When I saw this news piece and confirmed it wasn’t a satire, my next thought was “Gun porn”.
Hmm, is CBS News investigating those traumatizing and soul-crippling images of scantily clad women holding guns?”
You know, like this one (WARNING: heavy metal music). And this one (video below), and this one. Was it a slow news day?
The truth was far more serious. CBS46, the Atlanta CBS TV affiliate, had uncovered a new and terrifying threat hiding in plain sight in, of all places, Atlanta’s neighborhood grocery stores. Quick, hide the women and children! Yes, this story was CBS News’s attempt to amp up the culture war against gun owners by trying to convince the citizens, not of Manhattan or West L.A., but Atlanta—Atlanta!—that gun hobby magazines now fall under the category of pornography.
I wish Los Angeles pols would put guns in the same category as porn. Then overnight every Angeleno would be armed to the teeth. But I digress. Let’s get to the laughs.
CBS46 [hack] reporter on the street Karyn Green helpfully informs viewers “Gun porn is described [she doesn’t tell us by whom] as photos of guns that describe them in the same carefully posed and lighted manner as the models [dramatic pause] in traditional pornography [emphasis added for effect].” O.M.G.
Green interviewed passersby on the street for their reactions. One 30ish African American man observed “Some people may get really excited about this stuff, but I think it’s their right.” An African American woman of about the same age seemed frightened: “Gun violence is what popped into my head. This is scary.”
A Caucasian man evidently in his early twenties had a more scattered view: “Say the mom is buying milk or whatever…the kids, you know, on the next aisle over having this [looks at some gun magazines in his hand, a TV prop] where they can just rifle through is a little bit…[sniffs]…ya know…[trails off].
With a straight face, Green breathlessly tells viewers CBS46 investigators “went undercover to Publix, Kroger, and Wal Mart [camera shows tabloid style black and white photos of these store fronts] to find gun magazines.” They found “15 gun magazines at eye level and easily accessible to children.”
So far there’s no media commentary on how this hoplophobic message is received in the suburbs of Atlanta or pretty much anywhere else in the broadcast range of CBS46. It must be a good laugh for the folks out in Kennesaw, who like their guns so much they passed an ordinance in 1982 requiring every household to have at least one, ammunition included.
To observers of the gun rights political struggle this crazy-funny faux news item is of a piece with other mind-manipulating propaganda pushed by gun prohibitionists. It draws on concepts cynically put forth in the infamous Gun Control Playbook we dissected in a previous blog post. The “Key Messaging Principles”, according to the PR flacks who wrote it, include:
Principle #1 – “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments…”.
Principle #2 – is “Tell stories with images and feelings.” Kind of like showing magazine covers with techy-looking black rifles that scare certain fragile urban dwellers.
Another possibility is that CBS46 investigators borrowed a page from their gun grabbing activist neighbors down the street at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Past CDC officials have vividly described their culture war strategies—“We’re going to systematically build a case that owning firearms causes deaths. We’re doing the most we can do, given the political realities.” (P.W. O’Carroll, MD, past Acting Section Head of Division of Injury Control, CDC). And his successor Dr. Mark Rosenberg carried on the tradition, having been quoted in the Washington Post as wanting his agency [the CDC] to create a public perception of firearms as “dirty, deadly—and banned.” Dirty and banned like pornography, it seems.
As a straight news piece, “Gun Porn” seems not to have made much impact. Expecting a torrent of tweets both pro and con, I checked CBS’s prominently displayed hashtag #GunFightCBS46. As of this writing, I see 8 tweets, 5 of them all generated by the station itself, lets help them out and tweet them your thoughts on this. So hurry to check it out & leave a comment before this comedy gold fades into the flotsam of another news cycle.
—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. www.drgo.us