Does AP Stand for Associated Propaganda?
by Ari Armstrong, July 7, 2000
Especially when you see an Associated Press article run anonymously, watch out: you may be in for a political propaganda piece masquerading as a news story.
Such was clearly the case with a July 4, 2000 AP article entitled, "Colorado high court clears way for vote on gun show loophole," which I read on CNN's web page. The article begins:
DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the gun lobby to keep off the November 7 ballot an initiative that would close the so-called "gun-show loophole."
At least the AP referred to the "so-called gun-show loophole," as civil arms advocates argue that no such loophole exists. Aside from that point, the AP story clearly shows a bias.
Just what is this "gun lobby?" Why, it is me, and a woman named Debra Collins, and Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, and an NRA member from Colorado Springs who filed a separate legal challenge. Certainly this is not a monolithic entity. I didn't even know about the separate challenge until after both had already been filed.
If the AP counts me as a member of the "gun lobby," then so be it. But if the "gun lobby" opposes the new gun restriction law, then it's the "anti-gun lobby" which favors it, right? Not so. Instead, writes the AP,
The initiative, pushed by families of last year's Columbine High shootings, would require background checks for all sales at gun shows... The state's high court, in its ruling Monday, rejected the gun lobby's argument that the initiative was too broad and the language misleading.
The AP's comments are deceptive for a number of reasons. There is only one family actively pushing for the background check initiative, and that's Tom Mauser, who is being paid $72,000 per year to lobby for the anti-gun lobby group, Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic, the name of which likens gun ownership to a disease.
In addition, one of the victims of the Columbine shootings said on national television that he opposes new gun restriction laws. Why, then, does the AP try to pit "families" against "the gun lobby?"
Even though it might interfere with the propaganda value of the AP's article, it might be worth mentioning that I have a family, too, and I want to retain the right to protect my family with a firearm from violent rapists and murderers. Debra Collins has a family today, because she once used a firearm to defend her life from her violent ex-husband. The intentional double-standard of the anonymous AP writers demonstrates a lack of objectivity.
The AP story continues,
Currently, only people buying guns from federally licensed dealers have to undergo criminal background checks at gun shows. Sales by private dealers are exempted.
But that term "exempted" is strange here. It's not as if private dealers were once forced by politicians in Washington, D.C. to conduct background checks at gun shows, but have since been "exempted." Indeed, somehow, miraculously, the United States survived for 200 years without any sort of mandatory background checks, and now the anti-gun lobby wants to expand those checks to private sales at gun shows. To draw a parallel, consider the following statement:
Currently, only people buying literature from writers in socialist or totalitarian states have to undergo intense government censorship. Sales by the Associated Press are exempted.
But such parallels may be too abstract for those anonymous word-smiths of the AP.
The AP article next claims, "Robyn Anderson... testified before the Colorado Legislature that she would not have bought the weapons if she had to go through a background check."
That's rather less than the whole truth. Robyn Anderson's lawyer was in close contact with Ken Gordon long before Anderson ever testified. Perhaps the AP doesn't remember that Gordon introduced background check legislation in the Colorado legislature. When one considers the additional point that Anderson was trying to hold back civil legal suits against her, her testimony cannot be treated as credible. For more on this story, please read http://www.freecolorado.com/2000/01/anderson.html.
At the close of its piece, the AP includes the following legal notice: "Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved." The Associated Press might do well to remember that with rights come responsibilities. If the AP's anonymous writers want to write editorials, they should do so out in the open. They shouldn't try to pass off biased editorials as news stories.