And the Aurora Propaganda Award Goes to...
The New York Daily News. Hands down.
The winning entry is an anti-Second Amendment Rights piece written in the wake of the Colorado tragedy -- one in which virtually every line contains a callow, melodramatic appeal to emotion or an outright falsehood.
The article's only saving grace, if you can call it that, is that it's mostly non-partisan, bearing the title "Blood on hands of Obama, Mitt and NRA!" This summarizes its thesis, which is that the Aurora police chief was wrong when he said that Colorado shooter James Holmes acted alone. "Standing at Holmes' side as he unleashed" his carnage, writes the paper, were Wayne LaPierre of the NRA, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and "millions of zealots," meaning supporters of the Second Amendment. And if you think that's laying it on thick, try the line following these indictments on for size: "In a vain claim of innocence, the fanatics will say Holmes is a monster and a maniac, that he fired and fired and fired as a man possessed. Each protestation clamps their fingers with his around the trigger."
But the editors then continued, writing and writing and writing as a pen possessed. Exhibiting what I'll now dub "AR-15 Derangement Syndrome," they embedded a composite picture of the weapon in their editorial with the caption, "RESTRICTED TO USE IN MOVIE THEATERS, SHOPPING MALLS, HIGH SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES[.]" Really? I think the News ought to lobby to get that law changed.
The paper, of course, correctly identifies the AR-15 (although the actual name varies depending on manufacturer) as one of the firearms Holmes wielded during his crime, but that's where its accuracy ends. The News, like someone else, labels the AR "heavy weaponry," obviously ignorant of the fact that such armaments would have to be, well, heavy.
An AR-15 weighs approximately seven and a half pounds.
Like a handgun, it is known as a "light weapon" and is in fact one of the lighter rifles in its class.
Oh, for the News's information, "heavy weaponry" would be something like a howitzer.
The News did, however, accomplish in its editorial what is no mean feat: it managed to be outshone by The New York Times. Adding some perspective to AR-15 Derangement Syndrome (ADS), the Gray Lady mentioned how Aurora shooter James Holmes also wielded a 12-gauge shotgun during his rampage and wrote, "If anything, the experts said, a shotgun in that situation might have been the most lethal, since every shell can spray a half-dozen or more pellets, each capable of killing or maiming a person." Except there's no "if" about it; in close-quarter firing against soft targets, a shotgun is a far more formidable weapon. This could be why Holmes used it before either the AR or his .40 caliber handgun.
So why all the focus on the AR-15? Its looks, which may be described as cool or menacing, depending on whether you're a gun aficionado or an ADS patient. You see, journalists watch violent Hollywood movies in which such weapons are fired fully automatic and magically never run out of ammo, and they assume that any firearm with the same appearance is a machine gun. But the AR-15s (and AK-47s) readily available to the public -- and the one possessed by Holmes -- fire only semi-automatic, just like most firearms sold today. This means that one round is released with every trigger pull.
Next, further making its case that Second Amendment supporters have blood on their hands, the News spoke of the "body count" during heinous crimes: Columbine, 13; Virginia Tech, 32; and numerous smaller shootings that claimed 3 or 4 lives.
Let's talk about body count.
On the day of Columbine, 3,332 children were murdered through abortion.
On the day of Virginia Tech, 3,332 children were murdered through abortion.
And on the day of each smaller shooting, 3,332 children were murdered through abortion.
The total is approximately 1.21 million a year.
It's clear what kind of legislation would save lives -- and it has nothing to do with gun control.
The News then punctuates its feckless commentary by proving that even five minutes of research is too much trouble for the sake of accuracy (or the editors were just lying). The paper writes, "Once, federal law would have kept Holmes' hands off a superdeadly [sic] weapon like the AR-15. In 1994, under President Bill Clinton, Congress outlawed the manufacture and possession of assault weapons, but the statute had a 10-year expiration date." This is a deceptive statement.
First, the "ban" did nothing to prevent the sale of AR-15s or any other such weapon. In fact, I was present when one was purchased, legally, in a gun store during that period. How could this be? Because the ban applied only to weapons that had certain combinations of relatively inconsequential features, such as a bayonet mount and a pistol grip, or a folding stock and a flash suppressor. You could still buy an AR-15 that was functionally the same as they had ever been.
Second, even weapons meeting the ridiculous definition the government applied were not illegal to possess or even sell, as long as they'd been manufactured prior to 1994. So the News was wrong on that count, too.
Lastly, the guns in question aren't even really "assault weapons," which had always been understood to be fully automatic firearms. What the government did was duplicitous: it redefined the term so as to include semi-automatic guns, thus giving itself a boogeyman to fight. But this redefinition was extremely narrow, so that little of substance would actually be outlawed. Thus, the government was able to make it appear to liberals that it was doing something to get dangerous "assault weapons" (a term designed to manipulate emotion) off the streets, while not denying gun owners too much of what they want, thus avoiding the latter group's full-bore wrath. It was a clever ploy: Clinton and Co. manufactured a dragon whose funeral wouldn't sway elections, slew him, and then pretended to be white knights.
So, my leftist friends, you'd been had. How does it feel to be conned by your own people?
Anyway, the New York Daily News could learn something from the Times, which at least understands the importance of subtlety in propaganda. I'd say that the News's staff had taken a stupid pill, but in their case, such medication could only yield improvement.