How to Lie About Guns, New York Times Style
One of the easiest ways to lie and not get sued for libel is to simply do so through exclusion. The New York Times is famous for this and if you don’t know enough about guns they can make things sound pretty bad, just by leaving out a little bit of information. In the wake of the Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict we ought to brush up on the tactics of far-left media. To do so, we simply just need to look to the past. Back in March of 2021, I found an article so egregious that I decided to go ahead and fill in the blanks. I believe the resulting work should be saved and used to inform anybody who is arguing for more gun control without all of the facts. For reference the original article can be found here:
You’ll see that the author is attempting to paint Ruger’s AR-15 pistol and the 5.56 round in a darker light than it deserves.
The article opens with the basic facts and uses that tired old phrases like “military-style semiautomatic rifle and pistol.” Of course, the author leaves out that they are “military-style” in appearance only. Camouflaging a Kia doesn’t make it an M1 Abrams tank. As the piece starts to “develop,” the author also goes on to write, “Statements from the police and the charging documents did not make it clear which of the weapons was used in the attack, but it appeared at least one is a semiautomatic derivative of the assault rifles that have long been used by the American military.”
For starters, holy long sentence Batman. I had to read it a few times to keep up with it all, leaving just the catchphrases like “assault rifles” and “American military” to stand out. However, if you read it a few times you pick up what is being said. The guns being referenced are derivatives as opposed to copies because they are semi-automatic, like a common pistol. This is unlike the military’s fully automatic M4 carbines. Only folks who know guns are going to know that and only a few are going to be that dedicated to pull all of that from this poorly structured sentence.
Later on, I found what is arguably the poorest display of journalism in the entire article. The author goes on to state, “According to a police affidavit, the suspect charged with 10 counts of murder, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, bought a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic weapon, essentially a shortened version of an AR-15 style rifle marketed as a pistol, six days before the killings took place. It is also unclear if that weapon was used in the shooting on Monday.”
Wait…if it’s “unclear” that this gun was used at all, why does this article include this statement? Actually, why is there even an article entitled “What we know about the gun used in the Boulder shooting” in existence? The Times didn’t need 284 words to put this piece together, thanks to this statement I can do it with just one, “Nothing.”
About halfway through is where I found the most manipulative piece of information and this is where the author states “Both the AR-15 style rifle and the Ruger version fire the same small-caliber, high-velocity ammunition, which was first developed for battlefield use.” Sure, the 5.56 was built for the military… To replace the current, larger cartridge that was regarded as uncontrollable and too powerful for common battlefield use! I’ve had enough with media like this trying to make the 5.56 round out to be some sort of baby-killing monster. It’s one of the least-potent centerfire rifle rounds on the market, considered by most to be too small even for deer hunting. Is it more powerful than a pistol round? Sure, but almost any given rifle has more power than any given handgun.
As things begin to wrap up the author proceeds to attempt to make large-format pistols look like the “ideal” tool for mass shootings where she says “Based on their size, ‘AR pistols’ are much easier to conceal than a typical AR-15 carbine or rifle. According to the manufacturer’s website, the Ruger AR-556 pistol comes with either a 9.5-inch or 10.5 inch-long barrel, while a typical AR-15 has at least a 16-inch barrel.” Pretty convenient that she left out the fact that common pistols have barrels from 2 to 6 inches and are capable of the same rate of fire and in most cases, capacity. So although an AR Pistol is easier to conceal than a rifle or shotgun, it’s far less concealable than many other semi-automatic firearms.
As a New Yorker, I have been conditioned to read between the lines and sadly that’s where you are going to find the facts in dribble like this. It’s a shame that our publication doesn’t reach the same people who read the Times, because it would be nice to give the Times’s readership a complete and balanced idea of what that this firearm is—and more importantly what it isn’t. This, my friends, is why we must remain vigilant and never shy away from the conversation. We can only change an informed mind and that duty lies squarely at our feet.
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