More Gun Deflections From The MRC
How else did the Media Research Center try to distract from gun violence? Quibbling over the definition of a mass shooting, lashing out at Beto O'Rourke and rejecting Matthew McConaughey's unity message, among other things.
By Terry Krepel
As the number of gun massacres has mounted over the summer, the Media Research Center rushed to defend guns, as its right-wing ideology dictated it must. It has done other things as well.
One way the MRC has been lamely fighting back is through quibbling over the definition of what a mass shooting is. Nicholas Fondacaro -- who has falsely smeared as liars anyone who failed to use his very narrow definition of a mass shooting -- was at it again in an April 18 post:
Following a weekend of multiple “mass shootings,” the liberal media rushed to exploit the dead to push their demands for increasingly-unpopular gun control legislation. Part of their efforts to scare people into giving up their Second Amendment rights was to parrot a dubious analysis that claimed there have been between 130-148 mass shootings so far this year.
Fondacaro didn't explain exactly why that methodology is so "peculiar," beyond making his side look bad. So he called out a fellow pro-gun activist (and former MRC employee) to nitpick that tally away and push a stricter, more right-wing-friendly definition:
NewsBusters reached out to the founder of The Reload, Stephen Gutowski to get an understanding of where this definition of “mass shooting” GVA uses came from. He says it was “popularized by gun-control activists on Reddit” and it “increases the number of mass shootings by a factor of ten or more.”
As NewsBusters laid out on Monday, the “mass shooting” statistics peddled by the Gun Violence Archive are objectively misleading according to mass killings researchers and gun experts. But the truth wasn’t reached for comment on struggling CNN+ and Reliable Sources Daily on Tuesday and host Brian Stelter demanded that the media push the false statistic that there have been “145 mass shootings in the U.S. already this year.”
Fondacaro is lying. The GVA number is not "ambiguous"; it's quite clearly defined. Still he whined that "GVA admits to intentionally stripping out the context," though he didn't explain why context matters. People aren't any less dead because he demands their deaths be counted differently.
After the Buffalo grocery store shooting in May, Kevin Tober wildly escalated the inflammatory rhetoric in a May 16 post, linking back to Fondacaro's posts and declaring that anyone who didn't agree with the MRC's narrow mass-shooting definition is lying:
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell began and ended her broadcast by lying and pushing her leftist gun control agenda in the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday.
Again: The number is not a lie, let alone the "easily debunked lie in order to scare viewers into giving up their Second Amendment rights" Tober called it later in his item. Tober is the liar here.
After the mass shooting of schoolchildren in an elementary school in Texas, Tober played his desperate deflection game again in a May 24 post:
The bodies weren't even cold after the heartbreaking mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which eighteen elementary school children and one teacher were killed when NBC Nightly News decided to spread misinformation about the number of mass shootings in the United States this year.
Good question from Tober, but aimed at the wrong people. Why won't the MRC report every mass shooting? Why does it fall to other non-right-wing media outlets to have to report them? And shouldn't Tober be the one who should be ashamed of spreading lies about legitimate and clearly defined statistics solely because they make his political side look bad?
Fondacaro spent part of a May 25 post ranting at "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg for saying that "We are 145 days into the year, and there have already been 212 mass shootings in America," huffing: "NewsBusters has already debunked the GVA’s deceptive methodology." Again, the only deception happening here is Fondacaro trying to falsely discredit numbers he doesn't like.
Curtis Houck served up a June 6 post complaining once again that the GVA's numbers made guns look bad:
On the Monday morning broadcast network newscasts, ABC, CBS, and NBC continued to promote the inflated definition of mass shootings from the Gun Violence Archive in light of weekend shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, claiming there were 13 weekend mass shootings. And, worse yet, they absolved far-left cities and prosecutors from being a reason for spikes in crime.
The MRC, of course, can't have that kind of increase, so it attacks the numbers.
After the Independence Day gun massacre in Highland Park, Ill., Emma Schultz claimed in a July 6 post that CNN's Laura Coates "introduced fabricated data from the anti-gun rights Gun Violence Archive to back up her opinions stating that “there have been 319 mass shootings just this year and 17 in the first four days of July.” Nope, Emma, those numbers aren't "fabricated" all all, regardless of what your ideology tells you.
When Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke confronted Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott following the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, and accurately pointed out that he was "doing nothing" to prevent further mass shootings, the MRC quickly pivoted to attack O'Rourke and anyone who noted the accuracy of his remarks. Alex Christy kicked off the whining:
After Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke made a fool of himself by selfishly interrupting the Wednesday press conference where Texas officials updated the public on the Uvalde school shooting, MSNBC’s Katy Tur declared the officials were wrong, because it is partisan and Chuck Todd added Republicans should be aware that they live in a glass house.
Christy also claimed that "Tur also falsely added that AR-15s are designed for war." In fact, they were.
Houck nonsensically used O'Rourke's real first name in an attempt to dismiss him as a "failed presidential candidate":
Wednesday afternoon’s press conference on the Uvalde, Texas school shooting descended into shenanigans during what should have been a solemn occasion to update the public on the investigation when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert O’Rourke heckled Governor Greg Abbott (R) and other elected officials, blaming them for the murder of 19 children and two teachers. Naturally, the broadcast networks refused to speak out against O’Rourke’s antics and barely acknowledged O’Rourke’s party ID.
We don't recall Houck ever calling Ted Cruz by his real first name, Rafael.
Christy returned to whine that late-night TV hosts "praise[d] Beto O’Rourke’s stunt in the push for gun control. P.J. Gladnick thought it was a big deal that a reporter admitted that O'Rourke's interruption of Abbott was planned (as if that has never happened in politics) and also insisted on using his first name:
On Wednesday, just as a press conference about the tragic school shooting in Uvalde featuring Texas Governor Gregg Abbot was commencing, it was rudely interrupted by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Francis O'Rourke who attempted to upstage the event. Was this a highly inappropriate political stunt by a losing candidate? Well, according to CBS reporter Janet Shamlian it was "very clearly staged" by the O'Rourke campaign.
Michael Ippolito, meanwhile, melted down over Teen Vogue defending O'Rourke:
Following the horrific shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott (R) held a press conference Wednesday that provided details about the deadly shooting. As important information was being discussed, Beto strode to the front of the audience and interrupted Governor Abbott bawling that the mass shooting was his fault.
Days after the incident, Clay Waters was still whining about O'Rourke in a June 5 post:
It looks like Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s run to unseat Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will be greeted with the same partisan enthusiasm by the New York Times that it showed when O’Rourke failed to knock off conservative Sen. Ted Cruz despite massive out-of-state help in 2018.
Waters went on to sneer, "His talk of confiscating your AR-15 doesn't sound so tone-deaf any more?" and denied that O'Rourke's anger was "resonating" in the state. On the other hand, if it wasn't resonating, the MRC would not have devoted so much time and space to repeatedly attacking him or anyone else who's just as angry about mass shootings as he is.
The McConaughey "unity" embrace (but not for guns)
The MRC loved actor Matthew McConaughey when he at least didn't hate Donald Trump. In 2017, it cheered him as among a group of actors who "have urged accepting President Trump and moving forward." Gabriel Hays gushed in a May 2020 post: "Not all Hollywood stars are partisan hacks. Some, like Matthew McConaughey, want to see a brighter future for all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation." He then touted how McConaughey appeared on Fox News "to urge political unity between Americans in order to defeat the virus."
All that unity talk, however, did not keep the MRC from going full Gestapo on McConaughey when he said things that deviated from right-wing orthodoxy, particularly when he unity talk turned to guns. Hays lashed out at him in 2018:
According to Matthew McConaughey, assault weapons are not “alright, alright, alright.” But banning them is.
McConaughey's stance on guns was a reason Tierin-Rose Mandelburg dismissed talk of him running for Texas governor in a March 2021 post: "Oh, boy. Having a net worth of $140 million just isn’t enough for McConaughey. We may have another celebrity on the ballot in the coming future." We don't recall Mandelburg having any problem when TV celebrity Donald Trump ran for public office. Hays lashed out further at McConaughey's gun stance as a reason to oppose him as governor the following month:
Apparently Matthew McConaughey would be a popular contender against Governor Abbot (R-TX) in the upcoming gubernatorial race, but people who have a soft spot for the “nice guy” need to realize that McConaughey might not be so good for the freedom Texas prides itself on. ... Despite the nice guy appeal, Governor McConaughey would also fall right in line with Dems’ gun control ambitions.
When McConaughey spoke out about the gun massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas -- his hometown -- and argued for sensible gun regulations, the MRC went into full-blown Gestapo mode again. Wallace White ranted in a June 6 post:
After Uvalde, many Hollywood celebrities have taken it upon themselves to spout off platitudes on gun control and how everyone needs to be on board with the liberal cause. If you aren’t on board with gun-grabbing, then you are an evil person who wants children to die. Matthew McConaughey in his recent plea has taken these talking points and bubble-wrapped them under the guise of moderation.
White didn't explain why gun rights are more important than saving a person's life from the threat of an unstable armed individual.
When McConaughey appeared at a White House press briefing to make the same plea, Kevin Tober was the designated hater in a June 7 post:
On Tuesday, Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey took to the White House podium to plead for Congress to pass stricter gun control laws in the aftermath of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. As per their usual arrangement, the evening news broadcasts were more than happy to act as stenographers for the leftist agenda.
Tober didn't explain why the murder of 21 people, 19 of them children, should not warrant sensational coverage or why the MRC's rabid absolutism in ranting about even the slightest regulation of guns -- which conflicts with its earlier praise of him in calling for unity and common ground -- was not sensationalizing the issue.
In a May 26 post, Margaret Buckley whined that MSNBC's "Morning Joe" detailed what it called "The Conservative Playbook for Deflecting Anger After Mass Shootings" -- which, of course, is exactly what the MRC has been following:
New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait then joined in on the conversation with Brzezinski reading an excerpt from his article: "The Conservative Playbook for Deflecting Anger After Mass Shootings." She went on reading that through the steps of this “playbook”, Republicans attempt to “to locate solutions outside of gun control. And blame Democrats for opposing them.”
Throwing insults at those you don't agree with? Buckley just described the content of the vast majority of NewsBusters posts.
Alex Christy spent a May 27 post whining that a CNN host fact-checked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's false statements about gun violence and insisting it was unfair that he was taken literally:
While attempting to fact check Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday on his claim that there is no correlation between gun laws and gun deaths, CNN Newsroom host Alisyn Camerota failed to not only consider what Abbott actually said, but cherry-picked her statistics in an attempt to prove him wrong.
Christy offered no evidence that Abbott was speaking metaphorically or that he should be judged only by whatever his "point" allegedly was and not by what he actually said -- which is what Camerota did.
Another May 27 post by Aidan Moorehouse declared that nobody had any right to deny guns to the shooter who racked up quite the body count in a Uvalde, Texas, classroom because he passed his background check:
The shooter, tragically, passed his background check and was of age to buy a gun, and an 18-year-old buying a gun on his birthday in much the same way a 21-year-old would go to a bar would not be seen as unusual in rural Texas. Sure, it's easy for Costas to say “we know now” that the shooter was a deeply disturbed individual, but to call it insane for the gun dealer to have sold legal firearms to someone who had passed his background check is lunacy.
Just as it did after his speech following the Buffalo massacre, the MRC lashed out at President Biden again for making a speech following the Uvalde massacre, bashing news coverage of it for not spewing hate at the president like a loyal right-wing outlet would in a June 3 post by Houck:
On Friday, the “big three” broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC each led off their morning newscasts with laudatory praise for President Biden’s latest remarks calling for mass gun control, trumpeting it as “an impassioned” “urgent plea” for Republicans to capitulate to the demands of this “emotional” President.
Houck did not explain why he tagged Bruce as a "loyal Biden supporter." after all, he would never tag Peter Doocy as a "loyal Republican supporter."Buckley returned for a June 9 post to whine that people were still talking about guns:
The upcoming January 6 hearings are not the only subjects being unnecessarily dragged on and on by the liberal media. On Thursday’s edition of Morning Joe, viewers had the privilege of seeing Scarborough and friends once again continue ranting about the GOP as monsters unmoved by children killed in mass shootings.
Of course, Buckley won't make the parallel argument that if we shouldn't have gun laws because people will violate them, then abortion shouldn't be outlawed because women will still have abortions regardless. Instead, she whined further: "Viewers always get the same spiel from these people: Republicans equal bad, Republicans equal evil." Change "Republicans" to "Democrats," and you have the daily spiel put out by Buckley and the MRC.