Media reporting on the verdict that George Zimmerman is not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin suggested a misleading distinction between the defense attorneys' supposed use of "conventional" self-defense principles and Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law (also known as "Shoot First" or "Kill at Will"), ignoring the fact that the sole justifiable homicide law in Florida incorporates "Stand Your Ground."
Paul M. Barrett, a senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek, cherry-picked polls on gun violence to suggest that the National Rifle Association will be able to block proposed gun violence prevention measures. According to Barrett, who authored a book about the rise of Glock as a popular firearm manufacturer, gun violence prevention proposals are unpopular with the public and the "NRA wins because it's popular with a broad swath of Americans."
Barrett's article is typical of a narrative in the media overemphasizing the NRA's clout. In the wake of the December 14 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, traditional media have suggested that the NRA will remove from office politicians who favor gun reforms; even though the NRA's massive spending during the 2012 elections was almost entirely ineffectual.
Contrary to Barrett's assertion about NRA popularity, a poll released yesterday found that a plurality of the public holds a negative view of the NRA. Furthermore, specific gun violence prevention proposals, such as making background checks on gun purchases mandatory, are supported by the vast majority of NRA members and the public at large.
Fox has attacked the economic recovery under President Obama by claiming that if Obama just adopted the policies of former President Ronald Reagan, there would be a stronger recovery. But as economists have pointed out, the Reagan recession ended not because of Reagan's fiscal policies but because the Federal Reserve drastically cut interest rates. Because interest rates are already at zero, such a rate cut is not a possible option now.
For its cover this week, Businessweek apparently selected the words "arrogant," "entitled," "smug," and "know-it-all" -- stamped in dripping red ink blotches -- to characterize criticism of Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who serves as special assistant to President Obama and special adviser to the Treasury Department.
Huffington Post's Jason Linkins rightly took issue with the cover, explaining the sexist insinuation of "Warren's picture dotted with epithets like 'smug' and 'entitled' and 'know-it-all.'"
What's curious about those particular epithets, to borrow Linkins' descriptor, is trying to discern where Businessweek came up with them: Drake Bennett used more than 4,000 words in his cover story, but "entitled," "smug," "know-it-all," and "arrogant" were not among them. (Two other words on the cover -- "bureaucrat" and "liberal" -- do, in fact, appear in the article.)
Linkins offered to "generously assume" that Businessweek chose those particular words as "an interpretive way of sending up Warren's myopic critics, and not the magazine itself commenting on a woman whose most fervent desire is for ordinary Americans to have intelligible loan and credit-card agreements."
That may be, but questions remain as to just where the magazine's editors came up with the words they apparently chose to adorn their cover -- and why.
Including Jersey Shore personality Snooki in a discussion of taxation might seemed like something that would appeal only to media figures with less credibility to maintain, but as of August 2 Snooki's -- ahem -- skin-deep political analysis had made its way into Bloomberg's Businessweek.
Since Snooki stated that she no longer uses tanning beds "because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning" and asserted that "McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning," a variety of conservatives have reveled in her comments. Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard used her comments as a launching point for a discussion on the tanning tax, during which crazy person Pamela Geller insisted that Snooki "should be news because she's the common man" and claimed that the tax illustrates Obama's "contempt for the little guy." Snooki's taxation criticism also graced a headline at Hugh Hewitt's blog, was the subject of a post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood, and ended up on Fox Nation.