Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fear and Loathing in TV-Land

I peered up from the book I was reading yesterday and saw Wayne LaPierre’s face on the tube, and angrily grabbed the remote and shut TV off.  Having worked in a broadcast newsroom for nearly all my adult life, I always have CNN on in the background, very low volume, just as newsrooms always have the police scanner volume up 24/7.  News can break at any time. 

Scanner traffic and all-news 24/7 cable channels become part of your environment in this biz.
I thought about my initial reaction of anger at seeing LaPierre on the tube.  I am as tired of his “more-guns-more-guns-more-guns” rants as I am of the media constantly plastering his face on TV and broadcasting his rants.  The man is on every network every day!

A few hours later, on the local TV nooz, a reporterette was interviewing some local law enforcement guy who was saying they’re concerned about a possible shortage of bullets, and how they might have to cut back on their training activities if they can’t get enough bullets.

Then it clicked for me.

LaPierre is a genius.  An evil genius to be sure, but a genius nonetheless.  He has kept the cycle of fear and paranoia alive since December 14th last year – well over three months since the mass murders at Sandy Hook.  Whatever the gun and ammo manufacturers are paying him can’t possibly be enough.

He has, pretty much singlehandedly, created the biggest business boom in history for gun and ammo manufacturers, and the boom is showing no signs of slowing down. He has engendered a bull market in the firearms industry the likes of which has never been seen, and every nooz story that airs telling of possible bullet shortages and empty shelves and racks at the gun store drives the boom another notch higher.

Every time LaPierre opens his mouth some TV camera records it.  This is a fairly recent phenomenon in the nooz biz, this rush to “balance” every gun-control advocate (or, name any issue or cause under the sun) with someone who has a different viewpoint.  Every time somebody like Joe Biden says “gun control”, something from Wayne LaPierre must be run alongside it to “balance” the story.

And please, don’t get me started on the concept of “false equivalency”.

But, you know what?  Of all the gun groups out there (and there are more than you might think) Wayne LaPierre is the least extreme national spokesman! Spend a few moments reading the stuff that Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America has put out, and you’ll come away thinking LaPierre is a moderate.

By whipping up the fear that Barack Obama’s Secret Muslim Army is going to come in black helicopters to take your guns away, LaPierre gins up more and more business for the gun and ammo dealers. By constantly repeating his message of fear to “balance” their gun control stories, the media helps spread LaPierre’s paranoia.

Shortage of bullets?  “The Government” is buying up all of them so you can’t get them. Just ask LaPierre or any one of hundreds of right-wing bloggers.

Shortage of assault weapons?  Manufacturers can’t crank them out fast enough to meet the demand of those who STILL don’t own one, but know in their heart of hearts that if they don’t get one now, THE GOVERNMENT will soon shut down production and then they’ll have to pay an arm and a leg to get one on the black market.

Hitler’s first move was to disarm the populace?  The gun guys love saying that, but it’s complete BS.  The only people Hitler took guns from were the Jews. The average German household under Hitler was awash in firearms, many of them brought home after World War One.

The combination of crackpots like LaPierre, the media echo chamber, and native stupidity combined with ignorance of history and topped off by an inept congress have made gun and ammo manufacturers modern-day robber barons.

Yes, I own firearms. Yes, I’ve gone deer hunting with a high-powered rifle. 

No, I don’t have an AR-15 and no, I don’t own any high-capacity clips.

I don’t need them, nor do you.


  1. Nailed it. Again.

    Just for giggles, check out how many gun or ammunition company execs are on the NRA board of directors. I must admit, I've never been able to get by the high-profile nuts so I never much noticed. Intriguing.

  2. an owner of guns that I like to shoot on occasion, the ammo shortage does concern me because all it does is force the price up and I lose my initiative to pursue this hobby...its almost like smoking, when the rounds (50/ctn pistol 20/ctn rifle get beyond $1.00 and $1.50 each) the only people left buying will be the people who fear Obama's army...I agree with much of what you have written, the NRA is the moderate group, compared to some of the other wackos...both Obama and the NRA are to be congratulated for putting life into the Arms Industry, boosting employment and profits

    1. There was a small spike in guns/ammo sale after Columbine, Gary - nothing like the one now. Makes no diff who's president; if Sandy Hook had happened during the Bush administration, exactly the same thing would have happened, and Bush would have been castigated by the gun nuts.

    2. And thanks for the share, Gary!

  3. Barack Obama’s Secret Muslim Army is going to come in black helicopters to take your guns away

    LaPierre never said they would be Muslims.

    1. What LaP actually said about Muslims was ...

      “Ominously, the border also remains open to agents of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Numerous intelligence sources have confirmed that foreign terrorists have identified the southern U.S. border as their path of entry into the country.”

      BTW ... back when George W. Bush and the GOP controlled both the White House and Congress, LaP was all but hyperventilating as he exhorted his minions to beware, because “shadowy coalitions” of “one-world extremists” — including such ominous forces of evil as the United Nations, animal-rights “terrorists” and gangs of illegal aliens were getting ready for a “profound and foreboding confrontation” with gun owners. “History teaches us that their assault will be precipitated by a high-profile criminal act, like an L.A. riot, a D.C. sniper or a schoolyard shooting."

      "We'd better be ready," he warned. Holy dystopia!

      A short list of LaPreposterous' looniest exhalations of demagoguery is here:

  4. By the way: gun and ammo sales have been at a high level ever since Obama's election. It DOES make a difference 'who's President.'

    However, it will be difficult for you to make the case that LaP/NRA have been the exclusive cause of this phenomenon. NRA has only about 12 million members. GOA isn't even in the same order of magnitude.

    1. One glance at the list of names/occupations of the BoD of the NRA confirms that LaPierre is the second coming for these folks.

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