Turn on any mainstream political TV coverage over the last few weeks and you’ll hear a familiar refrain, 90 percent of Americans support background checks as a precondition to own a gun. Any politician who disagrees is a cowardly fool pandering only to the National Rifle Association (NRA) afraid of their strong lobbying arm.
The mainstream media has been openly rooting for the passage of any form of new gun legislation in response to the tragedy in Newtown. This statistic clearly became their ticket to doing all they could to finally help get something through that do-nothing Congress.
The perfect pair of senators teamed up to push the background checks amendment in the Senate-former head of the uber-conservative Club for Growth Pat Toomey, and the NRA A+ lifetime rating Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who actually shot the President’s health care law with a gun in a campaign ad back in 2010.
Yet still, even with the perfect team pushing for it, and a supposed 90 percent of the American public on their side, the Toomey-Manchin background checks amendment failed 54-46. Five Democrats voted against the bill, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose no vote was the result of Senate procedure.
Walking off the Senate floor, Senator Max Baucus was asked to explain his no vote-he responded with one word “Montana.”
Senator Heidi Heitkamp, whose vote has turned her into a punching bag for the elites, told POLITICO the phone calls her office received on the issue went seven to one against. All while a group bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg dropped $180,000 worth of advertising into North Dakota’s media markets. So much for grassroots support.
The gun debate illustrates perfectly the open spaces vs. closed in spaces theory of American life-a concept that shows the need for a restrained federalism. Folks who live in the heartland don’t need and don’t want the same kind of regulations this country’s urbanites need and desire. The problem is that the mainstream press struggles to cover this divide, injecting their own closed-in-spaces bias since all of the major media markets are in urban areas. And while the elite bias is a highly irritating root cause of the coverage, their tactics have been equally as deplorable.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe, while usually the bastion of common-sense and centrist conventional wisdom, seemingly has a new executive producer over the past few weeks. His name? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It’s the only explanation for their public shaming of each and every Senator who voted against 90 percent of the American people and doesn’t care if terrorists have access to guns, an actual angle Joe Scarborough took on the vote.
News coverage should be better than a Maureen Dowd New York Times column, and when it relies so heavy on editorial content disguised as down the middle news analysis, or even reporting, that should scare an engaged citizen.
Here’s something important to know: the context behind the 90 percent statistic is that, according to a Washington Post poll, only 47 percent of adults identified as disappointed or angry over the vote on Toomey-Manchin, and 39 percent were very happy or relieved,. and 13 percent had no opinion.
So much for that grand sweeping consensus that every member of Congress has been hit over the head with during every press hit for the last month.
In her interview with POLITICO, Senator Heitkamp put it the best when she said, “My frustration is nothing in that bill would have prevented any one of the three very high-profile shootings that we’ve had.”
In its nature, conservatism cools the heels of liberalisms excesses-the post-Newtown gun debate is the perfect example of this. If only the media, instead of castigating conservatives, was willing to respect and make an effort to understand this point of view instead of being an embarrassingly active cheerleader for the left.