Human rights activist Malcolm X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
Malcolm X was certainly wrong about a lot of things, endorsing violence as a means to agitate for social change, for example, but with respect to that comment about the media, he hit the nail on the head. The media is the most powerful entity on earth.
Given this reality, one shouldn’t be surprised that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a concerted effort to “educate” working “reporters, editors, news directors, photographers, producers, and bloggers” on firearms and gun-related violence.
Last week it was announced that the billionaire business magnate would work together with the Columbia Journalism School, sponsoring a two day workshop on April 17 and 18, to “enhance the practical ability of journalists to report on guns and gun violence knowledgeably, ethically, and effectively.”
Participants who attend the workshop, or let’s call it what it is, “indoctrination camp,” will hear from a number of “national public health and policy experts; researchers and clinicians; award-winning journalists, and prevention advocates and survivors.”
It goes without saying, but none of these speakers are affiliated with gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America or National Association for Gun Rights, which virtually assures that participants will be given a one-sided view of the debate. That’s Bloomberg for you. It’s his interpretation of the Second Amendment that matters. Not yours, not mine, not anyone else’s.
Yet, Columbia’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma state’s that “the workshop will cover such topics as state and federal gun laws; patterns of gun sales and gun trafficking; national trends and polling; education and prevention initiatives; social, economic, and public health impacts; and special populations (e.g., children and youth, women and returning veterans).”
Although they don’t say it explicitly, embedded in that course description are a number of obvious Everytown for Gun Safety talking points, most of which are spurious, but will likely be covered during the workshop, e.g., 92 percent of the public supports universal background checks, women are five times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner when a firearm is present, putting more firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens puts everyone at risk.
Yup, it will be workshop full of disinformation. However, according to Dart, it will “provide practical tools to enable journalists to successfully produce meaningful stories on guns and gun violence.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. This workshop has only one purpose. That is to create more Bloomberg disciples.