TV gun coverage fatigue


As the Senate gets set to debate a host of gun control bills, which Republicans plan to filibuster, and the President twists arms to move Congress forward, and the national media salivates over the 24-7 coverage possibilities, I’ll be buying a big bottle of dark Caribbean rum.

It’s not that I’m not interested in the issues or the debate – far from it. I’ve got a safe full of reasons why the national debate concerns me and most of my friends.

I just can’t take much more of this coverage, so I’m tuning out.

I’ve learned to live with the conflating of modern sporting rifles and machine guns – the real select-fire assault weapons – although I don’t like it. It’s similar to the standard vs. high-capacity magazine mislabeling that’s become accepted in most TV news stories.

Lately, however, the false choices and blatant exaggerations – which are never called out or corrected – have made TV coverage of this important debate nearly impossible for me to watch.

A talking head on one basic cable channel just said a vote against the “universal background check” bill is a vote to allow “rapists and child molesters” to have access to guns.

Come on, man!

No opposing viewpoint was offered.

What happened to civil discourse with both sides of the issue fairly represented and given equal time?

It’s what we in the print media strive to achieve in every story. It’s not easy. It requires a lot of work and a lot of phone calls.

I can understand, however, why those in the firearms industry aren’t returning calls or heading to a TV news studio anytime soon.

A Tampa gun shop owner told me he recently allowed a national cable TV news crew into his pistol range to film female shooters. The producer told him they were reporting a story about how more females are getting into the sport. When the story aired, however, it was markedly different and had a very distinct anti-gun bias. To make matters worse, his shop was named in the story.

He won’t likely allow another news crew into his shop, regardless of what they promise.

He feels burned.

I don’t blame him.

He stopped watching cable TV news.

Me too.

While the debate rages, I’ll be sipping rum and watching Vikings.



About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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