If it Bleeds it Leads, So Let it Bleed
American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun." - NRA VP Wayne LaPierre, December 21, 2012
If one were to take Maureen Dowd's dry sarcasm literally (and I'm afraid many liberals do), then the NRA is wrongly anathematizing the MSM that she represents and that the 4th Estate is being used as a scapegoat, an innocent victim that's not actually accountable for the atmosphere of fear the NRA's Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre rightly pointed out at his Friday presser.
Of course, LaPierre's brief, shining moment of lucidity in an otherwise surrealistically stupid press conference was the delineation of the old maxim of a stopped clock being right twice a day (although that second time was never forthcoming). But he touched upon something that liberals (including professional erstwhile leftists such as Dowd) are howling about this very moment on Twitter, Crooks and Liars and elsewhere.
"Oh, it's not the media's fault!" Dowd and others are saying as they claw slippery mud to achieve that moral high ground, as if LaPierre was accusing a woman with her hormones out of whack. But the fact is, there's a tacit, synergistic relationship between the mainstream media, the NRA and gun sales. Fear sells. And people are always buying, especially in a year in which the Maya seemed to promise us destruction on the winter solstice (which has proven to be as much a no-show as LaPierre's proverbial second moment of clarity). And the mainstream media, those loyal stenographers of every presidential administration since Lyndon Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin, are doing the selling. The NRA helps its gun lobby help the firearms industry fill the demand for the tools that keep the fear at bay. (A chilling sidebar: This company sold three and a half year's worth of AR15 clips in just 72 hours after the Newtown massacre, all but outright proving gun nuts nationwide are afraid of an official and meaningful backlash that hasn't even begun yet.)
Granted, the MSM at its worst thinks on a much bigger and grander scale, supporting this or that administration whenever they feel the need to get their war on and attack one nation of brown people or another. After all, few things pump up ratings faster and higher than a shiny new war but in the wake of September 11th, 2001, even the hasty and futile invasion of Afghanistan played second fiddle to the Islamophobia that was stoked, with Fox "News" proudly at the vanguard.
Last week, an Indiana man was arrested for torching a mosque. After he was arrested and questioned as to his motive, he reportedly claimed that he'd watched Fox "News" while drinking 45 beers and essentially said they made him do it with their constant blathering about Muslims killing us. Over two years ago, the Tides Foundation wouldbe shooter Byron Williams was found to have literature in his car by Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, the latter having railed incessantly about Tides. Williams himself said he'd been heavily influenced by what he'd seen on TV about Tides and the ACLU.
When one realizes what an absurdly high percentage of Republican voters who as of last July still thought the president was a Muslim, despite Mr. Obama being the Chief Executive for three and a half years and being, naturally, one of the most written-about men on the planet, the sharp increase we saw in gun sales becomes more explainable. (In fact, between October 2008 and July this year, the percentage who thought he was Muslim actually rose from 12 to 17 points, according to Pew, meaning the more they see and hear and read about the president, the more ignorant conservatives get.)
It also follows that the MSM, inexplicably led by the top-rated Fox "News", partly has itself to blame for gun sales skyrocketing after both presidential elections, due in part to the lies told about President Obama, the most stubborn of which is that he wants to take away our guns. Go do a search on Newsbank or any other comprehensive news database for how many times our president has actually used the phrase "gun control" and in what context. I'll sit here and wait.
See what I mean? Even after his tearful press conference in which the President finally broke down and said that a solution to this problem with mass shootings has to be reached, he still didn't say the phrase "gun control" or offer even any broad strokes of such an agenda.
And, lest the MSM fear they're becoming irrelevant and that people aren't listening to them, all they need do is to continue following the AP or UPI news wire to see how many people are taking to heart the fear they stoke on a daily basis. Then watch the media step back and howl with indignation at being labeled culpable when one shooter or wouldbe shooter after another cites them as the source of their murderous angst.
The mainstream media were as adept at capitalizing on national fear as the neocons in the Bush administration and their constant color-coded terror alerts that suddenly inched up to red when it looked as if Bush's re-election odds were getting long, which, of course, the MSM were all too ready, eager, willing and able to helpfully pass along.
Their manifold motivations for stoking fear vary but the one common denominator is Money, the Almighty dollar. The NRA and its lobbying arm's job is to keep gun sales at alltime highs. The media's job is to perpetually stoke that fear because as long as humans harbor that atavistic fight or flight instinct, fear will always sell, which means airtime sells at high rates which means more money in the already bulging, bottomless pockets of TV, radio and newspaper executives and their holding company's shareholders. The very coverage of Newtown, while certainly newsworthy, was obviously driven by the cynical, old media adage of, "If it bleeds, it leads." And the MSM have no incentive to stop the bleeding anywhere along the way.
And the people ultimately left holding the price tag for these corporately-driven agendas are the parents who have to bury dead children after one maniac whose mother took to heart what the media and the NRA said about the necessity of buying semi-automatic weapons. The answer is not to buy more guns to combat the problem of us already having too many guns and the answer isn't even more mandatory and stringent background checks. The answer starts with telling the MSM to back off and to stop needlessly frightening the populace into gun shops and gun shows and passing along lies as if they were actual news. And that starts with ignoring doddering morons like Wayne LaPierre and keeping him off Meet the Press.
Anyone who'd seen Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine may remember Moore asking Canadians why their country has so many fewer gunshot fatalities than ours, despite the prevalence of firearms in Canada. No one could fully answer the question but one Canadian gentleman perhaps came the closest when he said that Canadians weren't afraid all the time and their mainstream media didn't stoke fear on a constant basis.