National Public Radio, or NPR, isn’t someone you normally trust to examine gun rights or gun rights groups. Additionally, I tend to cringe at anything winning the Pulitzer Prize anymore. Once, I saw it as a mark of good journalism, but those days tend to go by. Especially after the historically-flawed 1619 Project won a Pulitzer last year.
However, it seems that the Pulitzer committee gave NPR their first Pulitzer, and it’s for a report on the topic of gun rights.
WABE’s criminal justice reporter Lisa Hagen won a Pulitzer Prize in the audio reporting category for “No Compromise,” a podcast focused on gun rights and the Second Amendment.
Hagen, who joined the NPR stationin Atlanta in 2015, is the first reporter for the station to ever win a Pulitzer, considered one of the most prestigious journalism awards available. In fact, it’s the first Pulitzer NPR itself has ever received. (This is only the second year that the Pulitzer Prize committee has experimented with an audio category.)
The six-episode podcast released last fall explores how an activist group of brothers in Iowa who fiercely support the Second Amendment uses social media to build networks of groups that are against all regulations on gun ownership — and aren’t willing to compromise.
Hagen was part of a special Guns and America public radio reporting collaborative over two years from 2018 to 2020. She worked on the project with reporters from other NPR stations in the country: Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little.
If the group of brothers sounds kind of familiar, they’re talking about the Dorr brothers, who I’ve been very critical of as well.
Basically, NPR simply explored much of what we already knew about the brothers. They claim to be “no compromise” and blast other gun rights groups for not being pure enough, but then do almost nothing to really advance gun rights. They hold a couple of rallies and beg for a lot of money and that’s about it.
While rallies can be helpful, they’re not enough on their own.
NPR basically showed who these guys really are.
Unfortunately, though, my concern is that people will take the Dorr brothers as typical gun rights supporters rather than the grifters they truly are. They’re not.
Look, I know they don’t care for me too much and the feeling is mutual. Yet they’re loud and getting a lot of attention, which is something that could be good for gun rights. The problem is that many are looking at how the Dorr brothers conduct business or how they blast everyone for not going enough and completely ignore how effective those groups actually are when compared to the Dorr-led groups.
That said, I’m not convinced the NPR report or the Pulitzer win actually matters all that much. The people who follow NPR tend not to be inclined to support gun rights in the first place. People who care about Pulitzer wins aren’t either.
Still, it’s interesting how the Pulitzer committee decided to award a prize to a report that highlights the sketchiest gun rights group out there.