A Gannett article appearing on USAToday.com alleges that a recently enacted New York law limiting firearm magazine capacity to seven rounds will effectively render handguns inoperable, claiming no manufacturers produce magazines with a seven-round capacity. This reporting is gaining steam in the right-wing blogosphere, even as a quick web search reveals numerous options for purchasing magazines with a seven or less round capacity.
According to the article, which originally appeared in the Gannett-owned (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, "as far as local gun dealers and the Democrat and Chronicle have been able to determine, there are no manufacturers planning to make seven-round magazines" and that when New York's new magazine law goes into effect on April 15, dealers "can only sell something that doesn't exist yet":
Starting April 15, New York will have the smallest gun magazine limit in the country, and all signs indicate no gun makers have plans to accommodate it.
Gun manufacturers have never had a reason to make a magazine with fewer than 10 rounds, because no state required it until now. And, as far as local gun dealers and the Democrat and Chronicle have been able to determine, there are no manufacturers planning to make seven-round magazines.
This means that in less than two months, gun dealers such as Paul Martin, owner of Pro-Gun Services in Victor, can only sell something that doesn't exist yet.
A search on firearms accessories supplier Brownells' website reveals 51 options for purchasing magazines with a 5, 6 or 7 round capacity. Magazines for popular firearms brands offered by Brownells include Springfield, Glock, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Ruger, and Sig Sauer. In fact, the seven-round magazine is the third most popular configuration offered by Brownells, with only eight- and 10-round magazines offering more options.
The Democrat and Chronicle notes that most gun manufacturers it reached out to for comment, including Brownells, Glock, Smith & Weston and Pro Mag Industries, did not or declined to respond. However, on its website, Brownells indicates that it sells seven-round Smith & Wesson and Pro Mag magazines. A six-round magazine is also offered by Glock.
Conservative media's Charlotte Allen recently wrote an extensive cover piece for The Weekly Standard that relies on discredited right-wing activists Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams to attack the Department of Justice's renewed focus on properly enforcing the Voting Rights Act. But while conservative media typically advances these sources and their debunked myths, it is disturbing that mainstream coverage of the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder is relying on von Spakovsky and not disclosing his highly unreliable background.
Allen, responsible for a piece dubbed "The Stupidest Thing Anyone Has Written About Sandy Hook" by lamenting in National Review Online that no men or "huskier 12-year-old boys" were available to protect the "feminized" victims of the Newtown massacre, takes on the "politiciz[ed]" DOJ under President Obama in her story for the The Weekly Standard. In the article, Allen manages to repeat most of von Spakovsky's and Adams' stale misinformation of years past, ranging from the non-scandalous New Black Panther fiasco and non-existent Fast and Furious conspiracy, to DOJ's "belligerent stances" on enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Allen also successfully writes over 6,500 words on the alleged "politicizing" of DOJ without divulging von Spakovsky and Adams were poster children for such conduct when they worked for the DOJ under George W. Bush, disparages U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder because his "people" are not black enough to claim civil rights history, and finally undermines her main thesis by admitting that - under any presidency - DOJ follows the policy preferences of the White House.
Ultimately, however, that Allen uses the collected works of von Spakovsky and Adams is unsurprising. What is troublesome is that mainstream outlets are also publishing the opinions of von Spakovsky and Adams as the "conservative" perspectives on Shelby without disclosing their extremist background.
The Federal Communications Commission met today to vote on a series of proposed rules. Typically this isn't all that exciting, but one of the rules, requiring television broadcasters to publish online public documents disclosing the amounts they charge political campaigns for advertisements, sparked a fight between the broadcasters and good government groups.
OK, that's still not terribly exciting, but this gets interesting, I promise. Big media conglomerates (News Corp., Gannett, Allbritton, Disney, etc.) lobbied against the rule's passage, arguing that publishing the data online would put them at a competitive disadvantage. In spite of that opposition, the rule passed today on a 2-1 vote. As TechPresident ably documented, several media outlets owned by these companies completely ignored the story in the weeks leading up to the vote, among them Gannett-owned USA Today, which still has yet to report on the measure. (Gannett "operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets," per their corporate website.)
I'm singling out USA Today here not just because they haven't said a single word about the vote, but because this afternoon the paper published a write-up of a separate measure the FCC voted on this morning that aims to stop unauthorized charges from appearing on phone bills, a practice known as "cramming." The FCC's vote on the "cramming" rule took place right before the vote on the ad disclosure measure.
Why cover the "cramming" rule but not the ad disclosure rule? I sent a request for comment to USA Today and will update if they respond, but their coverage thus far gives the impression that the paper has an interest covering the rules that pass FCC muster, just not the one its parent company lobbies against.
In recent comparisons of Barack Obama's and John McCain's positions, Gannett News Service and the Associated Press claimed that McCain opposes a constitutional amendment banning abortion. However, McCain has previously asserted that he supports such an amendment, and McCain advisers have reportedly said that he would not try to change the Republican Party's platform on abortion, which in 2004 called for a constitutional ban on abortion.
A Gannett News Service "analysis" by Chuck Raasch asserted that Sen. John McCain "is vulnerable to the flip-flopper label" on taxes "because he voted against [President] Bush's tax cuts, calling them irresponsible without an accompanying resolve to cut government spending." But, while McCain makes that claim now -- that he voted against the tax cuts because of lack of offsetting spending cuts -- he gave a different reason on the Senate floor in 2001 to explain his opposition to the tax cut bill, which Raasch does not mention.
A Gannett News Service analysis reported on Sen. John McCain's response to television ads by Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign that criticized McCain "for being AWOL on the nation's economic challenges," stating: "McCain immediately fired back in videos ... that characterized the Democrats as proposing to tax the country out of its economic woes." However, the piece did not mention that the key assertion in McCain's ad is false.
A Gannett News Service article claimed that John McCain "has built up such a straight-talker image that any aroma of pandering or changing positions to placate conservatives would expose him to the flip-flopping label he has pinned on [Mitt] Romney." In fact, on two of the issues cited -- taxes and immigration -- McCain has changed his positions to more closely align himself with the base of the Republican Party, which the article didn't note.