not being “fair” that gun owners accuse them of advancing a liberal agenda. It was a simple mistake! Get over it!
The apology has already been analyzed and laughed-at by the blogosphere, so I’m not going to go there. That apology just happened to be a perfect example of the point I’m trying to make here.
We’ve been having this most recent gun debate for months now and the media continues to use the words “magazine” and “clip” interchangeably, they cite factually incorrect gun stats, point to sling attachments and talk about grenade launchers, throw the word “assault weapon” out at random and they STILL screw up semi-automatic vs. fully automatic.
They simply refuse to learn anything about guns. Do you remember when journalists used to do basic fact-checking before publishing articles? Hell, I learned that basic tenant back in my high school journalism class. This is really basic stuff, folks.
The mainstream media in this country is purposely ignorant.
It’s a form of plausible deniability, also known as Cover Your Ass. When they are not lying outright, they remain ignorant on purpose. This allows them to publish factually incorrect articles and stats, push their message forward, do as much damage as possible and then issue an apology if they get called out on their inaccuracies.
Thus, they retain their credibility (in their minds at least) because they don’t have to acknowledge that they willfully lied. They just got it wrong. As a bonus, they get to continue telling themselves that they are ethical journalists who hunger for the truth. If they get it wrong sometimes, well, they are just human after all.