Joe Parker October 17, 2013 COMM 1500 Term Paper A vast

Joe Parker
October 17, 2013
COMM 1500
Term Paper
A vast number of people learn about current events such as the gun control
debate through the news and other media outlets. Sadly, the news has become
famous for reporting false information in order to sway their viewer’s opinions.
This is extremely prominent with the current gun debate. Several news networks
have been linked to reporting untrue facts and statistics about gun control. Since
most people are unaware of the truth behind these statements, they take what the
news says and they believe it without question. In order to keep the American
citizens informed, news networks should be required to check their information
before broadcasting it to millions of viewers.
There are numerous examples of this in recent history. The New York Times
recently ran a story about Aaron Alexis, the culprit behind the Navy Yard shootings,
claiming that a Virginia law stopped Alexis from buying an AR-15. “The gunman
who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday test fired an AR-15
assault rifle at a Virginia gun store last week but was stopped from buying one
because state law there prohibits the sale of such weapons to out-of-state buyers,
according to two senior law enforcement officials” (Miller). This statement is
completely untrue. The state of Virginia is permitted to sell weapons to out-of-state
individuals as long as they have proper identification. While this may be considered
a “little white lie,” it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Many of you are familiar with Piers Morgan, a television host that hails from
Great Britain. If you’re aware of who he is, it’s safe to assume you’re aware of his
strong anti-gun standpoint. It has been proven time and time again that Morgan
provides false statistics about the gun control debate. On January 8th of 2013, Piers
hosted a segment that was titled “Reality Check.” This particular show was strictly
about the 2nd Amendment and Gun Control. Of the claims made, Morgan reiterated
numerous times that the UK was much safer than the USA since the banning of guns
roughly 15 years ago. Statistically, yes, Great Britain has fewer gun crimes than the
USA. However, their violent crime rate is astonishing. The UK has a violent crime
rate of 2,034 per 100,000 citizens. The US has a rate of only 466 per 100,000
citizens (Huston). This goes to show that Piers attempted to make a claim based on
false pretense in order to hopefully change his viewers opinions.
The problem with news networks is that they are able to make a statistic
beneficial to whichever side of the argument they believe to be true. Anti-gun
lobbyists quote such networks all the time only to be put to shame by people who
know the truth behind these statistics. Media networks should be educating the
general public on all sides of an issue in order to further our understanding of it.
Falsities in the news lead to falsities in our knowledge as a country. The more the
people know, the better off we’ll be.
Fox News published an article in August of 2013 explaining the falsities other
news networks and even our own government bring to the table. After the Aurora,
Colorado massacre, President Obama delivered a speech in which he stated that
40% of all gun purchases take place without a background check being preformed
(Lott). This claim is completely inaccurate. Not only is that percentage the result of
a study that was conducted 20 years ago, but it was also before the Federal Brady
Act went into effect. The Federal Brady Act required all licensed firearms dealers as
well as gun shows to preform background checks on customers. Fox News went on
to say that it seemed our President had “enhanced” the statistics in order to suit his
own beliefs.
I conclusion, news networks, or any form of public broadcast should be
required to double-check the facts and information that they send to the public. We
should be expanding our knowledge on hot topics rather than be “brainwashed” into
believing one side of the argument without any knowledge of the opposing side.
Our citizens should be able to make their own decisions with all of the facts, not
molded into another individual’s beliefs.
Miller, Emily. "New York Times gets it wrong, media obsessed with linking AR-15
with Navy Yard shooter." New York Times. 17 09 2013: n. page. Web. 21 Oct.
2013. <>.
Huston, Warner. "Cincy TV News Calls Out PIers Morgan’s False Anti-Gun Stats."
Right Wing News. 11 01 2013: n. page. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
Lott, John. "Fact vs. Fiction on Background Checks and the Gun Control Debate." Fox
News. 09 04 2013: n. page. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.