With every tragic shooting comes the same series of media narratives. Some in the right-wing media will proclaim that now is not the time for a discussion about the larger issue of gun violence, and the steps that can be taken to prevent it. Other conservatives will claim that the tragedy could have been averted if the victims were armed. And inevitably, someone in the traditional media will push the myth that no action can be taken because of the supposed power of the National Rifle Association.
National Journal Editor-in-Chief Reid Wilson is the latest to go down the latter path. In a December 13 column, he writes in response to the "missing conversation" that followed NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher's murder of his girlfriend and suicide and the subsequent response from sports journalists:
The president is unlikely to devote political capital to any sort of serious push for new gun-control legislation. Though the National Rifle Association's power has waned from its peak, Republicans remain firmly on the NRA's side while Democrats remain deeply scarred by the gun-rights group's success in ousting pro-gun-control legislators.
While Wilson acknowledges that the NRA's power has diminished, he does not question the central premise of the myth of the NRA's electoral dominance. While reporters have cited this phenomenon for years, there is little evidence to support the notion that the group has an outsized role in winning elections.
In a Bloomberg op-ed today, former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) criticizes his fellow conservatives for not dealing in facts when it comes to climate science. The National Journal also has an interesting article out on how a "number of influential Republicans who have left the battlefield of electoral politics are now taking action in an effort to change the GOP's stance" on climate change. After noting that Inglis is making a conservative case for taking action to combat climate change, the article stated:
A leading GOP strategist who advises congressional leadership on energy issues was dismissive of the former officeholders' efforts.
"If you're Bob Inglis and really believe that, the way that we work these things out is that you run for office," said Republican strategist Mike McKenna. "These retired guys, they say they think this, that, and the other. But if you really want to change it, you have to be on the inside. If you care about this stuff, you run for office. They have been unable to convince anybody that they're right. The working party thinks one thing; these retirees think another. If you want to make a difference, get off the porch and work with the rest of us."
But who is Mike McKenna and whose interests does he represent?
The bad news for Sarah Palin this week? A new CNN poll shows that among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, only 12 percent want her to be the party's presidential nominee in 2012, which puts the former political superstar in a statistical tie with TV host Donald Trump.
The good news for Sarah Palin this week? Some within the Beltway press continue to hype her presidential chances. Outlets like the National Journal, which this week tagged her as a "rising" player in the Republican presidential field.
Here's the analysis [emphasis added]:
SARAH PALIN (previous rank: 8)
The basic formula for compiling these rankings is to take a candidate's likelihood of winning and divide by the likelihood that he or she will run in the first place. We're very skeptical that Palin will run, but her chances of securing the GOP nomination if she does are high. How can that be, given her falling approval ratings among Republicans? Consider Rep. Ben Quayle, who faced allegations during his primary campaign in Arizona that he posted messages on a raunchy local website. Quayle became the focus of the race, big-footing other candidates and splintering the opposition. Palin has the unique ability to do the same.
So, Palin's chances of winning the nomination remain "high," even though polling among Republican voters suggests it's not. And Palin can overcome her "falling approval ratings among Republicans" because Dan Quayle's son was elected to Congress in Arizona.
Isn't it time for Beltway media elites to start telling the truth about Palin's chances?