On the same August day that a TV news reporter and cameraman were murdered on live TV in Moneta, Va., by a deranged former co-worker evidently deluded by a persecution complex, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather urged journalists to become even more strident activists for gun control than they already are.
While openly exulting that “both victims and the alleged gunman were all journalists and the graphic nature of the video of the shooting will undoubtedly make this a story that will dominate the news cycle,” and praising “some journalistic organizations that have done a remarkable job trying to keep the gun violence story on the front pages and leading the news broadcasts,” Rather went on to complain that journalists aren’t doing enough, in his view, to convince the public to demand more gun control.
Pointing to the media’s relentless, frantic and fear-drenched attention to the Sept. 2014 arrival in the U.S. of a Liberian man infected with the deadly Ebola zaire virus, Rather tacitly called on the media to “fuel the hysteria” with similar 24/7/365 wall-to-wall coverage of sensational gun crimes in the U.S.:
“Think back to all the breathless coverage around the Ebola outbreak and the death of the patient in Dallas. That was indeed frightening, but there was a consensus that we as a nation must do whatever we could, spend whatever needed, to protect ourselves. And journalists dissected every angle, sometimes fueling the hysteria.”
To do anything less, Dan Rather lectured, amounts to “journalistic malpractice.”
But here’s a newsflash for Dan Rather:
The media already devote so much airtime, ink, attention, analysis, celebration, maudlin hand-wringing, insincere navel-gazing and controversy-seeking finger-pointing to every heinous crime committed with a gun that:
- every insane madman with a grudge, a gripe or a craving for fame already knows that if he really wants to make a statement, have his manifesto published and his every complaint broadcast into every living room for a month straight, all he needs to do is commit a copycat crime;
- instances of mass murder, while rare and not statistically increasing, do tend to run in clusters for this exact reason, as the FBI has repeatedly warned the media; and
- after being brainwashed by this relentless barrage of media misrepresentation that (to quote Rather) “fuels the hysteria,” much of the public now believes that mass murders are “epidemic”—when in fact, they may actually be decreasing—and that violent crime is skyrocketing, when in fact it has been falling for nearly 25 years, to the lowest levels in 40 years.
In other words, too many in the media are effectively lying to the American people.
The media will scream bloody murder—and for good reason—whenever anyone even questions the First Amendment. But when it comes to the Second Amendment that protects the First Amendment, the media too often amount to an angry lynch mob.
If that’s not “journalistic malpractice,” then we don’t know what is. But then again, who knows more about journalistic malpractice than Dan Rather, who so disgraced and embarrassed CBS News with his “Memogate” Bush hatchet job that they had to fire him?
Let’s face it: When a national “investigative reporter” is so fervent to score a “gotcha” against his political enemies that he never pauses to consider the obvious fact that laser printers didn’t exist in 1973, maybe he should limit his investigative reporting to grand openings, ribbon cuttings and local children’s Easter egg hunts. “This is journalistic malpractice ...” – Dan Rather
But the bigger issue—one that warrants serious investigation and reporting—is the anti-gun and partisan bias that’s endemic throughout so much of the supposedly “mainstream” media today.
When national polls over multiple decades find that journalists identifying themselves as “liberals” outnumbered “conservatives” by a factor of two-to-one in the 1960s, climbing to three-to-one in the 1980s—and that just 7 percent identify themselves as Republicans, while four times as many journalists identify themselves as Democrats today—is it any wonder that Americans trust reporters less than members of almost any other profession?
If Dan Rather sincerely cares about “journalistic malpractice”—and if he and his fellow members of the Fourth Estate want to retain any relevance whatsoever to the national debate—maybe instead of “fueling more hysteria,” they should sneak up on a mirror.