The anti-gun Facebook page “Gun Control Now” has this at its mantra: “Gun nuts will be banned. This page will be safe for the rational and the sane, a no harassment zone.”
So it’s a “safe space” for people to have one-sided groupthink. Like the “safe spaces” that have been popping up on college campuses to protect the often one-sided views and weak sensibilities of snowflakes, Gun Control Now opted to censor opposing views.
It’s amusing to mock this trend, but the problem is that it isn’t just some curious exception.
This shun-all-the-opposing-views approach from the Left is also why some on the progressive left are shouting down conservative speakers at Berkley, Middlebury and many other institutions of higher learning.
It’s amusing to mock this trend, but the problem is that it isn’t just some curious exception.This is why the thought police aren’t like police at all; rather, they are censors redacting inconvenient truths and banishing those who don’t voice their shared orthodoxy. These people are taking steps toward the reduction of thought Orwell called “Newspeak.”
And it isn’t just happening on college campuses. With the gun issues in particular, the media that lean left shun the freedom side of the story. That media bias toward Second Amendment freedoms has been well documented and is an issue we tackle at America’s 1st Freedom a lot, but many are missing the ramifications of the problem.
Though many today correctly say these are partisan times, we are too often deceived into thinking partisanship is the primary problem. We actually shouldn’t mind partisans all that much, as informed opinions are by nature more solid. As long as both sides can honestly debate, we can get at least two competing perspectives and so can move forward.
No, partisanship isn’t the problem per se—a society that has a robust competition of ideas underway is healthy. The trouble is many liberal outlets have disengaged from the competition of ideas by censoring certain views—gun rights in particular. That’s a disservice to their readers. That approach widens the divide between those with opposing views, as it causes people to lose perspective of what others actually think. That approach is also appallingly boring—no wonder many of those media companies are losing their audiences.
And this censorship leads to audiences that think of those from the other camp as being some sort of stereotype. It’s why those who only read huffingtonpost.com or watch CNN might really think that all of America’s 100-million-plus gun owners are from the same demographic.
Nevertheless, network news, CNN, The Washington Post and more habitually ignore stories that are inconvenient to their ideology.It’s a journalist’s job to be honest with his or her views and to seek alternative voices—as John Stuart Mill argued, how can we know if an idea is right or wrong if we don’t test it against other competing views?
Nevertheless, network news, CNN, The Washington Post and more habitually ignore stories that are inconvenient to their ideology. On issues like gun rights, they wouldn’t report a positive story if it metaphorically shot them in the butt.
For this reason the “All the news that’s fit to print” motto of The New York Times feels like a license to print propaganda, a perspective so one-sided it is actually harmful.
Bloomberg’s anti-gun group won’t even talk to a journalist who takes a pragmatic view. I have never been able to speak to them. They can’t win in the battle of ideas, as the facts are against them, so they want to censor you into a stereotype.
Dishonesty in some of our largest media outlets is to blame for much of the current divide. A partisan can, after all, still be honest. They can tell their readers their views even as they present other opinions and as they cite facts (inconvenient or not) with sources, you know, like they used to teach in journalism school.
So that’s the problem, but is there a solution? Maybe I’m too much of an optimist, but I do believe that the power of the First Amendment working in the marketplace can and is correcting this. I would even argue that part of the reason for President Donald Trump’s surprise election win occurred because a lot of voters didn’t trust the mainstream media’s narratives.
We must clearly understand what the problem really is—censorship of who gun owners really are—and then we have to clearly articulate this every time the topic comes up. We need to articulate the other side of the story in comment sections and to tell the whole story to anyone open-minded enough to listen. That’s the power of free speech that too much of the media is squandering.
Frank Miniter is the author of Kill Big Brother, a novel that shows how to keep government from infringing on our liberties. Miniter is also the author of the The New York Times' bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood, This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com.