Author Page | Page 9 | Media Matters for America

Jamison Foser

Author ››› Jamison Foser
  • Coulter: High-Capacity Magazine Put Loughner "At A Disadvantage" During Massacre

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Ann Coulter claims Tucson shooter Jared Loughner was at a "disadvantage" due the the 33-round high-capacity magazine he used:

    In fact, high-capacity mags put a predator like [Jared] Loughner at a disadvantage because they are so long, unwieldy and difficult to conceal.

    Coulter does not indicate whether she asked any of the people present when Loughner killed six people and shot 13 others if they thought he was "at a disadvantage" because of the "unwieldy" high-capacity magazine he used. I'll go ahead and assume she did not. For the record, Loughner was subdued when he eventually had to stop to re-load after firing 31 shots.

    Coulter's rather odd views on guns are unsurprising when one considers the "experts" she relies upon:

    There's only one policy of any kind that has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws. In a comprehensive study of all public, multiple-shooting incidents in America between 1977 and 1999, the highly regarded economists John Lott and Bill Landes found that concealed-carry laws were the only laws that had any beneficial effect.

    The "highly regarded" John Lott has been caught using fraudulent data (and lying about it to cover his tracks) in his concealed-carry studies. And the National Research Council's Committee to Improve Research Information and Data on Firearm said of its examination of research conducted by Lott and others on concealed-carry laws: "despite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime."

    Finally, Coulter appears unaware of actual public attitudes about high-capacity magazines:

    During the presidential campaign, Obama said: "I don't know of any self-respecting hunter that needs 19 rounds of anything. You don't shoot 19 rounds at a deer, and if you do, you shouldn't be hunting." It would have been more accurate for him to end that sentence after the word "hunter."

    It's so adorable when people who wouldn't know a high-capacity magazine from Vanity Fair start telling gun owners what they should want and need.

    According to a recent bipartisan poll, a strong majority of Americans, and a plurality of those who live in households with guns, think the sale of high-capacity magazines should be banned.

  • UPDATED: John Lott Vs. The FBI

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    At first glance, it might seem problematic that this Newsmax piece about gun regulations makes flat assertions about gun sales without referencing any data or citing any sources. But when you consider that the author of the post, John Lott, has been caught using fraudulent data, lying about it, and using a fake internet persona to tout his bogus work, the lack of specificity may actually be a positive: At least Lott didn't fake a study to support his assertions. Unfortunately, that appears to be the result of laziness rather than a newfound commitment to the truth.

    Lott asserts "Virtually no criminal guns are obtained from gun shows." He offers no data or expert opinion to support this contention. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, on the other hand, has concluded:

    The access to anonymous sales and large numbers of secondhand firearms makes gun shows attractive to criminals. ... The access to anonymous sales and large numbers of secondhand firearms makes gun shows attractive to criminals. ... Firearms that were illegally diverted at or through gun shows were recovered in subsequent crimes, including homicide and robbery, in more than a third of the gun show investigations.

    So, on the one hand, we have the unsupported assertion of a person who has previously been caught using fraudulent data about guns ... and on the other, we have a report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

    Next, Lott asserts: "Background checks do not stop criminals from getting guns." Again, Lott just expects readers to trust him. Now, just because Lott has previously used bogus data and lied about it doesn't mean he isn't telling the truth this time. Still, it's probably a good idea to check in with the FBI on this one. According to the FBI, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has denied more than 800,000 sales -- more than 600,000 of which involved convicted criminals. Another 100,000 were either fugitives from justice or the subjects of restraining orders for domestic violence. So, John Lott, who has been caught using bogus data, says background checks don't stop criminals from getting guns. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says that has happened 600,000 times. Who to believe?

    More Lott: "With all the delays found in background checks, this imposes a real cost on law-abiding citizens who need guns quickly for protection and a one, two or three day delay can take the prevent a sale from even taking place at a gun show." Again, Lott offers no data or citations. Contrary to his suggestion that background checks routinely involve onerous delays, the FBI says that more than 90 percent of NICS background checks are completed immediately -- while the seller is still on the phone. That's why they're called "Instant criminal background checks."

    UPDATE 3/31/2011: from the author of the report titled, "Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2008: Federal and State Investigations and Prosecutions of Firearms Applicants Denied by a NICS check in 2008.", which Lott cites to justify the NICS inaccuracy claim.

    You [Media Matters] asked me if it was accurate for an article to state that "Over 99.9 percent of purchases initially flagged as being illegal under the [Brady] law were 'false positives' - law-abiding citizens incorrectly identified as banned individuals." That statement cannot be supported by statistics on Brady Act background checks that have been collected since 1999.

    A person whose firearm transfer application is denied by a background check pursuant to the Brady Act may appeal the denial. Statistics on appeals of denials have been collected since 1999 in a series of publications entitled Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, and are summarized in Trends for Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 1999-2008. During that ten year period, nearly 1.5 million firearm transfer applications were denied and nearly 237,000 of those denials were appealed. Over 86,000 appeals resulted in a reversal of the denial, which would calculate to about 6% of the 1.5 million denials. Some of the reversals may have occurred because a person was mistakenly identified as being prohibited; however, no data is available on the reasons for reversals. The URL for Trends for Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 1999-2008 is

  • Like Michelle Obama, The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority Touts Area's BBQ

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The stupidest "story" you'll encounter all day is the Drudge-hyped "gaffe" allegedly committed when an email announcement that next year's Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte mentioned "great barbecue." Politico, for example, says of the email that went out under Michelle Obama's name, "The gaffe was enough to make you wonder whether the White House had simply cut and pasted Southern clichés to create the first lady's announcement."

    What's the problem? Well, according to Politico, a Charlotte Observer noted that the "best" barbecue is not in Charlotte, but in Lexington -- which is about an hour from Charlotte. Politico considered that justification for its snide comments about gaffes and cliches. The Associated Press chimed in, too, with an article noting that the "barbecue center" of Shelby is "about an hour west of Charlotte."

    So, in describing Charlotte, a city with two separate renowned barbecue destinations within an hour's drive, the Obama email mentioned "great barbecue." And this is supposed to be a "gaffe" and an indication that someone "simply cut and pasted Southern cliches." Yes, that's stupid because it's utterly trivial. But it's also stupid because it's … well, it's stupid. Even if you concede that it's impossible to find good barbecue in Charlotte, that doesn't matter. People who visit a new part of the country do not necessarily confine themselves to city limits. It's like mocking someone for saying that while visiting Los Angeles, they plan to visit Disneyland. Ha! Disneyland is in Anaheim, not L.A.! Or that a visit to New York City might involve catching a Jets game. Ha! They play in New Jersey!

    But don't take my word for it. Let's see who else touts "great barbecue" as something to experience while visiting Charlotte:

    "My favorite Charlotte event has to be Time Warner Cable BBQ & Blues! [Sept. 9-10] It's the best of a Carolina tradition with great BBQ, music and fun for everyone to enjoy right in the middle of Uptown Charlotte."

    That's a quote from Robert Krumbine, chief creative officer of Charlotte Center City Partners, and it can be found in the 2011 Charlotte Official Visitor's Guide produced by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. (The visitor's guide contains listings for businesses in both Lexington and Shelby, another reminder that they're really close to Charlotte.)

    The CRVA also produces a "Taste of Charlotte" sample itinerary to help people "discover all the fun things to see & do in Charlotte." And, what do you know, it emphasizes barbecue, too:

    Barbecue is a non-negotiable must-have in North Carolina, so stop by Mac's Speed Shop for a taste of some Southern favorites including pulled pork, ribs, chili, Brunswick stew, and Mac's own delectable mac n' cheese. Half biker bar and half restaurant, this spot has earned a tasty reputation. Connoisseurs like renowned chef Mario Batali and Rick Browne of TV's "Barbecue America" are big fans.

    It's entirely reasonable to refer to barbecue when talking about visiting Charlotte. And it's entirely trivial and utterly stupid to mock someone who does so for "cut[ting]and past[ing] Southern cliches." If Politico doesn't agree, they should take it up with the Charlotte Regional Visitor's Authority.

  • Dennis Prager Has A Funny Definition Of Freedom

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Conservative columnist Dennis Prager offers up a truly nonsensical definition of freedom:

    Through the use of public opprobrium, laws and lawsuits, Americans today are less free than at any time since the abolition of slavery (with the obvious exception of blacks under Jim Crow).

    Public opprobrium is known as political correctness, and it has suppressed saying anything -- no matter how true and no matter how innocent -- that offends left-wing sensibilities.

    "Merry Christmas" offends leftist views on multiculturalism. So, it's largely gone.

    Note how, to Dennis Prager, Jim Crow is just a footnote in a discussion of the relative freedom enjoyed by Americans today and a hundred years ago. Sadly, that parenthetical was Prager's only concession to reality, as he quickly moved on to complaining that some people say "happy holidays." Why, that's a greater infringement on freedom than the lack of women's suffrage was!

    Prager has more examples, though they don't get much better:

    High school and college teams with American Indian names must drop those names because by definition, according to the left, they offend American Indians.

    Outrageous! But … maybe not quite as outrageous as denying Native American citizens the right to vote.

    What Prager describes as an infringement on freedom is actually just the existence of criticism and disagreement. He says sports teams "must drop" their "American Indian names" -- but he doesn't really mean "must." The Florida State University sports teams are still known as the "Seminoles," and the high school I attended still calls its teams the "Chiefs," to pick just two examples. Some people criticize Washington's NFL team for going by the name "Redskins" -- but nobody has prohibited them from doing so. Likewise, nobody is stopping Dennis Prager from saying "Merry Christmas." They're just choosing to say "happy holidays."

    When Dennis Prager says Americans today lack freedom, what he means is that they lack freedom from disagreement and criticism. That's absurd.* Worse: Prager actually says such disagreement is a greater infringement on freedom than has occurred since the end of slavery -- greater than the denial of voting rights to women and Native Americans, or the internment of Japanese Americans.

    If there is a dumber definition of "freedom," I hope never to encounter it.

    Oh. Wait. Prager isn't done yet:

    A woman may reveal as much of her body as she wishes. But if a man is perceived by a woman as looking too long at what she reveals, or if he comments on what she reveals, he may be fired from his job and/or sued for "sexual harassment." A woman may wear a miniskirt and crop-top, but a man may not have a calendar of women wearing miniskirts and crop-tops on his desk at work. That constitutes sexual harassment and a "hostile work environment."

    That's the kind of "freedom" Dennis Prager misses.

    * Not included in Prager's rant about the lack of freedom in America today: Bans on gay marriage. Probably because those are actual infringements on freedom, which Prager doesn't seem to care about.

  • Heritage's Feulner Spins Reagan Legacy

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Heritage Foundation president and Townhall columnist Ed Feulner hates government deficits and debt. We know this because he devoted a column last August to "a Tide of Red Ink." And because he declared last November that "the people … cried out against … soaring debt." And because in December, he complained that the "extension of unemployment insurance" would "add to our already disastrous long-term fiscal problem." And that "The debt problem … is real. And it's getting worse. The national debt is set to double over the next decade, due to out-of-control spending in Washington. The inevitable result, The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl assures us, is higher interest rates, slower economic growth, and rising tax rates."

    So given Ed Feulner's principled and consistent opposition to government deficits and debts, I was excited when I saw the headline on his latest column: "Reagan's True Legacy." Finally, I hoped, a conservative columnist would take a break from the hagiography and acknowledge that Reagan was responsible for massive increases in both annual deficits and national debt, as these charts from Feulner's own Heritage Foundation show.

    Alas, the word "deficit" does not appear in Feulner's examination of "Reagan's True Legacy." Nor does the word "debt." Perhaps it isn't deficits Feulner hates -- it's Barack Obama?

    It's bad enough that he ignores inconvenient facts in a column purportedly about "Reagan's True Legacy" -- but Feulner actively misleads as well. "Reagan created a genuine economic miracle," Feulner tells us. "Americans of every class -- rich, middle-class and poor -- saw their wealth increase." In fact, the Reagan years were awfully good for the rich (as are most years) but did little for the rest of the country. Annual wages for the top one percent of earners soared, while wages for 90 percent of Americans stayed essentially flat through the 1980s. Don't hold your breath waiting for a conservative columnist to mention that.

  • Armstrong Williams Debunks Armstrong Williams

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Armstrong Williams does not understand what "default" means:

    I agree; no one wants to default on our debts. But folks, we're in default now. Simply raising the credit limit on your Visa credit card doesn't keep you solvent. It just means you'll have a more difficult time repaying such debts.

    Untrue! Being in debt is not the same thing as being in default.

    More Armstrong Williams -- just two paragraphs later:

    Others, like Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Rand Paul, are steadfast in their refusal to give the Fed any more debt leeway. This begs the question of what, in fact, would happen if we don't raise the ceiling? Contrary to popular belief, the government won't suddenly go into default once the debt ceiling is reached. The fact of the matter is that there is enough cash coming in to pay its commitments for the next several months.

    The moral of the story? Armstrong Williams has no idea what he's talking about. He's just tossing around words like "default" and "solvent," along with a flawed analogy or two, in hopes that people think he does. Pay him no attention.

  • Milbank: Beck Deliberately Visits "Dark Recesses Of Anti-Semitism"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank elaborates on his recent criticism of Glenn Beck:

    This is my last day before I begin my abstinence only program for Palin. She certainly hasn't gone as far as Beck has gone into the dark recesses of anti-Semitism. Her mention of blood libel was not to spread the blood libel but to say she's a victim of a (different) blood libel. And I doubt she had any idea what the phrase meant when she made the video. Beck, however, is a very smart man who doesn't do much by accident.


    Wash. Post's Milbank: Rabbis' Criticism "Latest Omen Of Beck's End Times"

    Jewish Funds For Justice Runs WSJ Ad Calling On Fox News To Sanction Beck

    Jewish Funds for Justice: Hundreds Of Rabbis Call On Murdoch To Sanction Beck, Demand Apology from Ailes

    400 Rabbis Can't Be Wrong

  • Oops: Fox Nation's Decision To Hype Bizarre Breitbart Claim Backfires

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Yesterday, we noted that Fox Nation amplified's paranoid suggestion that CNN "sabotage[d]" Michele Bachmann's Tea Party response to last week's State of the Union address. That's a crazy conspiracy theory for any number of reasons, not least the fact that Fox News itself was responsible for the video feed in question.

    Now has noted Fox's responsibility -- and suggests that the right-wing cable channel may have sabotaged the right-wing congresswoman:

    UPDATE: Sources who were in the room at the time of broadcast now confirm that the pool camera providing the feed for CNN was Fox News. The Fox News pool camera was set up off-kilter from the tele-prompter feed despite the protestations of the Tea Party Express production team. Developing...

    In an update, Fox Nation acknowledges that "Breitbart changes his allegation" -- but can't quite bring itself to tell readers that the new allegation is that Fox is the guilty party:

    UPDATE: Breitbart changes his allegation. Click here to read more.


  • WaPo's Chris Cillizza: Cutting Social Security & Medicare Is The "Obvious" Solution To Deficits

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    In a "Fast Fix" video about budget deficits, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza demonstrates the elite media's hostility to Social Security and Medicare:

    Cutting spending is the obvious fix. But where to cut, and by how much? The simple solution is to make cuts to two large government entitlement programs: Social Security and Medicare. The problem? Members of Congress have been more concerned with counting votes than cutting costs. Social Security and Medicare are considered the "third rails" of American politics. Nobody wants to touch them.

    It has apparently never occurred to Cillizza that another "problem" with making deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare is that doing so would take money out of the pockets of the elderly, and force people to postpone retirement. That may not seem like a big deal to Chris Cillizza, but people with jobs that require considerably more physical exertion than sitting at a desk may see things differently.

    Later, Cillizza referred to President Bush's attempt to privatize Social Security as "reform" -- a loaded description, to be sure, but one that is consistent with his apparent belief that there are no legitimate policy reasons for opposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare; that all such opposition is purely political.

    Note also that Cillizza fixates on spending cuts as the "obvious fix" to budget deficits. Budgets involve two key components: Revenue and expenditures. But only one of those -- reducing expenditures -- strikes Cillizza as an "obvious" solution. Raising taxes on the wealthy? Inconceivable! (According to the Washingtonian, the average Washington Post reporter makes $90,000 a year. And that's an average -- Cillizza is a star Post reporter, complete with online videos. And Cillizza commands speaking fees of $5,001-$10,000 per speech. Maybe that has something to do with his belief that cutting Social Security, rather than raising taxes on the rich, is the "obvious" solution to budget deficits?)

  • Despite "Overwhelmingly Positive" Viewer Response To SOTU, Erick Erickson Claims It Isn't "Playing Well Really Anywhere"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    CNN's Erick Erickson on President Obama's State of the Union address:

    The speech is not playing well really anywhere. Leftwing sites don't like it. Rightwing sites don't like it. And largely even the media is admitting the speech fell flat.

    Huffington Post's Mark Blumenthal, on the same speech:

    The results of the instant snap polls by CBS News,CNN/ORC and the Democratic pollsters atDemocracy Corps all show overwhelmingly positive responses to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address from Tuesday night.

    I don't really care whether Erickson liked the speech, and I'm not surprised that he didn't. After all, there wasn't much talk of Erickson priorities like beating government officials to a "bloody pulp" and "mass bloodshed." But I do care about the lying. As usual, the overwhelming majority of State of the Union viewers responded positively to the speech.