They've got a typical formula: Start with an incendiary headline ("Assault weapons + 'Cop killer' ammo = dead babies. Devastated mom tells her story"), or a headline that implies underhanded tactics by The Evil Gun Lobby ("NRA-backed law will result in more teen deaths.")
The article will then quote supposed experts and studies showing why banning guns will save us all from a life of fear and "gun-related death". I find it hilarious, when The Brady Bunch writes an article - supposedly with footnotes that show who was the expert or who did a study - and when you look up the footnote, the source of the substantiation is.... The Brady Bunch.
The ones that are most dangerous are the ones that try to look reasonable. They attempt portray the story to look, "fair and balanced" by purportedly giving equal time to both sides of an argument, and letting the reader make up their own mind.
I just read one of these "reasonable" articles in - of all places - marketwatch.com, under "personal finance".
The author hints at her bias with her title: 10 things the gun industry won’t tell you. I'm guessing she sold this piece to her editors under the (false) premise that stocks in gun and ammo companies might not be a good investment because they lie, cheat and steal.
She follows the standard formula for these types of articles: Passive-Aggressive title and sub-titles, multiple, "guns are bad" paragraphs, then a counter-point finishing paragraph that supposedly presents the opposing view. In most of these closing paragraphs there's a big "but" in the middle that counters the little boost it gave to the opposing view.
Here's an example:
Guns aren’t sold to kids, it’s true. Under federal law, you have to be at least 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun from a licensed dealer, and you must be 21 to buy any other type of gun. However, it’s easy to get around these restrictions, as it’s legal for an adult to buy shotguns and rifles and let a child use them; and while it is illegal for a child under 18 to possess a handgun, this law can sometimes be skirted with written permission from a parent or guardian.You soft-headed moron. We certainly wouldn't want a parent to have any say in what their own child is allowed to do, would we? Sorry, I forgot that you socialists believe that all children are property of the state.
Well, your state-owned 10 year old can't buy a car, but they can sure steal the keys and go for a joy-ride. Should we ban cars because of that? WAY more kids die in automobiles than die by guns, so that's clearly where we should start. It's for the children!
Many times, they'll just make stuff up. This is the page heading from the article noted above. It's for the 9th item on her list, and includes a direct quote -
So what do we do? It's a tough haul.
These writers know that the vast majority of Americans get their news - and believe every word - from the Mainstream Media. An uninformed reader sops up this viewpoint, and it now becomes theirs. "Hey, I'm a reasonable guy, and this lady just laid out a soft-spoken, reasonable, fact-based article. She must be right."
They don't bother to think for themselves and dig a bit deeper into the article. If it's in writing, it must be true.
So, it's up to us to educate them. Speak and write on the subject. A great source of information that's chalk-full of citations is Gun Facts. It's sole purpose is to lay out the myth, and counter it with fact. It's an awesome resource.
I downloaded one of the PDF copies, and it now resides on my Kindle. I can point to facts and figures in an instant, on virtually any gun control topic.
I think that most importantly, we need to be factual, aggressive and non-compromising in our replies to these types of blatant lies. As of the time I hit the "go" button on this post, the article in question will have been online for less than a day, and it's garnered over 800 comments so far.
Few things help win a debate faster than when an opponent gets caught spouting crap, and starts stammering with, "Um, well, uhhhhh" or move to ad hominem attacks.
Facts destroy the fiction. Use their own tactics on them.
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