The New York Times Sees Red When It Sees Guns

Orrin Judd questions (and pretty well answers) “whether the NY Times is even competent to cover Red State America.”

He was referring to the nonchalance with which calumnist Paul Krugman (calumny: a misrepresentation intended to blacken another’s reputation — Merriam Webster Online) dismisses the Christian right and the gun lobby as mere “special interest groups, continuing the New York Times tradition (which I discussed here) of treating the people in roughly half of the households in the country that contain guns as though they were not people at all but merely a “lobby,” with no identity apart from the NRA.

Here they go again. The following is from Adam Nagourney in today’s NYT:

In Maryland last week, the Republican candidate for governor, Rep. Bob Ehrlich, who has a long record of voting against gun control legislation, attacked his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, for the state’s failure to check the criminal backgrounds of prospective gun purchasers.

The only way Nagourney can think Ehrlich is being inconsistent here — as he obviously does — is to be unfamiliar not only with Ehrlich’s record but with the NRA’s position on background checks.

Ehrlich has been demanding stronger enforcement of background checks for years, well before he looked in the mirror and saw a future governor of Maryland. See this press release from 2000, for example.

Indeed, I would be willing to wager that most readers who get their news from the NYT — like, apparently, at least some of its writers — are unaware that the NRA supports background checks. Here is the NRA’s chief lobbyist, in a letter available of the NRA’s website, complaining in March 2001 about $300,000,000 wasted over the previous eight years that were supposed to develop a computerized capacity for those checks:

Here we stand, 8 years later and with over $300 million in taxpayer money spent. Unfortunately, all we have to show for it is a woefully inadequate system. But, times have changed. We have a new administration, a new Justice Department and new members of Congress. It is my sincere hope that together we can finally develop an efficient “instant check” system that will deliver its promise to the people–a promise supported by the NRA in congressional testimony for nearly 15 years.

Other newspapers seem to have no trouble figuring this out. Here is the Richmond Times Dispatch from Oct. 16:

WASHINGTON – The House yesterday passed without dissent a bill authorizing $1.1 billion in federal funds to help states computerize criminal records so they can be used in background checks on gun buyers.


Similar legislation is being blocked in the Senate even though it is supported by both gun control advocates and gun owner groups such as the National Rifle Association.

Say What?