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Sunday, August 18, 2019
MRC After The Shootings: Still Defending Guns (But Blaming Hollywood For Putting Guns In Movies)
Topic: Media Research Center

We've highlighted the various ways the Media Research Center pushed a conservative narrative in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, with an emphasis on protecting President Trump and pushing distractions. There was another component as well: attacking anyone who brought up the idea of increased gun regulation.

Curtis Houck howled "DIABOLICAL" in a headline about how CNN guests "slammed the National Rifle Association (NRA) as seemingly the one group that’s anthetical to keeping Americans safe." Houck hurled childish insults at anyone who didn't stick with the right-wing pro-gun narrative, "arrogant," "smug," and "deranged" among them, and huffing that one guest either didn't know or care "about why the Founders didn’t go with direct democracy."

Houck's excessive rhetorical flourishes continued in another post in which he accused CNN guests of engaging in "a nearly 14-minute-long beatdown of political commentator David Urban, who was the lone conservative panelist. Houck went even farther on his personal Twitter account, actually claiming that Urban was a victim of "rhetoric[al] waterboarding."

Famous people who said something about guns were a big target. Gabriel Hays bashed "Hollywood leftists" for having an opinion on the shootings -- making sure to get in the talking point that the Dayton shooter was "a self-described "leftist" who supported ANTIFA violence and Elizabeth Warren's bid for the presidency"  -- then went after country music artists who spoke out, sneering that "aspiring activists should be called to propose something constructive, rather than just, 'Oh, my gosh! FIX IT!'"

In the same vein, Aiden Jackson went off on late-night hosts who advocated stricter gun laws, right down to invoking the rote talking point that everyone in the media and doesn't adhere to right-wing narratives is an "elitist": "It is easy for elitist members of the media, with personal security guards, to demonize those who have to take their safety into their own hands." Amnd it's easy for conservativeslike Jackson, in their right-wing media bubble, to demonize all who disagree with them. Jackson later attacked "The Daily Show" for making a video game about moving a gun-restriction law through Congress that's a parody of first-person shooter games, huffing that it was "gauche" and "virtue-signaling." But isn't Jackson virtue-signaling by attacking anyone who criticizes guns?

Nicholas Fondacaro ranted about the townhall CNN aired after the shootings, attacking it in advance as a "anti-gun show trial" that would "emotionally exploit grieving families"and rehashing his rage at a post-Parkland townhall CNN aired.AFterwards, Fondacaro robotically called it a "show trial" again, complaining that host Chris Cuomo "lashed out at the National Rifle Association for not subjecting themselves to the hate and rhetorical torture session they were treated to at the Parkland shootingtown hall last year." Which can also be interpreted as the NRA's refusal to leave the conservative media bubble where it knows the MRC and its media allies will ever say an unkind word about it.

Houck kept up the "show trial" narrative after the townhall, declaring it to be "just as hideously horrible as one could have predicted when it came to promoting gun control and confiscation in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings."

And Jorge Plaza argued that the real problem isn't guns but movies that have guns in them:

On August 4th, two horrific shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shocked the nation. Americans from coast to coast were nonplused that such atrocious acts could be committed by their compatriots, and unfortunately, many are already using these events as political clubs to beat the drum for gun control. They scapegoat guns as the root issue, ignoring the possible cultural influences. 

On the same weekend of the shootings, the gun-touting film Hobbs & Shaw from the Fast & Furious series surged to the top of the box office, breaking $60 million in its first weekend. In the movie’s three official trailers, a gun flashed on screen a total of 106 times. According to, the movie features 19 guns that the New York Post would classify as “weapons of war” -- that is, any gun that is not a handgun.


Mentally sound adults understand the line between fantasy and reality. The shallow enjoyment we derive from watching a bunch of guns firing on screen is easily distinguished from its real life counterpart. It’s difficult to say the same for people of unsound mind, and perhaps it would not be completely out of line to say that our viewing enjoyment may influence mentally ill people that commit mass shootings. It’s possible that sadistic psychopaths come to the conclusion that shooting people in real life is as fun as in the movies.  

Nevertheless, there should at least be a mourning period before the media goes off to politicize a tragedy. Have the decency to let the dead rest in peace before you stand on their graves to push your political agenda.

As if Plaza and the rest of the MRC were not also politicizing a tragedy in their vociferous defense of Trump and guns.

Finally, Geoffrey Dickens served up yet another of the MRC's dubious "studies," this one claiming that "the networks filled their morning show programs with statements favoring gun control over gun rights by a ratio of roughly 17 to 1." As usual, no methodology or raw data was provided so that readers could see how the MRC arrived at its conclusions. Ironically, Dicken's piece is illustrated with a screen shot of a "CBS This Morning" host holding up a pro-restriction front page cover from ... the New York Post, which is most definitely part of the "liberal media." Yet we don't recall the MRC going after the Post for that headline.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:00 PM EDT

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