In what passes for humour by the US gun lobby, a “shooting sports” website has produced “ The journalist’s guide to gun violence coverage .”
Clearly, the people who run Ammoland have been stung by the relatively mild antagonism aired in America’s media towards the use of guns following a string of mass murders.
They also lampoon President Barack Obama for his tears as he talked about the 2012 murder of 20 children at Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut, while advocating gun controls.
So, using a hammer to crack a nut – or should that be a Kalashnikov to shoot a mouse? – it has a produced 4,300 words of advice to reporters.
Sample one: Covering common gun violence stories
“The purpose of routine gun crime coverage is to create the impression of a continuing, growing and terrifying tidal wave of gun violence. Your goal is to plant the fear of guns in the minds of ordinary people, fear for themselves and especially for their children…
Most shootings involve only one victim. This should not discourage a talented journalist. There are ways to make even the smallest shooting incident serve the greater good by following these suggestions. When telling the story, adjectives should always be chosen for maximum anti-gun effect.
When describing a gun, attach terms like ‘automatic,’ ‘semi-automatic,’ ‘large caliber,’ ‘deadly,’ ‘high powered,’ or ‘powerful.’ Small pistols can be called ‘cheap’ or ‘concealable.’ Almost any gun can be described by one or more of these terms. More than two guns should be called an ‘arsenal.’ Try to include the term ‘assault weapon’ if at all possible…”
Sample two: Themes to avoid
“Never question the effectiveness of gun control laws or proposals. Guns are evil and only good for killing, so removing guns from society by whatever means necessary can only be good.
Do not discuss the fact that gun laws are often not enforced and do not mention that it takes men with guns to enforce them.
Common sense tells us that nobody ever uses guns for legitimate self-defence, especially women or children. You may occasionally run across stories where ordinary people defend themselves with a gun.
These must be minimised or suppressed. One subtle method is to say that the defender had some sort of government training, ie: retired cop or ex-military, which makes their actions more acceptable.”
Sample three: An important factor in our favour
“If you consider the size of the US population, the number of gun deaths is not that impressive.”
I suggest you read that sentence again!
Sample four: The gun lobby
“The National Rifle Association should be a primary target of your words. A great deal of work has gone into nurturing a general hatred of this organisation.
Although the NRA is not among the top campaign contributors, you should always mention ‘NRA money’ when discussing how they influence politicians. Their legislative lobbying efforts should be described as ‘arm twisting’ or ‘threats.’
Whenever mentioning the NRA, it is important to frame that reference in the right way. For example, you can mention the most recent emotional gun incident: ‘On the four year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings, the NRA announced a new program to promote gun ownership.’”
It goes on, and on, with its heavy-handed satire, taking a pop at the “elite” of urban, liberal journalists who believe “the nation will be a better place when only the police and military have guns.”
And how about this for a conclusion: “When common people are eventually disarmed, the government will be all-powerful and the media will guide the government.”
In other words, Americans are buying guns in order to protect themselves from their government. Priceless.