There’s an interesting item at PJ Media reporting on a Media Research Center study about MSM hysteria over the “gun violence” crisis (1). MRC took a look at the broadcast networks’ news coverage after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, and what they found is intriguing:
MRC analysts reviewed all 216 gun policy stories on the Big Three networks’ evening (ABC’s World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News) and morning show programs (ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, NBC’s Today), beginning with the evening of the shooting through January 17, the morning after Obama made his speech surrounded by children who had sent him letters pushing for more gun control.
The results show staggering imbalance:
■ Stories advocating more gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 99 to 12, or a ratio of 8 to 1.
■ Anti-gun soundbites were aired almost twice as frequently than pro-gun ones (228 to 134).
■ Gun control advocates appeared as guests on 26 occasions, compared to 7 times for gun rights advocates.
CBS was the most stridently anti-gun rights network. By a whopping 22 to 1 ratio, CBS aired more stories that favored gun control (44) to those that supported gun rights (2), with 37 neutral pieces. ABC aired almost six times as many stories that favored gun control (29) to those that favored gun rights, with 25 neutral stories. NBC pushed for more gun control in 26 of their stories to just 5 that tilted in favor of gun rights for a 5 to 1 ratio, with 43 neutral segments.
That’s not news reporting, that’s agenda journalism at its worst. And I’m willing to bet many at the “alphabet networks” don’t even realize they’re doing this and would be appalled to be faced with the reality. They live and work in left-liberal echo chambers while thinking of themselves as guardians of the truth. (2)
Of course, on the other hand, I’m sure we can all point to reporters who see agenda journalism as the whole point — it’s a crusade, not a straight reporting of facts. Bernard Goldberg (formerly of CBS) has written a great book on this.
The problem is that so many people still get the majority of their information from the broadcast networks, the range of opinion on which is so slanted, that they themselves are trapped in that same echo chamber — a captive audience. It’s small wonder that so many people think more gun control is the answer, when they rarely get to hear intelligent advocates for the pro-2nd amendment argument, instead being shown kooks like Alex Jones. (3)
It’s a tremendous hill to climb to try to overcome this cacophony of media-generated hysteria, where facts are less-valued than feeling, but we have to try nonetheless.
(1) As in that progressive favorite, “never let a crisis go to waste.” Even if you have to make one up.
(2) And there are some who really do play it straight, but far too few, sadly.
(3) Dear CS monitor: Alex Jones is not “ultra-conservative.” He’s a conspiracy-theory loon, and that’s it.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)