It has been quite a long time since anyone accused the American news media of being objective, but the funeral dirge for the gun control movement by “senior staff writer” Tony Dokoupil of NBC news is a sad dirge indeed.

In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, gun control was ground zero in American politics, captivating the public and politicos alike. It flared again late last month after a gunman killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

But now, as the first anniversary of Newtown approaches, the forces for gun control have little to celebrate, a lot to mourn and scant hope of change in the near term. On the front lines, activists say they are demoralized and adrift, the movement fraying at the roots as its leaders struggle to reignite a fading national moment for change.

“It’s not going well at all,” says Sally Christ, 56, a donor to Americans for Responsible Solutions, a major gun-control lobby launched this year by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Two months ago, she and other supporters celebrated on the waterfront in Portland, Maine, noshing on lobster and looking toward a strong push for gun reform legislation this fall—a push that hasn’t materialized and, thanks to Obamacare and Congress, probably won’t.

“There are some little bits and pieces,” says Christ, a former public health educator. But “it’s not like getting people to quit smoking. It’s not sexy.”

Dokoupil and Christ inhabit the same reality-based fantasy world as the rest of their peers, where they’ve deluded themselves into thinking that 90-percent of the population can support their political goal du jour, where just just 20-percent of Americans own guns, where everyone they know supports gun control, and where somehow, politicians are controlled by the scant five million members of the NRA hold the other 309 million hostage.

They can’t seem to grasp that almost one in two Americans (47-percent) own firearms.

They steadfastly refuse to accept that gun ownership is on a massive growth curve, that American sport shooting alone is consuming ammunition at the same rate as the nation did fighting a two-front war against Germany and Japan in World War Two.

They either cannot or will not grasp that the number of civilian AR-15 owners alone (estimated at 5 million plus, and growing daily) is roughly twice that of the entire U.S. military, and that a good number of those civilians train more often than average soldier.

And of course, they refuse to concede that they are losing what they always assumed would be their stronghold: the young, urban, and female who are now the fastest growing segment of the gun-owning public.

It isn’t just a failure of gun control that Dokoupil and his fellow news media elitists are lamenting, but their own relevance, which they are just beginning to realize. They deceived, misled, and slanted the news for so long that the have destroyed any illusion of credibility that they once had. The net result of that failure of public trust is that when NBC, or CNN, or the Washington Post, or the New York Times says that “the sky is blue,” people on both sides of any given issue know that they better look outside for themselves. These would be elites traded credibility for the trappings of the political class with whom they chose to breed… and that has doomed them.

The media is not just lamenting the loss of the gun control debate, but a death of their own relevance.

Perhaps the cause of death should be listed as a suicide.