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The Gun Defenders At CNS

Following in the footsteps of its Media Research Center parent, spent its time following a rash of gun massacres trying to defend guns and deflecting criticism of the right-wing-beloved race-oriented replacement theory.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/12/2022

Like its Media Research Center parent, followed the right-wing playbook in distracting from a rash of gun massacres this year by embracing the usual talking points in defending guns. The first order of business following May's gun massacre at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, however, was to deal with a conspiracy theory it shared with the shooter.

And like the MRC, CNS was promoting the right-wing replacement theory well before the Buffalo supermarket shooter invoked it. ConWebWatch has already noted how CNS hyped its favorite group of right-wing rabbis, the Coalition for Jewish Values, defending Fox News host Tucker Carlson's embrace of replacement theory, but there are other pre-massacre examples as well:

  • CNS published a May 2021 column by Michelle Malkin ranting against foreigners being allowed to live in the U.S.: "The numbers don't lie. Replacement theory isn't a theory. It's a grim reality."
  • A September 2021 column by anti-critical race theory obsessive Christopher Rufo complained that reporting showed that "are a 'backlash' against 'rapid demographic change' and “the exposure of white students to students of color" and that "fear of 'white replacement' and the desire to 'protect whiteness' motivate the anti-critical race theory movement" -- which he insisted was "nonsense" because "Americans have moved past the politics of the 1960s. They are tolerant, integrated, and in agreement that malicious racial theories of all kinds should stay out of the classroom."
  • A December 2021 column by Pat Buchanan cheered anti-immigration sentiment in France stirred up by activists like Eric Zemmour and Renaud Camus: "The English translation of Camus' book is entitled, 'You Will Not Replace Us!' Growing numbers of Western peoples appear to fear exactly what it is that Zemmour and Camus say they fear."

After the shooting, CNS was -- again, like the MRC -- in full deflection mode and desperate to try and change the subject, as in this May 17 article by Susan Jones:

The effort to squelch conservative speech continues in this country, as liberals and leftists try to demonize Republicans and conservatives with the "white supremacy" label, especially those who object to President Biden's wide-open border, which appears to be a political liability for Democrats.

"Replacement theory," apparently espoused by the racist Buffalo gunman in his "manifesto," is the most recent attempt to make Republicans/conservatives shut up about the rising tide of illegal immigration and the country's changing demographics.

Murphy, appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," was asked to comment on "this obsession with white supremacy and the replacement theory, this racist replacement theory," as guest Eugene Daniels phrased it.


On Sunday, The New York Times reported that "replacement theory" exists at "the extremes of American life...the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to 'replace' and disempower white Americans."

The report said the theory "has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence" [and prompted Joe Biden to run for president].

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is a frequent target of leftists who want to topple him from his prominent cable news platform for various reasons, including his blunt criticism of President Biden's immigration policies.

Jones then uncritically transcribed Carlson spouting replacement theory, as if she thought that would help. She also didn't mention that replacement theory had previously been promoted on the pages of CNS.

The same day, Melanie Arter complained that "President Biden called on Americans to reject the so-called replacement theory in the wake of the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., that claimed the lives of 10 people and injured three more."

Jones also complained in a separate article that Biden was going to Buffalo and defended the theory without using its name (while also complaining that some critics wouldn't mention Fox News by name):

As some leftist pundits on cable television blame a rival conservative-leaning network for promoting racist "conspiracy theories," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday refused to name names -- even when the reporter did.

Note that in Jones' world, the critics are "leftist" while Fox News is merely "conservative-leaning."

Jones returned on May 18 to complain that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer called out Carlson's replacement theory obsession and wouldn't fall for an in-person Fox News ambush, then followed its MRC parent in pulling the ol' switcheroo to blame Democrats for the theory:

Instead of blaming the very troubled teenager who opened fire on shoppers in Buffalo, deliberately targeting them because of their race; and instead of blaming the adults who knew there was something wrong with the kid but failed to get him help; the top Democrat in Congress instead is blaming Fox News and, implicitly, Tucker Carlson for the violence.

In a letter to Fox News obtained by liberal media outlets, Schumer implored Fox News "to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theories on your network."

Schumer specifically mentions the "great replacement theory" mentioned on some Fox broadcasts.


Hours before Carlson's show aired, Schumer tweeted: ".@TuckerCarlson invited me on his show tonight to debate the letter I sent to @FoxNews. I'm declining. Tucker Carlson needs to stop promoting the racist, dangerous ‘Replacement Theory’."

Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night noted that Americans are suddenly hearing a lot about the "great replacement theory" -- which actually figures in Democrat politics, he noted, as Democrats seek to cement their political power by flooding the country with illegal immigrants who are presumed to be future Democrat voters.

Carlson played video snippets of various Democrats, including Joe Biden in 2015, touting -- actually celebrating -- a white minority USA.

"So you can play clips of them saying it, and you're the deranged conspiracy nut!" Carlson said.

Jones didn't mention that making note of demographic changes that might benefit Democrats and accusing Democrats of perpetrating an evil conspiracy to replace white people with swarthy foreigners, as Carlson and other Fox Newsers have been doing, are two separate things.

A May 19 article by Craig Bannister helped scandal-tarred lawyer Alan Dershowitz play whataboutism over the massacre by criticizing Democrats and non-white people, declaring that he said that "Biden needs to take the next – and more difficult – step, by going to other cities and calling on Black leaders to denounce Black-on-Asian and Black-on-Jewish crime" and "In particular, Biden should also call out radical Democrats in Congress, like those who call themselves 'The Squad,' who represent 'bigotry, anti-Semitism and racism.'"

CNS also used columnists to help promote the switcheroo argument. Ben Shapiro insisted that right-wingers' concern about swarthy foreigners replacing white people "is not the great replacement theory, which centers on racial purity rather than the idea that changing demographics have an effect on political orientation." And dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue ranted: "If these progressive members of the ruling class were better educated, they would know that the origins of 'replacement theory' can be traced to the ruling class members of the Progressive Era, people just like themselves, not with right-wing nuts."

Uvalde massacre defense mode

CNS went into defense mode after the gun massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. A May 25 article by Jones grumbled about President Biden's remarks following the shooting:

The president blamed the "gun lobby," the reflexive response of people who believe gun bans are the solution. There was no mention of hardening schools with metal detectors or other serious security measures used to prevent mass shootings at airports, government buildings, even museums.

Jones went on to gush that Fox News host Laura Ingraham "made the point that 51 people were shot and killed in Chicago, just in the month of April." By contrast, another article by Jones that day praised Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for reliably spouting the gun lobby's post-massacre talking points:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Lt.-Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox News in separate interviews on Tuesday that one way to minimize school shootings is to "harden the targets."


Paxton said "absolutely" it's possible to arm teachers: "That's something that should be done. They are the ones on the ground. They are right there.

"If we're going to save these kids and stop mass shootings from occurring, we have to have people that are prepared and trained to react appropriately and quickly with urgency, because we just don't have the resources to get law enforcement there quickly. This has to be part of the solution."

Yet another "news" article by Jones that day cited a "bitter screed" by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough calling for increased gun regulation, then tried to reframe the massacre to distract from the fact that the shooter was heavily armed: "The 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at an Uvalde, Texas elementary school came from a broken home. He reportedly shot and seriously wounded his grandmother, with whom he was living, before acting out the veiled threats he made on social media."

Craig Bannister served as stenographer for an anti-abortion fanatic, writing that "'It’s totally despicable' for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to try to justify the mass slaughter of millions of unborn babies by vilifying Second Amendment supporters, pro-life advocate and Live Action Founder Lila Rose said Wednesday." Another Bannister article hyped pro-gun zealot Dana Loesch claiming that "Instead of blaming legal gun owners, Democrats should be looking at the influences that shaped the individual who was personally responsible for the shooting."

Like its MRC parent, CNS lashed out Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke for channeling anger over the massacre during a press briefing led by his Republican opponent, Gov. Greg Abbott; a May 25 article by Melanie Arter was headlined "Democrat Beto O’Rourke Interrupts Gov. Abbott’s Press Conference on School Shooting to Make a Political Statement." Of course, CNS has never accused anyone spouting pro-gun talking points of making political statements.

The next day, Arter gave a platform to a Republican senator to uncritically spout more gun lobby talking points:

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo” on Wednesday that it’s “not acceptable” to say that the 18-year-old Uvalde school shooter is going to “wipe out gun ownership across the country” for “responsible gun owners.”

“We all have incredible grief in this. Let me first say thank you to folks in the Border Patrol community and the local law enforcement that responded incredibly rapidly in this situation to be able to engage the challenges of how you deal with a needle in a haystack at this point,” the senator said.

“There are millions and millions of gun owners in America, and to be able to say this one 18-year-old is now going to wipe out gun ownership across the country is absolutely not acceptable for the responsible gun owners that are out there that are trying to identify why this 18-year-old went and buys guns for his 18th birthday, shoots his grandmother, and then goes to elementary school and kills 7-year-olds. He’s irrational and unthinkable in so many ways,” he added.

By contrast, a May 26 article by Jones highlighting Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin's call for a "good faith invitation" to Republicans to discuss gun regulation injected other viewpoints and much editoralizing. Jones sneered that Durbin "didn't say" that he supports "an 'assault' weapons ban" and added that "the National Rifle Association does oppose the two Democrat bills" regarding gun regulation.

More deflection came in a May 26 article by Bannister touting how "former NFL safety-turned-evangelist" Jack Brewer declared that "a godless upbringing, combined with the influence of media and godless teachers, has left the minds of children – like the Uvalde shooter – confused" and "embracing sin." Contrast that uncritical treatment with his hostile response later that day to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer pointing out how Republicans refuse to do anything about gun violence:

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) used the deadly Uvalde, Texas shooting to repeatedly vilify Make-America-Great-Again (“MAGA”) Republicans, in a Senate speech pitching his "Domestic Terrorism Protection Act" on Thursday.

“No amount of bloodshed seems to be enough for MAGA Republicans,” Schumer said, adding that Americans are sick of hearing “the same string of hollow words from the MAGA Republicans that never lead to action.”

“MAGA Republicans don't want to get the results,” Schumer claimed. He smeared MAGA Republicans again while praising Texas Democrat gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke for interrupting a press conference by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott:

Bannister did not disprove anything Schumer said, making it impossible for him to claim there was any sort of "smear."

Arter returned to stenography mode with a May 26 article parroting a Republican congressman's claim that "The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (HR 8), which Democrats are demanding that the Senate pass, would not have stopped the Uvalde school shooter from purchasing weapons." Another article that day from intern Stephanie Samsel hyped right-wing radio host Mark Levin ranting that an NBA coach was a "moron" and "derelict" for having an opinion about the massacre that didn't agree with his.

CNS also made sure to hype claims that police on the scene did little to stop the shooter while the massacre was going on in another apparent attempt to shift blame away from guns:

Meanwhile, Arter was in stenography mode again. In a May 27 article, she let the mayor of Uvalde play politics by requesting that the government spend money on mental health instead of "sending billions of dollars to countries 'that don’t even like us,'" while being silent on the fact that the previous month, Texas Gov. Abbott cut $211 miliion in funding to the agency that oversees the state's mental health programs. And she wrote what was essentially a press release for the gun lobby in a May 28 article:

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre addressed the Uvalde school shooting at the group’s national convention in Houston, Texas, on Friday, saying that restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms is not the answer to gun violence.


“There are absolutely certain things we can and must do. Where we part ways with the president and those in his party is on the policy question, and what we can and should do to prevent the hate-filled vile monsters who walk among us from committing their evil. Restricting the fundamental human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been,” he said.

“Each year, over 1 million law-abiding men and women use a firearm to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. That is over 1 million innocent Americans every year who owe their lives and the lives of their loved ones to their 2nd Amendment rights. Taking away their right to self-defense is not the answer, but there are certain common sense things we can and we must do,” LaPierre said.

“We need to protect our schools, because our children deserve at least and in fact more protection than our banks, stadiums, and government buildings. They are our most treasured and precious resource, and they deserve safety and protection,” he said.

Arter stayed in stenography mode for a May 31 article in which she uncritically transcribed a Republican congresswoman blaming single-parent families for the massacre. A June 2 article by Jenny Olohan promoted Ingraham's baseless conspiracy theory that the shooter's marijuana use caused the massacre. And Bannister gushed that day how "In May, U.S. firearm sales surpassed one million for a record 34th straight month, as Americans sought protection from mass shootings - as well as from politicians pushing for more laws infringing on citizens’ gun rights," apparently obvious to the fact that the right-wing "more guns, less crime" trope has failed.

Highland Park massacre

After the gun massacre at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., CNS' first reaction was a July 6 "news" article by Jones seemingly mocking Biden for visiting previous massacre sites while not immediately rushing to this one, while also emphasizing that each massacre was perpetrated by a "troubled young white man" (who just happened to have access to guns):

President Biden made time to visit Buffalo, New York on May 17, three days after a troubled young white man targeted black grocery shoppers, killing 10 people. During his visit, Biden described "white supremacy" as a "poison running through our body politic."

Twelve days after Buffalo, Biden visited Uvalde, Texas, the scene of another horrific massacre on May 24 by another troubled young white man who gunned down 19 children and two teachers in their classroom.

President Biden told reporters yesterday, in an offhand remark, he's "not sure" if he'll go to the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, where yet another troubled young white man killed seven people and injured many more when he fired into a July 4th parade from a rooftop on Monday.

Biden's White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked on Tuesday if Biden will visit Highland Park. She didn't know:
Later that day, Jones reported that Vice President Kamala Harris did go to Highland Park, cherry-picking for the headline a statement made to sound somewhat dumb out of context ("this experience is something that is going to linger in terms of the trauma") and sneering that "Harris had already planned to be in Chicago on Tuesday to address the National Education Association. Highland Park is a Chicago suburb."

The next day, intern Ben Kelley emphasized that the shooter "passed four background checks when purchasing firearms despite being flagged as a 'clear and present danger' in 2019," in another apparent attempt to deflect from guns. That was the last "news" article CNS devoted to the Highland Park massacre.

Blaming everything but guns

CNS' opinion side followed the bias of its "news" side in pushing pro-gun narratives. Bill Donohue kicked off the stream of deflection in his May 26 column:

The ruling class, especially the media, are consumed with race and guns in America, yet the mass shootings in Uvalde, Tex. and Buffalo, like those in Dayton and El Paso in 2019, have little to do with either. It is not as though there aren't some common causes, threads of behavior that link all mass shootings. There are. But the media are looking in all the wrong places, thus providing the wrong diagnosis. This, in turn, ensures the wrong remedies.

There are five major reasons why we have mass shootings: the killer is asocial, he comes from a seriously dysfunctional family, he has mental issues, he is fascinated by violence, and red flags were ignored by almost everyone.


We need to encourage people to come forward and to act on red flags. We also need to get to these young men early on and not pretend that they are simply eccentric. Most of all, we need policies and laws that strengthen the family, paying special attention to the needs of young men.

Woman-hating men's rights activist Edward E. Bartlett devoted his May 30 column to, yes, blaming women for the massacre:

So what has happened in our culture that teenage boys have been marginalized to the point of losing their vision of a better future? When I look at the listing of student clubs at my local high school, I see Young Women in Engineering, Chicas Poderosas (“Powerful Girls”), and several clubs for LGBT students, African-Americans, and Muslims.

But nothing for boys.

Which points to the much broader problem that is referred to as the “Boy Crisis.” This term captures the undeniable fact that males are lagging in virtually every arena of society. In college, for example, 59.5% of students are women, while only 40.5% are men. In health care, the Department of Health and Human Services, where I used to work, sponsors multiple separate offices of women’s health.

And no offices of men’s health.

So why hasn’t anyone sounded the alarm? Much of the problem can be traced to the feminist movement that has spawned a pervasive “female-as-victim” narrative. This narrative neutralizes virtually every attempt to draw attention to the plight of boys and men.

A June 1 column by CNS editor Terry Jeffrey touted how John Adams talked about "morality, religion and God" in the first presidential address inside the Capitol, adding:

What would John Adams think if he were told about the recent mass murders in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas? Would he think they were manifestations of a gun problem in America or a moral problem?

To pass the American tradition of freedom down to future generations we must also pass down the moral and religious foundations needed to sustain it.

A June 2 column by R. Emmett Tyrrell also wanted to distract from guns:

Possibly some people are going, in light of these shocking events, to conclude that America is confronted with something far more serious even than gun violence. They are right. We are confronted with living in a violent culture. No one ever mentions it, but we are. I seldom watch television. I watch the evening news, and that is about all. But even in watching the evening news, I see trailers for astoundingly coarse shows that are thought to be entertainments. Recently, I saw a man put a revolver to another man's head. After that, I lost interest. Who knows what happened? I saw monstrous vehicles running down pedestrians; I guess they were pedestrians. I saw monstrous monsters. The world of Televisionland is inhabited by the monstrous and the fanciful.

It is hard to believe that ordinary Americans come home from work, turn on the television, and sink in with an evening of mayhem and madness, but apparently, they do. No wonder so many people have so much trouble sleeping. Then there is the rock music, the talk shows, the game shows, and the weather reports. No, I am only joking about the weather reports, but I have no doubts that the day will come when inclement weather will be reported with genuine thunder, pouring rain, lightning across the screen, and tornados on a particularly blusterous day.


These solitary gunmen are the symptom of something far more pervasive than gun violence. The bearers of our culture — you and me and the loudmouthed politicians now denouncing guns — have got to rid our culture of coarseness and violence. It will not happen.

A June 3 column by white nationalist-adjacent Ilana Mercer (also posted at WorldNetDaily) lashed out at schools themselves for promoting "anti-white racism":

The Stupid Party says, "Just arm the teachers." You want to train and arm teachers and faculty staff members to protect your kids? Have you seen what falls under the category "teacher" and faculty? Seen the people who zealously inculcate ungrammatical pronoun illiteracy? Who promote and further entrench systemic anti-white racism and exotic age-inappropriate sexuality? Have you seen these mountains of flesh videoing themselves gyrating obscenely, sexual exhibitionists in flagrante delicto, under whose tutelage “sexual curiosities, once called perversions, flourish”? Give guns to the same "dedicated" pedagogues who took two years off for COVID?

Get your kids the hell out of U.S. schools!

American schools, incidentally, are well capitalized. They have active-shooter training and security protocols in place. What they don't have is decent human capital.

Decades of feminization, emasculation, and preferential hiring account for America’s low-intelligence, self-serving work force. This malevolent matriarchy-in-the-making increasingly lacks the higher-order capacity for altruism and heroism.

Catholic priest-turned-right-wing activist Michael Orsi deflected as well in a June 13 column:

These slaughters always raise the same questions: Why do such tragedies occur? Were there no warning signs which someone might have spotted? How did security procedures fail so miserably?

And they bring forth the same proposed solutions: Provide better mental health services so troubled individuals can receive help. Keep those individuals from getting their hands on guns. Ban guns altogether.

Then, following the principle of never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste, they bring forth legislation to increase funding of favorite government programs, and expand bureaucratic regulation of our lives.

The questions may or may not be relevant to the problem. The proposed solutions may or may not do any good. But they never quite get to the heart of the matter: evil.


The problem isn’t guns; it’s godlessness.

You think taking away guns will make society less violent, more humane? Good luck with that.

No mention, of course, of the inconvenient fact that the shooter couldn't have killed that many kids in that short of time if he didn't have a gun.

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