This article, Gun flight: Smith & Wesson, Ruger quit California over stamping requirement, by Perry Chiaramonte is a classic example of the complete bias and total lack of journalistic integrity that is the hallmark and the brand of Fox News.
How can anyone consider this article to be journalism?
It seems like a reasonable question to ask if one reads the article with an eye toward word selection, tone, and the people are and who are not quoted in this article.
Here’s the opening sentence…
A new gun law proponents say helps law enforcement has driven Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger out of California, and affirmed the suspicions of firearms rights advocates that the measure is really about making handguns obsolete.
Let’s examine just that opening sentence more closely.
Proponents of a gun law (which we learn later passed in California in 2007 and that is only now being implemented) only “say” the new law helps law enforcement. Too bad Mr. Chiaramonte doesn’t tell us who any of them are, what they actually said, and what law enforcement officials said in response.
Meanwhile, gun makers are being “driven…out” of the California market because of this new law. What they are actually doing is making a conscious business decision. Personally, I think they’re bluffing. And if they’re not and they do stop selling handguns in California the downside is…….what exactly?
Still in the opening sentence and while all of that is going on, the “suspicions” of the “firearm rights advocates” are now “affirmed” that the law is meant to make handguns “obsolete.”
Firearms rights advocates? Sounds noble. Who are they? I wonder if Mr. Chiaramonte is referring to the gun manufacturers and their proxies whom he did choose to quote later in his piece?
“Affirmed suspicions” has a ring of certainty and dread, doesn’t it? Compare that to the unidentified proponents who are only “saying” that the law might help law enforcement – a position attacked and discredited by the only people Mr. Chiaramonte chose to quote; the aforementioned “firearms rights advocates.”
And, “affirmed suspicions” ties in neatly to the strawman that every gun-related bit of legislation is an immediate threat to the Second Amendment. As we all know, the Founders intended for every citizen to carry a handgun, and we cannot stand for any legislation which these “firearms rights advocates” tells us will make handguns “obsolete.”
All of that is in just the first sentence. It’s hard not to see now how word choice and tone matter, isn’t it?
So outside of the gun makers themselves who don’t want to have to conform to this law and who claim (threaten?!?) to be “forced” out of California, with whom does Mr. Chiaramonte choose to quote? To whom will he turn to for a fair and balanced perspective on this law?
He turns to an attorney for the NRA, Chuck Michel, and an adjunct professor who is also an associate analyst with the Cato Institute, David Kopel.
Well, they certainly represent one side of this issue. Where are the other sides? There are none represented.
Mr. Chiaramonte also employs those dubious and suspicious, “Critics say….” and “Many believe…” statements that have become so common these days. Why doesn’t he tell us their names, what they actually said, and when and where they said it?
Most damning and conspicuous, though, is Mr. Chiaramonte’s complete lack of information about who the supporters are and what they have to say. There are no legislators, gun law proponents, or law enforcement officials named or quoted in the article.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Perry Chiaramonte spent a lot of his career at the New York Post before joining Fox. This may not come as a surprise to anyone who understands the similarities these two organizations share when it comes to their definitions and treatment of the news. For those who need a quick understanding of the caliber of journalism practiced by the New York Post, I suggest you click here to see some of their more infamous headlines and covers.
I’m willing to bet that Mr. Chiaramonte knows that his article is not news. I’m willing to bet that in his heart of hearts he knows it to be a quintessential example of yellow journalism. He must, for it matches perfectly and precisely with how the Free Dictionary defines that term: “Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.”
In his defense, Mr. Chiaramonte must also know and agree that that is what Fox does. It is all that Fox News does. It exploits. It distorts. It exaggerates in order to create sensations and attract readers and viewers. It is how it makes its money.
Mr. Chiaramonte, however, cannot be exonerated for presenting one side and only one side – the opposition – in his article. He is being anything but fair and balanced in this report, and I cannot believe that he isn’t doing that intentionally.
It doesn’t seem possible, but Fox News seems to be getting progressively more lazy and more lackadaisical than was even imaginable. Even worse, it seems perfectly clear that they believe their audience won’t notice.
That said, it’s actually more likely that Fox is simply pandering to an audience who consciously selects them and embraces them precisely for their incredibly biased and yellow journalism; the same type of journalism so obviously on display in Mr. Chiaramonte’s article.
As for this California law itself, I learned very little about it from this article. I shall have to go to other more reliable sources. I do like the sounds of it. It seems like a step in a very positive direction.