TV Station Promotes A Single Activist's Complaints About Gun Raffle As News Story

Originally the headline above read “activists,” but as it turns out, a single anti-gun activist’s complaints about a shotgun raffle for a youth softball program was enough to earn them some air time on the local news (as well as a story here at Bearing Arms).

WLWT in Cincinnati reported that the Kentucky Academy of Sports is  raffling off a shotgun for the third year in a row, but this is the first time that Sydney Cooper, the Kentucky director of March For Our Lives, is hearing about it.

“It seemed very tone deaf to what is happening in our nation right now,” said Cooper.

She said raffles like these feel like a slap in the face from adults who aren’t listening to the next generation.

“I’ve been doing active trainer drills since I was in elementary school. Even if it is going to an adult, it’s still troubling that we’re equating these children with these guns,” said Cooper.

Nobody is “equating children with guns,” Sydney. Adults are raffling off tickets to other adults, raising money for the softball program while at the same time giving someone the chance to win a shotgun. The winner will receive the firearm only after passing a background check at an Ohio gun store. There’s nothing objectionable about this, unless you’re simply looking for a reason to complain, and if it feels like a slap in the face, that says far more about you than it does about anybody participating in the raffle to support the youth softball program.

It also says quite a bit about the journalistic priorities of WLWT, which manufactured a story and attempted to manufacture a controversy based on nothing more than a single anti-gun activist’s opinion. From the television station’s headline of “NKY youth softball team gun raffle stirs controversy,” to the story’s end, it’s clear that the station is trying to create the controversy they crave.

“We are worried for our future. We are worried for other children that are around us. We’re worried for ourselves,” said Cooper.

WLWT attempted to contact KAOS several times for comment. Those calls and emails were not returned.

According to Sydney Cooper’s twitter feed, she’s also upset with author J.K. Rowling. Is that worthy of news coverage too?

Honestly, “gun control activist upset by legal, law-abiding gun owners” is about the biggest dog-bites-man story you could possibly find. It’s absurd that WLWT decided that a single complaint from someone who objects to this raffle is newsworthy, but it’s disgraceful that the station couldn’t even bother to air a single skeptical question about Cooper’s complaints.

If I were WLWT’s news director, this story never would have gotten a green light, at least not in the form that made it to air. Again, I don’t believe a single gun control activist complaining about a shotgun getting raffled off is any more newsworthy than a single Second Amendment activist complaining about a business that just became a gun free zone. Once they decided to run with the story, they failed to approach the story as a journalist should. Instead of asking any serious questions of Cooper, they simply allowed her a platform to push her views.

What is Cooper really objecting to; the lawful transfer of a shotgun or the fact that a shotgun raffle is apparently an effective way for the northern Kentucky softball program to raise money? Does she really believe that those participating in the raffle are not worried about the safety of their children, grandchildren, and their friends at school? Why on earth would the reporter let statements like that go unchallenged, and why would a news director look at this story and allow it to air?

Now, you could say that the softball program could have raised these issues if they had returned the reporter’s calls, but it’s not up the promoter of the raffle to ask Sydney Cooper some real questions. That’s the reporter’s job, but instead of an actual news story, viewers were treated to what amounts to pure anti-gun propaganda. The next time the station wants to push out an anti-gun point of view, just invite Sydney Cooper to sit behind the anchor’s desk for a “guest editorial.” That would be a far more honest approach than what the station delivered with their “news” story.