The NRA is an evil organization. If you want to work as a journalist for mainstream media, that is the line you have to toe. To suggest otherwise is to put your career and livelihood at risk.
You think I’m joking? Maybe being hyperbolic? Don’t think so.
Let’s do a quick flashback to some examples of how the NRA and gun owners have been portrayed by the media.
“The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those [Sandy Hook] children,” wrote Adam Gopnik, a Staff Writer for the New Yorker in 2012.
“You’re a scared white person, almost certainly male. You do not live in a major city, or near a university or intellectual hub of any note, nor have you ever traveled very far from your home town (sic), much less out of state or anywhere further than, say, Mexico. Once. And that was enough,” wrote Mark Morford, a columnist for SFGate, in his attempt to define gun owners in 2014.
Remember Katie Couric’s 2016 gun documentary? The one where she added an 8-second pause for “dramatic effect” that made the gun owners in the film appear to be speechless during a line of questioning in which they actually had no problem answering?
Speaking of creative edits, remember when NBC News edited the Zimmerman 911 call in 2012 to make him appear racist? Hmmm, I wonder what sort of agenda NBC News was pushing? Gun owners = Racists.
Apologies for the long intro, but this subject obviously gets me fired up. To the news at hand! Stacy Washington, a conservative columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was recently suspended because she penned a piece, titled, “Guns and the Media,” defending the NRA against comparisons to ISIS.
“[W]hen has a member of the NRA ever decapitated, set on fire, tossed from a rooftop or otherwise terrorized another American? The linkage is not only rife with improper context; it is false on its face,” wrote Washington.
She later commented on the lack of conservative voices in the media, “This failure to represent the opposing, especially conservative, view is an increasingly apparent deficit in the news reporting apparatus in our country.”
Heresy! Heresy! Heresy!
That was basically the reaction from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which promptly found a way to suspend Washington. The board claimed that Washington failed to disclose her “promotional appearances” on the NRA TV’s “Cam & Company” and her contribution to an NRA documentary in August of 2016 even though she never took a dime for either.
“Her active promotional activities and professional association with the National Rifle Association represented an unacceptable conflict of interest in her most recent column, which resulted in our suspension of her work,” wrote Tod Robberson, the Post-Dispatch’s editorial page editor, in a response.
“Columnists are expected to fully disclose conflicts of interest when writing about topics where such a conflict might arise,” Robberson continued. “We apply this standard regardless of the lobbying or advocacy group being written about in a column.”
The Post-Dispatch’s response is total B.S. It claimed that it didn’t suspend Washington because of her pro-NRA views in the column. Yeah, right. That pig won’t fly.
— Stacy Washington (@StacyOnTheRight) May 1, 2017
What I imagined happened over there is that a low-level editor approved Washington’s column for publication. But once it hit the newsstands, the powers that be saw it and freaked the heck out. Is there any greater sin? I mean, to defend the NRA in print is tantamount to complimenting the Trump administration or questioning the scientific consensus on climate change. All are equally damnable in the eyes of the media elite.
Shortly after the fiasco, Washington quit her job at the Post-Dispatch. She took to Twitter to defend her positions and beliefs.
“I’m not ashamed that I’m an NRA supporter, a Bible-thumper, that I love Jesus Christ. I’m all the way out there,” she said. “There’s nothing else that I can do to articulate my perspective any more clearly on where I stand.”
While I don’t blame her for quitting, I sorta wish she would’ve stayed at the Post-Dispatch. It would have afforded her more opportunities to fight the power from within. Sure, she’ll be happier elsewhere, say at a conservative publication that embraces her values, but she’ll also be preaching to the choir instead of unnerving, unsettling, unhousing the media elite.