Saturday, March 21, 2009

Letter to KWCH

Or rather, an email:

Thanks in advance for your time:

Last night, Cindy Klose made a passing comment while reporting on the gun amendment bill in the State Senate - and I'm paraphrasing here: "President Obama, who supports the Second Amendment..." and then she proceeded with the story.

Since these sort of definitive statements require some research on the part of principled journalists, I challenge you to show me any evidence that President Obama has ever supported the Second Amendment. His whole political career is in fact a testament to gun control. If I remember correctly, Cindy's next statement had to do with the President's support of an assault weapons ban, which negates any supposed second amendment support.

If your staff had done any research, they would have found that Barack Obama has in fact been a great supporter of gun control until he was campaigning for the Presidential Office. He then claimed the mantle of a Second Amendment supporter with statements claiming he would not come for our guns, and supporting hunting. Since hunting is not mentioned in the text of the Second Amendment, I'd hardly call that a ringing endorsement.

What would have made the statement accurate would be the insertion of "who claims to support the Second Amendment."

This statement by Ms. Klose stands in contrast to the excellent piece by Jim Grawe. Clearly, the public doesn't believe our President for a moment, or the gun stores wouldn't be mobbed and out of stock. I appreciated the neutral presentation of that story - there was no insinuation that gun owners aren't responsible citizens, or the NRA was somehow involved, or so many of the other tired and incorrect gun control memes.

To be fair to Cindy - I didn't get the impression that she felt that Obama is a great supporter of gun control - rather she was reporting the facts that she had on hand with no prejudice. I admire that about her and your news team - as a regular viewer, I really have no idea of your reporters' political affiliations. I feel that is a hallmark of good journalism, and your staff is nothing if not professional in that regard. Cindy might be a member of the John Birch Society or a Communist - but I've never had a glimpse into her feelings.

At any rate, I will continue to watch your newscasts - and thanks again for your time.

Jeff *******
********, KS
This is the video of the story Jim Grawe posted:

Edit: it seems the embedded video isn't working at the moment - I've loaded the code they've supplied twice and it still doesn't work. The video can be found here, and the transcript of the story here.

Of course, Mr. Grawe gets a minor detail wrong - the term "bullet" is not interchangeable with ammunition. Considering the gun store is in the same boat as all the rest out there plus gun shows and mail/internet retailers, they were probably low on bullets, too. But, bullets don't launch themselves down the barrels of guns all by themselves. Bullets require a case, primer and powder to motivate them, all of which the gun store was probably low on as well.

I did like the story, though. The inclusion of a photogenic single mother who, after being robbed, decided to protect herself with a gun was a plus from the media. She was shown in a positive light - at the range, following safety procedures, obviously possessing a CCW permit and practicing with her chosen self defense weapon. No beer cans or Confederate flags were highlighted in this story. The NRA wasn't mentioned. No camo covered mall ninjas. The gun store spokesman was given a platform to support the gist of the story - We Citizens Just Don't Trust Obama When It Comes To Gun Control. Frankly, the exclusion of any sort of Brady Bunch spokesperson kinda surprised me. In most stories they would have the opportunity to breathlessly claim the streets would soon be running with the blood of innocent children and nuns. But, considering this is Kansas, there probably wasn't one handy just then.

KWCH is a CBS affiliate. Can you imagine Katie Couric doing a story like this, without the emotional hyperbole? Neither can I. Which is why KWCH loses my viewing eyeballs when the CBS Evening News is on. I like KWCH's news coverage, but CBS at the national level? Not so much.

So, kudos to KWCH for their coverage of this issue. I'm also sure that Cindy Klose's statement just wasn't thought out very well, either.

No comments: