The media is not our friend. We all know that, of course, but it’s important to be reminded from time to time just how much they absolutely despise us.
Lobby Day in Richmond is an annual occurrence. It’s a thing that happens regularly anyway. Yet with the push for gun control by Governor Ralph Northam and the clown troop that passes for a legislature calling the shots, gun owners felt obliged to make it a point to be present.
Unfortunately, as science fiction author Larry Niven once wrote, “No cause is so noble that it won’t attract fuggheads.” Ours is certainly not exempt. Some fuggheads have decided to try and attach themselves to our community.
We can say we don’t want them, and we have, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still try and latch on.
It’s a problem any movement is going to have, unfortunately.
The bigger problem, though, is the media latching onto that and making damn sure everyone paints us with the exact same brush.
Let’s start with NBC News’ Ben Collins, for example.
Ahead of Monday’s gun-rights rally in Virginia, NBC News reporter Ben Collins labeled the event a “white nationalist” gathering Sunday, even as he warned against spreading “made-up stuff” on Twitter — prompting scores of critics to point out the apparent irony, and to condemn his network for sanctioning Collins’ checkered reporting on the so-called “dystopia beat.”
“Reporters covering tomorrow’s white nationalist rally in Virginia, I’m absolutely begging you: Verify information before you send it out tomorrow, even if it’s a very sensational rumor you heard from a cop,” Collins wrote in his since-deleted tweet. “Don’t become a hero in neo-Nazi propaganda circles with made-up stuff.”
Defending his post from a torrent of criticism, Collins initially argued that federal law enforcement had arrested six suspected Neo-Nazis in advance of the rally in states including Georgia, Maryland and Delaware, with some of the suspects apparently intending to travel to the Richmond rally.
Collins also remarked that there has been an “enormous amount of 4chan and Qanon chatter,” appropriating intelligence-community lingo to describe online communications from conspiracy groups and troll websites.
After several hours, Collins deleted his original tweet, writing in a seemingly peppy message: “Hi everybody! I’m deleting a tweet so I can be super clear about tomorrow’s rally in Virginia. The Lobby Day protest is and has traditionally been a gun rights rally, but white nationalists, including militant group The Base, have been planning violent action at the event.”
Now, we’ve covered The Base members’ arrests. I’m not going to lie, these people scare the hell out of me and I want nothing to do with them or their warped perception of both race and the world in general.
The same is true of most gun rights advocates, truth be told.
Of course, if it was just Collins, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Oh, I’d probably write up a story about it, slap him around for a bit because of it, and then go about my day.
But it’s not. It’s not just one person, but a push by the media in general to paint all of us as having some close ties with white supremacists.
For example, the Daily Mail uses this headline: “Richmond on high alert as white supremacists, a ‘no-compromise’ gun lobby and anti-government groups head to Virginia pro firearms rally – but militia leader insists ‘we aren’t a threat’”
By leading with “white supremacists,” the Mail is able to imply that the lion’s share of attendees are racists. They know a lot of people read and share stories with only a cursory inspection of the post, if that, so why put that in the lead unless you wanted to give that impression?
At least USA Today waited until the first paragraph to paint us all as racist.
Thousands of gun owners, many of them armed and some members of out-of-state militias and hate groups, plan to descend on Richmond on Monday amid a fierce battle over Virginia’s gun laws.
Of course, it’s possible that I’m overly sensitive on this topic. I’m tired of being labeled a racist because I happen to think every American regardless of race has a right to protect themselves.
On the other hand, though, the truth is that we continue to see our numbers listed along with these people as if we’re somehow fellow travelers. We’re not. I absolutely despise everything these people stand for when it comes to race, to say nothing on a whole litany of other issues. I honestly don’t care if they support gun rights, their other views are so abhorrent that I want nothing to do with them.
However, I should note that not all of the media is trying to spin things with their headlines or opening.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch did things a little differently. Their headline reads: “As gun-rights supporters plan peaceful rally in Richmond, state warns extremists could pose threat.”
That’s far more reflective of the reality than what we’ve seen from others in the media.
It’s also why it’s imperative that we remember this and take steps not to give them anything they can use against us. Watch your step so that you don’t feed the beast trying to help take our rights away.