I read a lot of RKBA news. Seriously: A lot. (And that matters, as you’ll see.)
One theme that started popping up last week is the idea that RKBA advocates are somehow losing the culture war.
If you read the national news (or watch television, or get your news from mainstream web sites), that’s an easy conclusion to reach. So long as you don’t look too closely.
As I said, I read a lot of news. I must, to put together the weekly TZP news summary. Besides my casual browsing, I use several pre-built news searches on a variety of terms. The terms were selected to produce headlines from various points of view.
Probably 90% of the actual results reflect only one point of view; that RKBA is losing. You see it in “news” reports and Letters to the Editor (LtE) alike. You see it in polls and surveys.
And it’s BS.
Not to defend the NRA, but did you see the “news” story “Lawyer who worked for NRA said to have had concerns about group’s Russia ties”? So the NRA’s lawyer is worried about collusion?
Nope: Mitchell told McClatchy in an email that any suggestion she has concerns about the NRA’s Russia connections is a “complete fabrication.” But to learn that, you have to get past the false headline and two paragraphs of innuendo.
Or this oldie-butgoodie bullshit: “The NRA has blocked gun violence research for 20 years. Let’s end its stranglehold on science.” Absolutely factually wrong headline. Folks who routinely rely on the LA Times to inform them will have no basis to understand that the CDC was stopped from advocating and promoting gun control, and the funding they “lost” was the money they’d diverted from research, thus proving they didn’t need it. But try writing an LtE to correct that lie.
I’ve been writing LtEs on firearms-related topics for decades. Offhand, I can only recall two being published. One was a recent letter to the Texas Wilson County News in which I congratulated the publisher for getting facts right.
I have to go back to the mid-1990s for the only other published LtE: It ran in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. I opened to the Op/Ed page and found they’d run two letters side by side, to reflect “both sides” of the discussion. The pro-RKBA letter was… sad. An embarrassment to RKBA. Poor grammar, unfortunate word choices, incorrect statistics. You name it, that guy got it wrong, and I was pissed because I’d sent a letter covering everything that clown had, but I got it right. But I kept reading.
And found that crappy excuse for a pro-RKBA letter over my own name. They edited it to make pro-Second Amendment types look like idiots. They edited it so heavily — changing even facts — that I couldn’t recognize it as my own. I had to dig out my personal file copy and match paragraph to published paragraph to see that they’d followed my sequence. Sort of.
I protested. Nothing.
I threatened. Nothing.
I recently wrote another LtE to a local paper, objecting to falsehoods in another letter. They refused to publish it. The publisher claimed she could “correct” the falsehoods by printing a “correction” elsewhere.
We are not losing the war. Yet. But we have lost the media battle. The editorial gatekeepers will not let our truly representative views be seen.
Polls/surveys? Same thing. Gallup claims “Americans Widely Support Tighter Regulations on Gun Sales”. To hear them tell it, 96% of Americans want universal background checks; 95% of gun owners. 75% of all Americans want a 30 day waiting period on all firearms purchases.
You couldn’t get 96% of all Americans to decide on vanilla ice cream over frozen feces, if only because of the jokers answering the phones. Certainly no state has ever come within 30 points of that figure in real elections or referendums.
So how do they get those numbers? Sometimes it’s through careful question selection, but that’s a crude technique, mostly abused by outright push-polls. The pro’s trick is weighting. That’s where you expect a bias in answers due to statistical clumping in the random selection of respondents, so you adjust the numbers to compensate. Real statisticians will do that for specific reasons.
(And what happens with “unscientific” Internet surveys; the ones where respondents aren’t carefully selected and “weighted”? Pretty much the exact opposite. The truth is somewhere in between.)
But if a pollster finds he’s getting too many pro-RKBA answers, out of proportion to the blue-city urban responses, and has to adjust…
Adjusting is exactly the wrong response. That’s deciding what the “right” result is before starting and faking the results to match preconceptions. If your “random” respondent selection was properly random, then the respondents should average out to represent — proportional to population — America. No need to “weight.” And to be sure, you randomly select another pool of respondents and run a second survey with exactly the same questions. Think of it as reproducing experimental results in real science.
Instead, we get nonsensical, proven-wrong (UNH survey in NH claimed 94% of residents wanted universal PPYI; when the Dems tried, they were voted out by large margins) 96% percent propaganda. (And kudos to the Crime Prevention Research Center for trying to conducted accurate surveys and analysis; statistics is inherently imprecise, so errors occur, but they try.)
The media gatekeepers have won the battle to inform the uninformed. They will not allow a proper defense of human/civil rights, an understanding of existing laws, or what already failed. The faked surveys become believable because, “Well, I never see anyone saying different in the news.” Convenient, that.
We have sites like this, and other bloggers and dedicated firearms sites rarely seen by those who don’t already share our interest. A few allies at services like Breitbart. Inconsistent, occasional support from Fox. The occasional local paper with severely limited circulation. If anyone can even find them, what with Google censoring bad-think search results, even shopping searches.
Social media? Are you still on anti-gun Facebook?
Big media has control. By blocking almost all positive discussion of firearms-related human/civil rights, they make appear there are none. Honest gun owners can be demonized, making it that much more likely that the deliberately ill-informed will support that much more erosion of rights. After all, only handful of radicals want those rights… they’re told, unaware of what they aren’t told.
At best, my writing here at The Zelman Partisans is preaching to the choir. More like shouting into an echo chamber.
Or a void.
Frankly, I’ve stared too long into the abyss. It’s a staredown.
But the choir doesn’t want me to say it’s hopeless. You want answers. Preferably quick, easy answers.
Sorry to disappoint.
Short of brainwashing Soros et al into channeling mass quantities of money into fact-based, unbiased, professional — as opposed to the current crop of “journalists” who decry their innocence in false reporting by exclaiming, “But it’s my job to report what [insert authority figure] said. It isn’t my place to question them.” — reporting, and the advertising necessary to make people aware of the news source, the media battle will lead to the culture loss already being decried.
The NRA can’t do it. They’re already the designated demon to the ignorant, and traitors to informed gun owners.
I can’t do it. I’m struggling to pay bills, without running up expenses chasing down leads or paying for honest surveys, or building a high traffic web site to pass that info along. Education like this is part of what The Zelman Partisans was created to do, but still lacks the resources to reach far enough.
Gun Owners of America can’t do it. They’re already reaching as far as they can, while pushing pro-rights legislation and law suits.
55,000,000 to 120,000,000 gun owners, and we can’t cough up a buck a piece per year to create a loud enough voice of truth. Hell, I’d settle for enough to buy an editor or two in major markets, the way the victim disarmament side has done.
Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could seriously use the money, what with truck repairs and bills.