Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's Not Like The Media Isn't Already In The Tank For Them (Update)

The mainstream media isn't our friend. They have a narrative and they consider us to be on the wrong side of it. The only exception to this is, on rare occasion, the local media. They will sometimes do favorable stories on concealed carry and women or some other aspect of the gun culture that has a human interest component to it.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is funding a two-day workshop  put on by the Columbia School of Journalism's Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma for local and regional journalists. As Sebastian noted, "most journalists don't know their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to this topic, so they won’t be able to tell they are being spoon fed bullshit."

The workshop will:
offer independent expert briefings and specialized reporting skills training to enhance the practical ability of journalists to report on guns and gun violence knowledgeably, ethically and effectively. The workshop will cover such topics as state and federal gun laws; patterns of gun sales and gun trafficking; national trends and polling; education and prevention initiatives; social, economic and public health impacts; and special populations (e.g. children and youth, women and returning veterans.) Speakers include national public health and policy experts; researchers and clinicians; award-winning journalists, and prevention advocates and survivors.

Speakers include national public health and policy experts; researchers and clinicians; award-winning journalists, and prevention advocates and survivors.
I find it particularly interesting that they want to concentrate their efforts on reporters, editors,  news directors, photographers, and producers in the Southwest. If I were to speculate, I would say this concentration on the Southwest is intended to bolster their efforts to win universal background check initiatives in states such as Nevada and Arizona. The price that Bloomberg is paying for this workshop pales in comparison to the return that they could potentially get in terms of stories slanted towards their agenda by a local media that has bought into the narrative. Money spent here means much less money has to be spent during the initiative campaign.

While the NRA doesn't put on such workshops for the media, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has done training in the past. That said, I doubt it was intended to indoctrinate gullible journalists in quite the same way as Everytown intends to do. From what Michael Bane has said on his podcasts in reference to it, the NSSF events were more about educating journalists on firearms in general.

UPDATE: According to a story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Everytown spent $48,000 to fund this gun violence (sic) propaganda training event for journalists. Bruce Shapiro, director of the Dart Center, insists that the Center will be the one assembling the curriculum content and not Everytown.
"The Arizona workshop is funded by Everytown, but the Dart Center alone will determine the content. If Michael Bloomberg, or any funder, tried to determine the content of our programs we'd give the money back," Shapiro said in an email. "At this workshop as in everything we do, we'll combine briefings by diverse, independent scholars on key issues (and I'd welcome any suggestions there) with journalist-to-journalist conversation about the craft of reporting on this challenging debate. And that's it."
I'm with Lee Williams of the Herald-Tribune on this one - "I don't buy it."

One thing I missed about the story earlier is that it will be open to 30 participants of which half will have their expenses paid. I had thought the event was only for 15 journalists.

UPDATE II: For more on the former NSSF's Media Education Project, see today's blog post by Michael Bane.


  1. In the 8 year span of the NSSF Media Education Program our focus was to put guns in the hands of the journalists and teach them to shoot. I was privileged to oversee a cadre of instructors that has never been equalled, including Jerry Miculek, Kay Clark, Randi Rogers, "Evil Roy," Bruce Gray, Todd Jarrett, Chris Edwards, Walt Rauch, Lisa Munson, Dave Arnold, members of the U.S.Olympic Team, top military trainers, etc. In working with my instructors beforehand, I emphasized that they were to answer any and every question as honestly and thoroughly as possible, because we all fundamentally believe in the correctness and, for lack of a better word, the *honor* of our cause. In my conversations with others media experts on our side, I steadfastly held to our position of *not* proselytizing the Second Amendment…my feeling (which proved to be true) was that the would arrive in the same place *through* the training. We built the Program on the writings of Malcolm Gladwell, which was revolutionary at the time.

    The Media Education Project was the most successful media outreach ever attempted by the gun culture. At the beginning of the Project, Sarah Brady bragged that with 1 phone call she could be on all 3 national networks (3 national networks…isn't that quaint???); the Project broke her stranglehold on the news without directly attacking the antigun "spinners." We made unprecedented inroads into the antigun media.

    The program was expanded into Hollywood with the now semi-legendary stunt, property master, armorer and action/second unit director events, addressing the antigun biases in Hollywood by once again through training and, honestly, exposure to our marvelous team of instructors. After the first 2 events, major Hollywood directors and even well-known actors began asking about upcoming events. We expanded the program again into fiction, working with the Mystery Writers of America to produce a program for their national convention that the group called the best, most successful event ever held by that group.

    We succeeded beyond our wildest best-case projections. The industry still benefits from those events, which ended 8 years ago. We forged alliances within the shooting sports and training community and helped everyone to understand the importance — and the power — of speaking with a single voice and staying on message.

    In the end, the industry decided that such events were too expensive to continue.

    Michael B

    1. "In the end, the industry decided that such events were too expensive to continue."

      That seems shortsighted and backwards. Education may be expensive, but a lack of education is far more costly.


  2. Thanks for the insight on the NSSF program that you helped lead. It is a shame that the industry (naively) thought these events were too expensive. I think they would find that it is cheap in comparison to what they are having to pay lobbyists nowadays.

    Say what you will about that nasty little Fascist, he isn't stupid. For what is the spare change in his night stand, he will reap millions of dollars of free advertising of the anti-gun "narrative".