The media sells us sensational stories that might contain a small grain of truth. Some of those exaggerated stories are easy to recognize. Most of us can’t recognize the lies about honest gun owners.
By Rob Morse | SlowFacts
We live in the internet age where we have a world of information at our fingertips. The downside is that we’re flooded with details while we lose the larger truths. Our problem isn’t ignorance, but lack of perspective. Today, the media can shock us with something that is technically true, but intellectually meaningless. I want to show you two examples. One is boringly familiar while the other is virtually invisible to us because of media bias.
We continue to learn old truths. For example, there are countless articles written about what we should and should not eat. This isn’t an article on dietary consumption, but on intellectual consumption. From a technical perspective, we can now measure trace chemicals so accurately that we find minute amounts of harmful compounds everywhere. For instance, oranges contain natural carcinogens in their skin. So do other fruits and vegetables. We can also find “man-made chemicals” in places untouched by man. All we have to do is look hard enough.
It is simple to write a shocking news article describing how we despoiled the earth and contaminated our food with toxic chemicals. Selling that cancer-scare story is trivially easy. The fact remains that we’re eating better than we ever have. We also know that eating sufficient fruits and vegetables helps reduce our cancer risk.. even though those same foods contain measurable quantities of chemicals known to cause cancer.
Sensational journalism is more dangerous than mislabeled food. It is easy to sell us a sensational lie about the food we eat and the world in which we live. That dishonest journalism makes us less safe rather than helping us to be healthier and live safer lives. A more reasoned perspective tells us if our food is healthy, but that reasoned perspective is exactly what is lacking in our intellectual diet of sensational news.
I showed you a general rule about our biases and the news. I chose an ordinary example like food-safety because it is familiar. We’ve been told to ‘eat our vegetables’ since we were children, yet we can still be convinced that vegetables are dangerous.
I want to apply that same critical perspective to another topic that recently flooded the media. Politicians and the news media collected headlines from around the world and fed us stories of “gun violence” and “mass murder”. Our reaction is predictable. We’re justifiably shocked at the murder of innocent people. We’re outraged when we see video of their bloody bodies. Almost universally, these stories then call for disarming honest citizens who haven’t hurt anyone. The journalists never tell us the rest of the story so we can see these atrocities in perspective.
When we look at the facts, the US is not a violent country. The media never mentions that detail because perspective won’t keep us watching through the commercials. For the most part, violence in the US is concentrated in a few failed US cities. If we exclude a few cities that have long been under Socialists control, then the US is rated among the safest countries in the world. Our relative non-violence is more remarkable given that there are a hundred million gun owners in the US and that these honest gun owners fire millions of shots a day for sport and training.
In contrast to the media hype, honest gun owners are part of the solution to stop violent criminals who misuse guns. On the occasion when armed citizens use their gun for self-defense, the result is strikingly similar to what happens to police officers. The average armed citizen stops most assaults without firing a shot. Why didn’t the media tell us that?
Media bias hides the fact that guns save lives far more often than they cost them. This bias came to mind as I recently read a judge’s decision. This 9th circuit judge was so eloquent, that I’ll let him speak for himself.
Judge Roger T. Benitez said,
“Who has not heard about the Newtown, Connecticut, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the one at a high school in Parkland, Florida? The media covers these events for days. But an individual victim gets little, if any, media attention, and the attention he or she gets is local and short-lived.
“That is why mass shootings can seem to be a common problem, but in fact, are exceedingly rare. At the same time robberies, rapes, and murders of individuals are common, but draw little public notice. Are the lives of these victims worth any less than those lost in a mass shooting? Would their deaths be any less tragic?”
The judge is right. Honest citizens use personal firearms to defend themselves and their families thousands of time every day. Unfortunately, that isn’t a story the media wants to tell.
Personal firearms stop crime,
but they don’t sell insurance and cosmetics very well.
This media bias comes at a cost. Our ignorance is desperately dangerous since it is easy to lie to us when we don’t know the truth about personal defense. Some politicians and anti-gun billionaires want to disarm honest citizens. They tell us that ordinary gun owners are the cause of violent crime. The media quotes these lies, and many of us don’t know the broader facts about civilian gun ownership.
It isn’t the NRA that is selling fear,
it is the gun-ban advocates.
We routinely collect reliable police reports from across the country. There isn’t an epidemic of criminals misusing guns. The lying news media wants us to believe that honest gun owners are the real threat and it simply isn’t true.
The news media should come with warning labels!
Caution- Contents under emotional pressure.
The following stories are deliberately distorted
to manipulate your emotions and distort your thinking.
Some news sources will tell us the truth. Those authors are the ones you should trust. As with all our news, we have to scrub it thoroughly before we consume it. Trust but verify.