ABC story on guns so badly wrong it’s hard to conclude it’s not a willful lie

Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee has a long history of pointing out 1) misinformation regarding firearms and 2) media incompetence or deception. He hits a two-fer in this story about a recent ABC news article on guns in use by Mexican drug cartels. He highlights the deceptions, both visual and textual, in the story starting with the opening picture in use in the article:

The focus of the story, according to ABC News, is that U.S. dealers of civilian firearms are to blame for Mexico’s drug cartels and their violence problems… so why do they highlight an M60 general purpose machine gun, a weapons still in use in Mexico’s military, but impossible to find in the open U.S. civilian market?

You definitely want to see his post for the pictures alone. However, the pictures aren’t the only problem. ABC continues our media’s long effort at misrepresenting the law, misrepresenting actions of Congress, and – of course – blaming the Bush administration for whatever problem they’ve decided to air. After quoting the ABC story where it claims that weapons styled after the AK-47 “have become widely available” after the 1994 “assault weapons” ban was allowed to expire (with the special assistance of the Bush administration), C.F. lands a telling hit:

AK-pattern rifles were legal to own or import during the entire life of the 1994-2004 “Crime Bill,” something that Ross knows for a fact… or should. This claim is a blatant falsehood.

The only effect of the law was to outlaw the importation or manufacture of certain specific firearms by name, and cosmetic features found on other firearms, without banning their manufacture, important, or purchase once these features were removed or replaced. The result was that the same functioning firearms were imported the day after the “ban” went into effect without a bayonet lug or flashhider, and with a thumbhole stock instead of a pistol grip. Functionally, the weapons were identical, with no reduction in firepower, magazine capacity, controlability, or or lethality. The “Crime Bill” outlawed virtually nothing, and was merely a fig-leaf for anti-gun politicians.

As for Bush, he was in favor of extending the ban. ABC News failed to get that fact correct, either, even though checking it would have taken less than ten seconds on Google.

Read the whole thing. Trust me, it’s worth it.

What bothers me so much about this kind of stuff is that media agencies get to just out-and-out lie to the American people about such matters and then try to close down the avenues where the real story can get some air. The average joe in the U.S. has likely never even held a rifle, let alone become familiar enough with them to recognize what Owens saw in this article. It’s the equivalent of malpractice for them to do this kind of stuff and they know they’ll never be held to account. Once upon a time, journalists considered themselves the People’s eyes and ears. It was important for them to get the actual facts, the so-called “real story,” into the hands of the American public. Make no mistake, such information is vital to a nation such as ours where every citizen gets a hand in how the country is governed. But that information must be factual and verifiable, as free of observer bias as possible or the decisions made using that information will be equally flawed.

ABC ought to be ashamed of their performance in this matter. That they won’t be doesn’t surprise me in the least. Thankfully, we live in an information age where individual subject experts like Bob Owens – an “Army of Davids“, if you will – can get their word out. Hopefully, enough people will hear that word to pass along the real story in this situation. It’s not that Mexican drug cartels are using guns they buy in other countries to commit crimes. It’s that our media is so anxious to move their own agenda that they’ll lie to our faces to get it done.

Caveat emptor, folks.