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Gun ignorance in the news

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by tactidrool, Mar 23, 2011.

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  1. tactidrool

    tactidrool Member

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    I work in the news industry, and I often read stories that betray a reporter's ignorance when it comes to firearms. I just came across this paragraph from an Associated Press story about violence today in Syria:

    "Bursts of semi-automatic gunfire"?

    I also regularly find reporters write or say "semi-automatic pistol," when the "semi-automatic" is, for the most part, not needed, but it must sound more frightening that way in their minds.
     
  2. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Not to be rude, but this problem isn't new. Having worked in the industry, have you come across any methods of correcting these inaccuracies? Any tips for those of us who are merely consumers, to get our message across when we try to write or call in to correct them?
     
  3. eye5600

    eye5600 Member

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    I think every big city newspaper or similar new organization should hire a veteran. There are plenty of very good journalists in the military, and they would bring a great perspective to a civilian employer, as well as limit the number really dumb errors.
     
  4. tactidrool

    tactidrool Member

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    I correct those kinds of mistakes whenever I see them, and also do my best to educate reporters and other editors whenever I come across them -- without being overbearing.

    I enjoy seeing the lights come on when someone learns the differences between semi-automatic and automatic, or when they learn of other issues they have long been misinformed about. But it's frustrating to see it so regularly.
     
  5. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    I dont see this as "ignorance".

    What is sooooo bad about it that makes you think its ignorance?

    Cant there be bursts of semi-auto gunfire?

    Heck, there can be bursts of single shot gun fire if multiple people are shooting.
     
  6. tactidrool

    tactidrool Member

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    I could be wrong, but it appears to me that the reporter was trying to describe automatic gunfire, as he mentioned it was heavy fighting, and these were government forces firing on civilian protesters. If it were semi-automatic fire, why even describe it as "bursts of semi-automatic" fire?

    I guess we wouldn't know for sure unless we asked the reporter exactly what he heard, or ask him to explain the difference between automatic and semi-automatic, and we could see if he is able to use the accurate terms for what he is reporting on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  7. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    Maybe...... he heard gunfire that sounded faster than a bolt action or revolver and slower than fully automatic....and when he heard it, it was in 'bursts' rather than 'steady' or 'continuous'....?

    I guess I just dont see this as blantantly bad reporting/description.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  8. svtruth

    svtruth Member

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    Perhaps

    you could add a section to your organization's stylebook. I would think that there would be actual positive financial outcomes from being more authoritative.
     
  9. Single Action Six

    Single Action Six Member

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    Don't Get Me Started When It Comes To The Media..!!

    I don't see it as "ignorance", but rather as the media going along in its daily Anti-Gun rhetoric.

    [Rant On] :banghead:

    For the past several (and I'll say that again.. several) "YEARS" now I've consistently written to a number of my local newspaper reporters (along with the newspaper editors) about the blatant firearms misinformation found within the articles.. especially when it comes to the "local crime in the news" section.

    Many times I've informed them of the errors.. and include various links to the internet which give them the correct information, but all for naught! The very next day what do I see? More misinformation. The same that I wrote to them about yesterday, the day before.. and the day before that. My conclusion is they don't care to report what's right or correct.

    What possible excuse can be given by a reporter (the same reporter I've correct in the past), when it's pointed out to them (via internet links), that there's no such thing as a revolver spewing hundreds of rounds per minute.. bullets (no, it's empty shell casings) scattered throughout the street.. clips (it's magazines dummy) that hold "?" number of rounds.. the firearm used in the crime was a small black (not this again) "automatic".. etc., etc.

    What really irks me to no end is when I point out these mistakes (and the ensuing correct information) I'm often told.. "well, that's what the Police told me" by the reporter! I hate to tell ya there pardner, but in most cases the Police are the last ones you want to get your firearms information from. Just because they wear a gun on their hip daily doesn't mean they're the most knowledgeable person to be getting this information from.

    [Rant Off]

    Ok. I'll get off my anti-media bias now. ;)

    Single Action Six
     
  10. BigN

    BigN Member

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    I don't think the person who reported the news blatantly misreported, but I do think he just has no idea what he's talking about. This ignorance of firearms is evident every single day, bar none, in the news, and on tv in general. The people reporting (not all but most) have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to guns. I think in certain instances and on certain networks, the information is intentionally skewed to make it sound more dramatic or make it sound like the guns are more dangerous than they actually are, but overall I'd say these limp-wristed, silver-spoon fed hippies who call themselves reporters are totally ignorant of guns in general...
     
  11. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I've found this to be helpful
     

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  12. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Maybe he just doesn't know what the word "semi" means?
     
  13. Dbl0Kevin

    Dbl0Kevin Member

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    As much as it irks me to see mistakes made when referring to firearms in the media I think a lot of us are forgetting an important fact. Firearms are a point of interest for us, obviously since we are here, we read up on them, study them, and are quasi experts likely in whichever area we concentrate on. Journalists write stories about tons of topics every day and do not have the time or ability to become specialists in every one. I'm sure that there are plenty of stories on other issues that have wrong or improperly worded facts that we just breeze right over because we don't know anything about it either. So yes it's annoying, but in reality a lot of our expectations are unrealistic. How can you blame a reporter for including a blurb in a local crime story detailing what was told to them by the police? Do you honestly expect the reporter to do in depth investigation and get more facts on some passing story that won't even be a memory by next week?
     
  14. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    IMHO, if you're going to report something, doesn't matter the topic, DO THE RESEARCH FIRST. They make themselves look like idiots, even if it's the local LEO's telling them what happened, what was used, and all of that jazz. If they'd do the research, they'd probably be better off and have better ratings because they don't sound like too-far-left, ignorant little children. But, I guess it's how the world goes. :mad:
     
  15. Single Action Six

    Single Action Six Member

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    Report The News.. Don't Make It Up!!

    I never asked the journalist to become a expert in firearms.. and no, I don't expect them to do a in depth investigation to gather more facts, but yes, my expectations are such that after I've told the same reporter six, seven, or eight times in a row now (along with internet links) that it's NOT a "AUTOMATIC" pistol (sub-Machine gun) that was used, but rather a "Semi-Automatic" I expect (NO, I demand) that they get their facts correct.

    I suppose if the Police told them there was a big downtown accident between a Civil War submarine and a Inter-Galactic space ship from Mars they would just blindly report it. There are people who work at "Mickey D's" handing out french fries who I have more confidence in.

    Single Action Six
     
  16. trippstadt

    trippstadt Member

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    Dbl0Kevin's message above makes a lot of sense to me.

    I've never read a story in a newspaper about which I had significant inside knowledge that did not contain some obvious (to me) factual errors.

    I can't explain why attempts to inform reporters have been unsuccessful, but no reporter I've ever known actually WANTS readers (ANY readers, even "gun nuts") to think they're ignorant. In addition to Kevin's point, the truth is that to most reporters, each story is like a book report that is due in two hours and they haven't even finished reading the book yet. It's just that day's assignment, not some sacred mission to inform the public. It is what it is.

    Having said that, I do wish to assert that if you are a reporter, and your beat is violent crime, or you're covering a war, you really should be expected to know enough about the weapons involved to avoid such obvious errors.
     
  17. willypete

    willypete Member

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    Most veterans and active duty military personnel are pretty ignorant about guns, unless they were in a job that required them to use guns. Even then, they may only be knowledgeable regarding those specific platforms they were trained to use.
     
  18. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    Let see how that shoe fits on the other foot... "Anyone posting in the English language should know enough about grammar, spelling, and syntax to avoid errors that are obvious to a reporter."
     
  19. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    But they would know the difference between auto, semi auto and bolt, pistol vs. smg... clip vs. mag... the list can go on.
     
  20. trippstadt

    trippstadt Member

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    "Let see"? Don't need to be a reporter to see the problem there.

    Reporters desperately need their editors to ensure correct grammar, spelling, and syntax.

    Regardless, I truly do not understand your point. Do you agree that reporters who are in a war zone writing about a war should attempt to acquire at least a basic understanding of the weapons about which they are writing, or are you implying that it's unreasonable to expect them to do so?
     
  21. bbuddtec

    bbuddtec Member

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    malamute (#11) thanks for the serious laughter ohhhh. my wife had to know what I was laughing at lol.

    Poignant? I imagine so...

    As for the rest... they basically all have the same "anti" schooling, so they really don't know and don't think it's important to be specific, to them guns are bad no matter how you slice 'em. In reality, they are artists, and are using "artistic license"...it's their words on what they are relaying, and they know that. Throw in the mix that they are typical lazy workers, this is what you get.. they are on their next exploit already.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  22. Brock Landers

    Brock Landers Member

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    If you really want to be appalled, read the comments section on any New York Times story or opinion piece involving guns. Normally the Times is my favorite paper, and the journalists themselves usually at least make an effort to educate themselves regarding what they are writing about, but they get some people making comments on there who really haven't a clue what they are talking about; all of them firmly anti-gun, of course. One that sticks out in my mind was a person who referred to a receiver as a part that you attach to a gun to make it fully automatic.
     
  23. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    too-shaaay


    I'll take that 1/2 step farther.

    I personally think its not reasonable for a reporter to have a basic understanding of every facet of war and the all machinery involved, from every country involved in the multi national effort, including regional politics, tribal customs, local laws etc etc etc.

    They're reporters.... not educators.

    I also think the public should be able to dechipher what they hear/read.

    I dont think that the public should believe every word heard/read.

    There is some personal responsibility still left in this world... isnt there?

    For example, whe you read a gun review... dont you still evaluate it for yourself?
     
  24. Dejavu

    Dejavu Member

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    A 20 round magazine can be emptied rather quickly with a fast finger on semi-auto, so I think you could justify calling it a "burst of fire". Certainly not as fast of a "burst" as a full auto "burst", but still fast.

    I think you have a different time definition of what constitutes a "burst" than does the author and editor of the piece you read.

    I am not sure anything else needs to be read into this. There are so many other gun control issues towards which we all could expend the energy this thread is requiring.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  25. answerguy

    answerguy Member

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