Wash. Post's Wemple: D.C. Fox Reporter's Appearances At Local Gun Rallies Put Her Employer “In A Bind”

The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, who writes a reported opinion blog on the media, criticized Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG chief investigative reporter Emily Miller for speaking at a gun rights rally in Annapolis, Maryland, noting that “Miller's appearance puts WTTG in a bind vis-a-vis Maryland politics.”

Miller addressed gun advocates at a rally organized by Maryland Shall Issue, the National Rifle Association's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, and other Maryland gun groups on February 10 outside of the Maryland State House. After the rally, which also featured speeches by representatives from Maryland gun rights groups and Maryland legislators, attendees were urged to lobby lawmakers to loosen Maryland's gun laws.

As a reporter for WTTG, Miller often covers gun-related issues. Prior to joining WTTG in 2014, Miller was the senior opinion editor for the conservative Washington Times and ran the paper's guns blog. Miller has been a frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence.

Noting that Miller criticized gun regulations in Maryland and the District of Columbia in her speech, Wemple wrote, “A bio on the Fox5 site lists Miller as the station's chief investigative reporter, though a more accurate title would be chief investigative reporter-cum-gun activist.” According to Wemple, Miller's gun-related advocacy “puts WTTG in a bind vis-a-vis Maryland politics” as "[h]er presence directly assisted several groups in advancing their causes in the statehouse."

When asked by Wemple whether WTTG “approved her activities on behalf of gun-rights organizations,” Miller said, “Yes,” before referring follow up questions to her publicist. (When asked by Media Matters to comment on her appearance at the rally, Miller said, “I'll have my publicist call you.”) Wemple also noted that at this time “it's hard to gauge just how Miller's advocacy work squares with the [Fox Television Stations] rules.”

On January 19, Miller spoke outside the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond at a gun rally organized by the far-right Virginia Citizens Defense League. Like at the Annapolis event, after the rally participants were urged to lobby their legislators for fewer restrictions on firearms. During her Richmond remarks, Miller said that the District of Columbia, her primary reporting beat, “is not part of America” because of D.C.'s gun laws.

Miller previously spoke before Maryland Shall Issue in September 2013 while she worked for the Washington Times. In her remarks, Miller said that “disarming the populace” of firearms “is Obama's ultimate agenda” and suggested that a photograph of the president skeet shooting was “doctored.” Miller also commented on her role at the Times opinion side at the time, stating, “I'm an opinion journalist so I come out saying I'm a conservative, these are my principles, and that's -- writing for the opinion page gives me that freedom. But of course every human being has biases. The issue is do you let -- if you're on the news side, that side of, or you're on TV and supposed to be a straight anchor, you're supposed to be the evening news anchor, how much of your personal bias gets filtered through?”