Guns

Tags ››› Guns
  • Fox News completely ignored the release of police footage showing Philando Castile's fatal shooting

    Blog ››› ››› NINA MAST & BOBBY LEWIS

    Dashcam footage showing the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by Officer Jeronimo Yanez was released on June 20, giving the public new insight into the encounter that ended Castile’s life. But, if you watch only Fox News, you wouldn’t know it existed. The footage, which was released just days after Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter, drew the attention of CNN and MSNBC, but Fox News shows spent no time airing the video or covering its release.

    On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile, a black man, was fatally shot in Falcon Heights, MN, after being stopped by police for a routine traffic stop. Castile had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon, and the newly released footage makes clear that Castile had alerted the officer that he was armed. The footage shows Officer Yanez telling Castile not to reach for his gun, and Castile can be heard responding, “I’m not pulling it out” right before Yanez fired seven shots, fatally wounding Castile.

    Between the release of the footage on June 20 and noon on June 21, the three major cable news networks -- CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC -- spent 44 minutes covering the release of the footage. CNN spent 36 minutes and seven seconds on it, and MSNBC spent 7 minutes and 12 seconds detailing the new information from the video, while Fox News ignored the video’s release entirely. CNN’s seven segments on the video and MSNBC’s three all showed the newly released footage.

     

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Fox News contributor Eboni Williams made a passing comment on The Fox News Specialists about the “lack of empathy seen in the wake of the tragic death of Philando Castile” in a discussion about Otto Warmbier -- the American college student who recently died after having been detained in North Korea for over a year -- but none of her colleagues responded to the mention, and there was never a discussion of the video footage showing his fatal shooting. Fox’s glaring lack of coverage with regards to the video of Castile’s death is strikingly similar to the network’s lack of coverage following the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, also a black man.

    Fox News’ coverage, or lack thereof, is also indicative of a larger problem: how right-wing media figures discuss (or don’t discuss) the deaths of people of color at the hands of police. In the aftermath of Castile’s shooting, Fox News host Sean Hannity and then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly both discussed Castile’s shooting only to criticize his girlfriend for not having done more to help him, and Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson used the case to blame Obama for violence against police officers. National Rifle Association (NRA) board member Ted Nugent smeared Castile and used his death to claim former President Barack Obama wanted to start a race war.

    Additionally, the shooting of Castile, a law-abiding gun owner, who, from the evidence available was following the officer’s requests, has prompted outrage from NRA members. The association, however, has made no statement on the verdict or video in Castile’s case, despite having defended other gun owners whose stories made national news.

    Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of “Philando” and “Castile” between 5 p.m. June 20 and noon June 21, 2017. Time counts began when the segment was introduced and ended when the individual finished speaking. Teasers were not included.

  • Days before Megyn Kelly interview airs, Alex Jones pushes more Sandy Hook conspiracy theories

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Just days before NBC is set to air an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Megyn Kelly’s new show, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, Jones once again pushed several conspiracy theories about the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Kelly and NBC’s decision to interview Jones has created a firestorm of controversy, with some family members of Sandy Hook victims calling for NBC to shelve the recorded interview given that Jones has pushed toxic conspiracy theories about the shooting that spurred some of his followers to harass the families. Page Six reported that following harsh criticism of the decision to give Jones a platform, Kelly invited Sandy Hook families to be interviewed for the episode as well.

    During the June 15 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones promoted several conspiracy theories that he and others have previously used to deny that the tragedy ever happened.

    Citing the U.S. government’s use of misinformation to justify wars in the Middle East, Jones said, “If they’ll do that, then am I supposed to question Sandy Hook when it happens and they’ve got the kids going in circles in and out of the building, and they don’t call the rescue helicopters, and then instead an hour later there’s port-a-potties and food being delivered and PR firms are there and Anderson Cooper says he’s on location but he’s clearly faking the location.”

    It should go without saying that Jones’ claims about the shooting that took 26 lives are false.

    On his show, Jones continued to lie about what he has said about the Sandy Hook tragedy in the past, saying he has “looked at every angle of” the shooting and claiming that he has said previously, “It could have been totally true, could have been totally fake.” (In recent months, Jones has repeatedly claimed he was merely playing “devil’s advocate” when commenting on the shooting.)

    As Media Matters documented, in the years following the tragedy, Jones definitively stated on several occasions that the shooting did not happen. In 2014, for example, Jones said, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”

    Jones has been lying about his past comments on Sandy Hook since his statements started drawing heightened scrutiny following his claim after the 2016 election that President Donald Trump would soon appear on his show. (Trump appeared on Jones show in 2015 and praised the conspiracy theorist’s “amazing” reputation.)

    Kelly’s interview is set to air June 18 at 7 p.m. EST.

    Jones’ June 15 comments on Sandy Hook:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): It is a fact that on the eve of the Gulf War in 1990 a PR firm was hired, and the daughter of the owner of the PR firm, who’d never been to Kuwait and who spoke fluent English and had been brought up in the U.S., went and testified to seeing Iraqi soldiers ripping babies out of incubators and bashing their brains out by the hundreds. This was used as the pretext to launch that war that was meant to legitimize the U.N. as a global government body and bring in a new world order as George Herbert Walker Bush said, or Bush 41. Now, if criminal elements of our government will do something like that to launch now three wars in the Middle East, back radical jihadists to take over Iraq, Syria, Libya, other areas, overthrow our allies in Egypt, kill millions of people, starve millions more, and have Madeline Albright, Clinton’s secretary of state, say a half-million kids is an OK price to pay -- in fact, let’s cue that up. If they’ll do that, then am I supposed to question Sandy Hook when it happens and they’ve got the kids going in circles in and out of the building, and they don’t call the rescue helicopters, and then instead an hour later there’s port-a-potties and food being delivered and PR firms are there and Anderson Cooper says he’s on location but he’s clearly faking the location. We looked at every angle of that. And so they’ve now misrepresented what we’ve said, that I said it could have been totally true, could have been totally fake. I didn’t progenerate. I didn’t create. I wasn't the fount of that. The things that I am the fountain of, I’ll tell you. 1776 worldwide. Rebooting America. Nationalism.

  • Trump ally Michael Savage cites white nationalist website, warns college students will be shot

    Savage: “Just think of the Kent State massacre. That’s how this is going to end.”

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    In the wake of the shooting at a GOP congressional baseball team practice, right-wing radio host and Trump ally Michael Savage cited the white nationalist website American Renaissance and invoked the Kent State shootings of 1970 as a warning for anti-Trump protesters.

    On June 14, James Hodgkinson gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice and shot five, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). The attacker was shot by U.S. Capitol Police and later died from his injuries. 

    Savage responded to the shooting by citing the white nationalist website “American Renaissance” referring to “an interactive map” they published that identifies “two hundred acts of violence and hatred against Donald Trump supporters that have taken place since he declared his candidacy.”

    American Renaissance is a online magazine, published by white nationalist Jared Taylor. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Taylor “believes black people are genetically predisposed to lower IQs” than white peoples and that black peoples “are sexually promiscuous because of hyperactive sex drives.”

    Later in the show Savage warned, “acting out children who just think that they can shoot congressmen,” by saying “it’s not going to end well” for them. In his warning to anti-Trump protesters, Savage invoked the Kent State shootings, warning “I’ve lived through this before and I know how it ends. Just think of the Kent State massacre. That’s how this is going to end.” On May 4, 1970, 4 college students were killed by the Ohio National Guard during a campus protest against the Vietnam War.

  • Conservatives need to cut the bullshit and stop exploiting a tragedy to blame the left

    Right-wing media show no self-awareness of their role in influencing violent incidents

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    James T. Hodgkinson, a man with a record of domestic violence, a legally purchased assault rifle, and a valid concealed carry permit, on June 14 opened fire on Republican congressmen and staffers practicing for the congressional baseball game.

    The FBI is still investigating the incident, but one thing is already clear about this latest example of unhinged gun violence. The overwhelming evidence of conservative media's influence on a significant number of deadly incidents makes their attempt to deflect attention from their role in creating a toxic political culture both cynical and exploitative.

    According to reports, the gunman had shared anti-Republican sentiments publicly online and had been critical of the president. Reports of the shooter’s political background immediately prompted unscrupulous right-wing hacks to pounce on the tragedy, looking to exploit the terrifying gun violence incident as a way to score cheap political points by blaming the left. In a new display of audacious defiance of reality, conservative voices have put the blame of the shooting not only on the left, but also on the press and various celebrities as well. But, blaming the left or the media for Hodgkinson’s actions is equivalent to blaming Jodie Foster for the attempted assassination of former President Ronald Reagan.

    The gimmick, however, is deplorable not just for its cynical exploitation of fear, pain and human tragedy; it’s also a hollow attempt to distract from the conservative right’s own responsibility in creating a political culture that inspires violence by fanning the flames of hatred. It’s a red herring aimed at avoiding the obvious, and very concrete, policy-centered conversation that needs to happen around gun violence.

    Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, two of the loudest conservative voices, immediately blamed the shooting on “the left” and “left-wing news media.”

    Additionally, the NRA, an organization that customarily deflects conversations about gun violence by blaming fatal shooting incidents on video games, political correctness, and strict gun laws, skirted its own precedent to also blame the left at large for the shooting.

    Right-wing figures’ opportunistic attempt to draw direct correlation from out-of-context phrases from progressive politicians to the actions of a violent man with easy access to assault weapons also points to a critical lack of self-awareness when it comes to their own role in influencing violent incidents.

    Take Byron Williams and his failed plot to shoot people at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU. Williams explicitly pointed to Glenn Beck’s now-defunct TV show and Alex Jones’ websites as the information sources that prompted his violent actions on the Tides Foundation, a relatively unknown organization that Beck repeatedly vilified on his program. Or the assassination of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, which followed continuous vitriol from former right-wing star Bill O’Reilly, who told his “audience of millions over and over again” that Tiller was “an executioner.” Or the murder of three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO, at the hands of Robert Dear, a man whose “paranoid delusions, misogynist beliefs, and violent fantasies” matched “perfectly” the usual narratives that come out of “Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones and Bill O’Reilly and countless far-right web sites.”

    Or the racially motivated massacre that ended nine black lives in Charleston, SC, perpetrated by a habitual commenter at the Trump-supporting, neo-Nazi outlet The Daily Stormer. After a man opened fire at a Washington, D.C., family pizzeria, it was hard to forget Alex Jones asking his audience to investigate the conspiracy theory that alleged the restaurant was hiding a child sex-trafficking ring. In the same way, Jones also exhorted Trump to use force against his opponents and threatened violence against supporters of “parasitical maggot” Bernie Sanders.

    So no, right-wingers don’t get to exploit this tragedy. They should not be able to get away with using pain and fear to avoid important policy conversations about gun access in American society. Not when the evidence of their role in promoting violence over politics is so overwhelming.

  • Here is exactly what Alex Jones has said about the Sandy Hook massacre

    Jones on Sandy Hook: “Staged,” “inside job,” “undoubtedly there’s a cover-up,” “giant hoax,” “the whole thing was fake,” “in my view, manufactured”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is calling for his upcoming interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly not to air because he says Kelly misrepresented his views on the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

    A short promotional video released by Kelly on June 11 showed Jones attempting to obfuscate and spin his past statements about Sandy Hook, with the prominent conspiracy theorist and ally of President Donald Trump calling Sandy Hook “complex,” claiming he has advocated both for and against concluding that the shooting actually happened, and claiming he “looked at all the angles.”

    Following the release of this promo, Jones wrote on Twitter, “I'm calling for @megynkelly to cancel the airing of our interview for misrepresenting my views on Sandy Hook.” Jones’ tweet included a link to a 40-minute video in which he complained about the interview. The interview is scheduled to air June 18.

    While we don’t know how the Sandy Hook exchange will play out in the full interview, what can be proved is that Jones is a liar who -- since developing a high profile during the 2016 election -- has attempted to sanitize his definitive past claims that the shooting was a “hoax.”

    In 2013, Jones called the shooting “staged” and said, “It’s got inside job written all over it.”

    In March 2014, Jones said, “I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”

    In December 2014, Jones said on his radio program, “The whole thing is a giant hoax.”

    Jones continued: “The general public doesn’t know the school was actually closed the year before. They don’t know they’ve sealed it all, demolished the building. They don’t know that they had the kids going in circles in and out of the building as a photo-op. Blue screen, green screens, they got caught using.”

    Making it clear he didn’t view the occurrence of the shooting as an open question, Jones explicitly said that the Obama administration was behind the shooting, noting, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”

    Jones made similar comments the following January, saying the shooting was “a synthetic, completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are that they clearly used actors.”

    In July 2015, Jones said cast doubt on whether children were actually killed during the shooting, before citing prominent Sandy Hook hoaxer Wolfgang Halbig.

    Jones began to spin his past Sandy Hook statements in earnest following the victory of Donald Trump as his past statements came under increased scrutiny because of his association with Trump and his claim that the new president would appear on his show in the near future.

    Despite his recent contradictory claims about the shooting, Jones continues to make statements that fuel Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.

    Here are some headlines that advance Sandy Hook conspiracy theories that are still active on Jones’ website, Infowars.com:

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]
     

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

  • NRATV uses London attack to push for more guns, all but ignores Orlando mass shooting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV used Saturday night’s terror attack in London to push a variety of conservative and pro-Second Amendment talking points, including calling for surveilling mosques and arming British citizens.

    Seven people were killed in London on June 3, after three assailants used a vehicle to run into pedestrians on the London Bridge and then got out of the van to attack other victims with knives in nearby Borough Market. About 50 people were injured before police shot and killed all three suspects. Saturday’s attack came 12 days after a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert which left 22 dead, and a little over two months after a March attack in London that left four dead.

    While NRATV program Stinchfield, which provides live news updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. EST to 1 p.m. EST, offered significant coverage of the London attack on June 5, the show ignored a mass shooting that took place that morning in Orlando, FL. (The Orlando incident was briefly mentioned on the NRA’s talk radio program, which airs later in the day.)

    Covering the Orlando attack would have brought the nonsensical nature of the NRA’s arguments surrounding guns and terrorism into clear focus: The United States has much more permissive gun laws and availability compared to the U.K. and as a consequence experiences much higher rates of gun homicide and homicide generally. 

    NRATV spun London attack to push for more gun ownership 

    While first reporting on the latest London attack during the June 5 9 a.m. edition of Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield said that just one armed police officer could have stopped the “carnage” and asked, “When is London going to wake up?” Stinchfield went on to fearmonger that it is “only a matter of time before these things start happening here on a regular basis” and blamed the attack on “politically correct politicians” before suggesting British citizens should carry guns to stop attacks. From the June 5 update:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): It took just eight minutes for three Islamic jihadists to kill seven people and wound nearly 50 more. Eight minutes. They didn’t use guns, but a truck and some knives. The reality of this attack is one police officer could have stopped this early on. What few people are talking about is that the attackers came upon the first officer just after exiting their van on the London Bridge, after running over so many unsuspecting Londoners. We have to assume the officer, like so many in England, was unarmed. The attacker stabbed him and then moved on to attack others. When is London going to wake up?

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: It is only a matter of time before these things start happening here on a regular basis. We already see them happening in the United States. Now, since March, in London there have been three attacks and 34 people dead. In Europe the terrorists are winning. Submissive policies by submissive, politically correct politicians are getting people killed. How many times does America need to be warned? Does the world need to be warned these evil jihadists are for real? And they are brutal killers? As I watched Londoners flee in panic, I thought in that crowd of thousands, not one citizen had a chance. Not one citizen had a gun because the government bars them from having one. It took eight minutes for armed officers to arrive and save the day with a simple tool called a firearm. Eight minutes of carnage that could have been stopped if only that first officer was armed in the early seconds of that attack. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 6/5/17]

    During the 11 a.m. update, Stinchfield again turned his attention to the citizens of England, who, he said, could not defend themselves “because the government disarmed them all.” He referred to this as “delusional” before slamming a British man as an “idiot” who was photographed “running away from the terror with a beer in his hand.” Stinchfield went on to claim that the British government has “made him this way” and “tricked” him into thinking he is safe, before rhetorically asking, “How sad is that?”

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): For too long, left-wing leaders failed to realize that radical jihad is a real threat. Now in Europe, attacks are nearly a daily occurrence. With Saturday night’s attack in London, terrorists have killed 34 people in England since mid-March, and wounded countless more. All of this should serve as a global wake-up call. For Americans, these daily attacks are soon to come here. Are you ready? England was not. Look at the people fleeing. Not one could stop the attacker or defend themselves because the government disarmed them all. Now in the height of English delusion, England is hailing a probable drunk as its national hero. Look at the man running from the terror with a beer in his hand. The people of England thinks the terrorist won’t deter him. To me, anyone under attack who hangs on to a beer is simply an idiot, not a hero. But his government made him this way. They tricked him into thinking he is safe. So safe, the attack he is fleeing couldn’t really be real to him or a danger. My guess is, he looks at all of this as it’s simply some kind of office fire drill. How sad is that? How sad is that’s their hero, not the first police officer to come face-to-face with a terrorist just seconds into the attack. That police officer couldn’t be a hero, because he never stood a chance. He was unarmed. The jihadist stabbed him and moved on to attack so many others. For eight minutes they had their way until what? An armed unit showed up and killed them. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 6/5/17]

    NRATV also took issue with London police’s suggested response to the attack. Police sent out a tweet on Saturday night advising people to “run,” “hide,” and “call” authorities in case of an attack. The strategy has previously been promoted by England’s National Police Chiefs Council, which said that during an attack, “people should first run to a place of safety,” or hide if they can’t, and call the police when it is safe to do so. (In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security recommends that in an active shooting situation, people first try to evacuate, then hide, and then confront the attacker as a last resort.)

    During the June 5 1 p.m. update, NRATV commentator Bill Whittle called this strategy a “passive, weak kind of reaction” that only encourages the terrorists. During the June 5 10 a.m. update, Stinchfield said that “one armed citizen could have stopped the carnage early on” and that a better strategy for the people of England would be to “hide, fight, and fight,” before claiming, “Cowards always lose, sheep always get slaughtered. With the ever increasing threat we face, ... I refuse to become a coward or a sheep.”

    Stinchfield doubled down on his stance in a June 5 tweet, saying his message to England is to “be a fighter!”:

    [Twitter, 6/5/17]

    Beyond pushing more permissive guns laws, during the 9 a.m. update, Stinchfield said that the government in the United States should “surveil” mosques.

    NRATV hosts barely mentioned Orlando mass shooting

    During all of NRATV’s June 5 Stinchfield updates, neither Stinchfield nor his guests brought up Monday’s attack in Orlando, which left five people including the gunman dead. NRATV host Cam Edwards mentioned the attack briefly during his three-hour show, but used it to push for more gun ownership.

    UK actually has drastically lower rates of gun violence than US

    Despite Stinchfield’s repeated claim that the U.K. was unprepared for the attack because the government has “disarmed” its people, the country actually has drastically lower rates of gun homicide and homicide generally compared to the U.S. The U.K. also has much more restrictive gun laws.

    Firearms are used in more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. High gun availability has been linked to increased gun homicide rates, with one review of academic research finding that “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” (The same trend is seen in comparisons between high-income countries.)

    Academic research has also found that guns are used in the U.S. far more often to commit crimes than to stop crimes. A 2000 study by Harvard Injury Research Control Center found that as a ratio, "guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense. Most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society."

    In fact, the odds of people needing a gun to protect themselves are so low that it’s difficult to accurately measure the total number of defensive gun uses each year. Meanwhile, gun violence is so frequent in the United States that more than 100,000 gunshot injuries are recorded every year (a figure that does not include crimes committed with guns where no one is shot).

    In contrast to a lack of evidence that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings -- a frequent claim that the NRA makes -- terror attacks involving firearms in the United States, which often involve AR-15-style assault weapons, have been incredibly deadly over the years. A December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, involved a gunman shooting and killing 14 and wounding 22 with an assault rifle at an office holiday party. The perpetrator of a June 2016 terror attack in a nightclub in Orlando, FL, also used an assault weapon to kill 49 people and wound at least 53.

  • NRA board member Ted Nugent stands by call for Hillary Clinton to be hanged 

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent doubled-down on his call for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be hanged for treason for the attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.

    During the May 31 edition of WBAP’s The Ben Ferguson Show, host Ben Ferguson asked Nugent about the comparisons being made between the picture of comedian Kathy Griffin holding Trump’s severed head, and inflammatory comments he made about former President Obama and Clinton. Nugent refused to acknowledge previous comments he made about Obama, but admitted he “recommended” Clinton to be hanged, calling her tenure as secretary of state “certainly treasonous”: 

    BEN FERGUSON (HOST): Some of the tweets coming in about you. Eric Geller who is of all things, I think it’s interesting, a cyber-security reporter for Politico. He just tweeted out earlier, “You will not be surprised to learn that Spicer ducked a reporter’s question about Ted Nugent by claiming not to know what he said.” You move on down the list of other people that they were quoting today. They had Jeffrey Wright who said, “You old enough to remember your silence at Ted Nugent calling for Obama to be hanged? No? So pipe down now, too. Grown-ups got this.” Joy Reid says, “Remember that time you sought and accepted the endorsement of a violently racist pederast Ted Nugent for your [presidential] bid? Good times.” And I’m assuming she’s referring to Donald Trump and his tweet that he made about this earlier. Let me get your reaction to that?

    TED NUGENT: Yeah once again, the dishonesty of the left and their brainwashed puppets is absolutely stunning. I’ve never threatened to hang anybody, I’ve never suggested anybody get hung except for one time after Benghazi, I recommended that Hillary Clinton be charged, arrested, tried, and hung. What she did as secretary of state was certainly treasonous and I stand by that.

    Nugent wrote that both Obama and Clinton should be “tried for treason & hung” in a January 2016 Facebook post as a result of fallout from the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Nugent also referred to Obama as a “subhuman mongrel’ in a January 2014 interview with Guns.com, and called Clinton a “devilbitch” in an October 2016 Facebook post. In May 2016 Nugent shared a gruesome video on Facebook depicting Clinton being graphically murdered by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with a handgun during a 2016 presidential primary debate, with the comment, “I got your guncontrol right here bitch.”

    Despite his previous rhetoric, Nugent and his wife were invited to the White House, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and musician Kid Rock, on April 19. Nugent campaigned for Trump in Michigan, and claimed he was invited to the White House to discuss “anti-science and anti-hunting laws.”

  • Politico Magazine contributor repeats tired NRA myths to suggest Democratic party give up on gun safety

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    In an analysis of the upcoming Montana special election, a Politico Magazine contributor questioned whether the Democratic party can “retake Congress by giving up on gun control,” erroneously blaming advocacy for such regulations for Democrats loses in the 1994 congressional elections and the 2000 presidential election.

    Evidence-based research into those elections has long disproved those theories, which have been promoted by the National Rifle Association in order to bolster its image.

    In the May 24 article, Politico Magazine’s Bill Scher accused Democrats of being “squeamish about gun control” ever since feeling the “backlash” in the 1994 midterms in response to President Clinton’s assault weapons ban and background checks bill. Scher went on to incorrectly blame Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 presidential election on his support for President Clinton’s firearms regulations:

    Democrats have been squeamish about gun control ever since they felt the backlash to President Bill Clinton’s enactment of a ban on assault weapons and “Brady Law” background checks, which shouldered some blame for the Democratic loss of Congress in 1994. But 2000 presidential nomine (sic) Al Gore doubled down. In the wake of the 1999 Columbine massacre and a liberal primary challenge from New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, Gore ran on a robust gun control package that included a ban on cheap handguns. When he lost gun-friendly states that Clinton had won—namely Arkansas, West Virginia and his own home state of Tennessee—guns were blamed again.

    Soon after, Democrats began keeping their voices down about gun control, even when mass shootings occurred. The Republican Congress let Clinton’s assault weapons ban expire without a vote, but Democrats didn’t fight exceptionally hard. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean touted his “A” rating from the NRA during the 2004 presidential primary. The nominee that year, John Kerry, futilely tried to pick off Ohio, and leaven his support for reinstating the assault weapons ban, with an October goose hunting expedition.

    [...]

    At that point, Democrats won’t be able to sweep the gun issue under the rug. They will have to make a choice: to be or not to be the party of gun control. And if they are still going to be party committed to reducing gun violence, they had best not waste time figuring out how to do it.

    In actuality, factors other than gun violence prevention measures better explain the 1994 election outcome; Congress had raised taxes in 1993, passed NAFTA, failed to pass healthcare reform and according to a statistical analysis by political scientist Gary Jacobson, Republicans won the House “because an unusually large number of districts voted locally as they had been voting nationally.”

    The idea that support for gun regulations resulted in Gore’s 2000 loss is also a common media myth. According to then-American Prospect columnist, and former Media Matters employee Paul Waldman, "Any discussion of the 2000 election is complicated by the fact that the contest was so close that any of a multitude of factors could be described as decisive.” Waldman attributed Gore’s loss in southern states in particular to a partisan shift Republican support as opposed to the NRA’s opposition.

    As Waldman explained, “The 2000 presidential election was not an anomaly, but rather part of a steady trend away from the Democratic party in Tennessee. Bill Clinton won there in 1996 by only 2.4 points, less than he had in 1992. Gore lost there by 3.9 points, John Kerry lost in 2004 by 14.3 points, and four years later Barack Obama lost by 15.1 points." One 2000 study even found that Gore's position on guns offered him a slight benefit on Election Day with voters.

  • NRATV: "England has had [Manchester attack] coming for a long time" in part because it has “done away” with gun rights

    NRATV commentator also blames multi-culturalism and “gender-bending” for attack

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Following an attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and 59 injured, a commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet nonsensically claimed England “has had this coming for a long time” in part because of the country’s gun laws.

    ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena right after a May 22 Ariana Grande concert. The attack comes after a March terror attack in London near the House of Parliament.

    During the May 23 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, commentator Chuck Holton claimed England “has had this coming,” due to the country’s firearms regulations, open borders for refugees,“multiculturalism” and “gender-bending.” (The attacker was reportedly U.K. born.) Host Grant Stinchfield echoed Holton’s claims at the end of the segment, stating that European countries have “disarmed their citizens, so … terrorists operate with impunity”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): You bring up this whole point of putting the English flag as a silhouette over your profile on your Facebook page. I’m all for supporting them -- they need our thoughts and prayers right now -- but listen, if the only time they do something like that is when we have a heinous attack, and then we’ll go for a week and they’ll forget all about it. And they take down their little flag and they put their pictures up on the beach and they’re having fun doing whatever, going to the movies, and they forget that there are people that want to kill us. And so I’m a little tired of the hypocrisy from the left and it's almost always the liberal that goes and puts this up on the day of an attack, and then it quickly comes down, and then it just eradicates from their mind like it never happened.

    CHUCK HOLTON: Because they think that that actually counts as doing something. It doesn't. And you know in reality, England has had this coming for a long time in that they have -- look, they have opened their borders to so many refugees, they have done away with the personal protections, of their own people being able to protect their families with firearms. And so what we’re seeing is, you know what? Terrorists don’t need firearms to perpetrate their heinous crimes. They are weaponizing the European culture. That’s what they’re doing. They are taking advantage of this multiculturalism and the, you know, gender-bending -- we could go on and on about this. The European male is disappearing in Europe -- the actual men who will stand up and fight for their country. You could also talk about the fact that the Europeans need these people to come in to help support their massive social welfare program. Do you know that, I was reading the other day, nine European -- major European leaders now are absolutely childless, and that reflects the broader culture in Europe, that places like Germany, 30 percent of German women have no children and will never have children. In England it’s something like 20 percent, but that’s rising. And so when you’re not making babies, you need people to come in and work and pay taxes to support your massive social welfare programs. So this is, in some ways, this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism.

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: And we are seriously considering sending Chuck Holton over to England to get the real scoop for you, because I can tell you right now, you’re not going to get the real scoop on the mainstream media channels. They’re not going to talk about the immigration problems that Europe experiences. They’re not going to talk about the problem that Europe, all countries, have basically disarmed their communities, disarmed their citizens, so what happens that terrorists operate with impunity.

    Stinchfield made the same ridiculous claim after four people were killed in the March 22 London attack, suggesting that Europeans are “unprepared for an attack” because “the government has all but disarmed” its citizens. While the U.K. did enact highly restrictive measures on gun ownership after a school shooting in 1996, the European nation also has drastically lower rates of gun deaths, gun homicides, and homicides by all methods compare to America does.

    Firearms are used in more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. High gun availability has been linked to increased gun homicide rates, with one review of academic research finding that “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” (The same trend is seen in comparisons between high-income countries.)

    Academic research has also found that guns are used in the U.S. far more often to commit crimes than to stop crimes. A 2000 study by Harvard Injury Research Control Center found that as a ratio, "guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense. Most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society."

    In fact, the odds of needing a gun to protect yourself are so low that it’s difficult to accurately measure the total number of defensive gun uses each year. Meanwhile, gun violence is so frequent in the United States that more than 100,000 gunshot injuries are recorded every year (a figure that does not include crimes committed with guns where no one is shot).

    In contrast to a lack of evidence that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings -- a frequent claim of the NRA -- terror attacks involving firearms in the United States, which often involve AR-15-style assault weapons, have been incredibly deadly over the years. A December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, involved a gunman shooting and killing 14 and wounding 22 with an assault rifle at an office holiday party, and the perpetrator of a June 2016 terror attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, shot and killed 49 and wounded at least 53, also with an assault rifle.

  • Alex Jones’ website Infowars broadcasts from the White House press briefing room

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & ERIC HANANOKI

    Conspiracy website Infowars’ Washington bureau chief, Jerome Corsi, conducted a live broadcast from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House, telling viewers that Infowars had obtained a temporary pass and was working to obtain permanent White House press credentials.

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones operates Infowars, a disreputable outlet that has pushed conspiracy theories about tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, and Oklahoma City bombing. The site also posts false information in support of Trump, and it promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. Jones has said that he communicates with President Donald Trump and offers him advice.

    The outlet hired Corsi in January. Corsi has made a living pushing false conspiracy theories, including the claim that former President Barack Obama has a fake birth certificate, which he was instrumental in spreading.

    During the livestream, Corsi discussed an embargoed budget document and then used an iPad to give viewers a tour of the nearly empty briefing room.

    Corsi said that Infowars does not yet have permanent press credentials but that he wanted to emphasize that the site had obtained a temporary pass and was able to physically broadcast from the White House.

    While giving the tour, Corsi added, “We’re here. I think that makes clear we’re going to get press credentials and we’ll do what we need to do to get here on a regular basis to get permanent press credentials.” He signed off by saying, “Let’s kind of end this now by just saying we’re here, we’re going to get more established as we go along, and I’m very, very pleased to have made this step today.”

    Earlier today, Corsi wrote on Twitter, “Jerome Corsi, Washington Bureau Chief, http://Infowars.com. We have WH PRESS CREDENTIALS. I'm in WH May 22, 2017”:

    An accompanying Infowars article said that the outlet delivered “an epic blow to the mainstream media’s control of the narrative” by gaining access to White House press briefings and that “Alex Jones may even attend some White House press briefings in person.”

    Earlier this month, Jones announced that Infowars had been granted a weekly press pass to the White House and was working “very hard” to get permanent credentials. In January, Jones claimed that his site had been offered a White House press credential. The White House press office denied the claim. Jones later claimed he meant that Infowars “can get them if we want them, guaranteed.”

    Infowars’ access means yet another dishonest, far-right entity is in the press room.

    Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote on Twitter that Corsi’s presence in the White House made him want to “throw up” given Infowars’ ongoing role in promoting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting: