Yesterday, when I wrote about the recently found issue with the Honor Guard handguns, there was another element to the story. In particular, the issue was an allegation that another gun website had information and had refused to report it. In the video was a screenshot of a text conversation telling Patrick Roberts, who wrote for the blog in question at the time, to have no further contact with Honor Defense.
At The Truth About Guns, they note this was in August of this year that this took place.
Let’s let that sink in just a bit.
Over those three-plus months, a website that is devoted to sharing news of the firearm industry has known that a firearm has a potentially fatal flaw and has said nothing? The site in question reported on Sig Sauer’s difficulties with the P320 having failed a similar test. While one of their writers claimed it wasn’t a big deal in an opinion piece, they did report on the issue.
But that was a Sig P320, not an Honor Guard.
For the record, this was also in August of this year.
So why allegedly block one story and not another? Well, it sounds like the site in question enjoys a close relationship with Honor Defense. Maybe not a formal one, but it seems like a close one. Maybe someone highly placed at the blog is friends with someone highly placed at Honor Defense. Maybe they just love the Honor Guard so much. Who knows. What I do know I could find more stories of writers going behind the scenes at Honor Defense than at Glock, for example.
And that’s one of the problems of being any kind of journalist, growing too close to the subject and people you’re reporting on.
Years ago, when I was a newspaper editor, I picked up the story of a reporter at another newspaper in the region receiving favors from a local city manager. His beat was the local government, but he saw no issues receiving these favors. As a result, he often presented stories that refused to take a critical look at local government, and his paper’s reputation in the community suffered because of it.
When it comes to guns, this can be especially problematic when you’re talking about a potential flaw in a firearm, a flaw that could get someone seriously injured. Or worse.
As a writer, it’s necessary to maintain a certain degree of separation between the objects and the people you report on and yourself. It’s essential. It’s hard to look at a friend and acknowledge that you’re going to have to write something that might ruin their business. Yet that’s the responsible and ethical thing to do.
For a site to fail to do that is, to me, mindboggling.
People could have been hurt and this site had the information. It had the data to inform people of a problem and said nothing. Further, while it only took Sig days to address their issue, Honor Defense has had the information long enough to have a fix in the works and apparently a media outlet ready to disseminate the information for them, and what do we hear? Crickets.
It’s hard not to be fans of certain gun companies if you’re a gun person. People don’t get into gun writing without having some interest in firearms, after all.
But if that love gets in the way of doing your job, you’ve failed. Period.
It’ll be interesting to see if this site even acknowledges the allegations against them. If so, I’m curious as to what their explanation will be. However, I find it difficult to believe there’s any explanation other than an outright denial of the information presented that will explain the charges being leveled.
Either way, though, it’s time for gun writers to make sure we have some separation between ourselves and the industry we report on.