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January 18, 2013

Shorter Weigel: NRA Responsible For Media's Shoddy Sandy Hook Reporting

Journolist punk Dave Weigel has a ridiculous hit piece on the NRA in amateur webzine Slate that you can look up if you want. The HQ's "no links for asshats" rule is solidly in play on this one.

He first criticizes a Sandy Hook Truther video that has a bunch of hits on YouTube. Fair enough. One of those hits was mine, but unfortunately there was no way for YouTube to measure the eyeroll it elicited before I shut it down.

I dunno, maybe it was the misspelling of "hologram" right at the beginning that turned me off. No, wait, that wasn't really it (although it didn't help).

What really provoked clicking away from the video was the fact that it tries to build a conspiracy theory out of the mainstream media's horrendous early reporting of the incident. As an exercise in logic, this is asinine. What they're saying is that the early media reporting should be trusted, but later reporting, which should be more accurate as assertions get backfilled with evidence, shouldn't. In reality, you could fill an Internet with what reporters don't know about guns and aren't interested in learning.

An honest critique of the video, unlike Weigel's, would then flow to how conspiracy theories are enabled by the media and that reporters have a greater duty to get the story right than they have to get it quick, etc.

But that wasn't Weigel's purpose in writing the piece. His purpose, apparently, was to blame the NRA for pushing the conspiracy theory. Which is odd, since the NRA didn't have anything to do with it.

What the NRA did do, though, was raise the possibility that Operation Fast & Furious was run by the Obama administration to generate sympathy for gun control legislation. And, you know, since they believe that, then they obviously believe all the stuff in the video too.

Here's Weigel's smoking gun:

“Over a period of two or three years they were running thousands and thousands of guns to the most evil people on earth,” [Wayne LaPierre] said. “At the same time they were yelling ’90 per cent… of the guns the Mexican drug cartels are using come from the United States.’ ” It wasn’t a wild theory. “It’s the only thing that makes any sense.”

Before discounting that, I'd like to hear the law enforcement purpose of Fast & Furious from the Obama administration, or, for that matter, Weigel. The only plan they had of tracking guns that were sent to Mexico was, apparently, recovering them from crime scenes. That's a hell of a law enforcement operation there. And as far as the 90% thing goes, even the liberal FactCheck.org can't spin it as true.

You know who else said Fast & Furious should be used to support gun control proposals? The ATF, that's who:

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF's Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

"Bill - can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as "(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue." And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: "Bill--well done yesterday... (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case."

So, no, LaPierre's assertions about Fast & Furious are nothing like a conspiracy theory based on bad reporting. Nice try, Weigel, but back to the drawing board.

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posted by Andy at 08:10 AM

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