Wednesday, December 10, 2008

National Geographic Channel bias

Last night they aired a one hour show under Explorer called Gun Nation (the link shows it under the title Guns in America) that was chock full of the typical inaccuracies and bias that we have come to accept from the anti-gun crowd. Just look at the photo that accompanies this caption:
We are the most heavily armed society in the world; nearly 80 million Americans own guns. Explore the gun culture in America, from a police officer to a young mother.
Right off the bat the narrator tells us that our right to self defense is "granted" under the Bill of Rights, and that our Second Amendment rights have unintended consequences; consequences that are shown to the viewer in a story about a Philadelphia cop who was shot in the face by a teenage thug with a shotgun. No mention of the fact that the thug was not a 'gun owner', but a gangbanger who was not even old enough to own the gun in the first place.

The show cites the bogus '22 times more likely to be shot with your own gun' line that is often erroneously cited from a study by Dr. Arthur Kellerman in 1986. The camera follows a concerned citizen named Casey into a gun show to see what guns she may be interested in, and the camera zooms in on the huge rack full of scary guns, like the M60 machine gun that a young guy is holding, but they are obviously airsoft guns. Not a word about that, either.

There are so many errors in this show that I couldn't write them down fast enough; from California having the "toughest" gun laws in the nation, to concealed weapons allowed in 35 states (39 are 'shall issue'). There was subtle bias as well; like when the narrator says that citizens own guns for target practice, the viewer was treated to a black-and-white video clip of a guy shooting a row of apples from around a woman's head. Nope, no bias there!

Next, we get to see lawful and safe use of weapons from a guy named Adam, who immigrated to the US from, I believe, Italy, where he used to be in their Special Forces. Adam is watching his daughter shoot a Kel-Tec SUB 2000, while the narrator erroneously calls it an 'semi-automatic assault weapon,' and then goes on to say "which after a ten year ban became legal to own again in 2004." This is false, as the Kel-Tec would not have been covered by the ban - an arbitrary and useless ban that only covered 19 specific weapons by name - and I don't think the SUB 2000 was even in production while the law was in effect. Facts are no barrier for this show.

Another favorite part was when the narrator says that "an assault weapon can fire a bullet as fast as you can pull the trigger, and remains controversial." No shit they remain controversial, when ignorant individuals who work for the National Geographic Channel keep pushing non-factual information. The camera pans to the table where the narrator then says "This is a family of law abiding gun enthusiasts. Still, if this cache of weapons were ever stolen, chances are they would make it to criminal hands."

No facts, just negativity.

The show centers around four cops from Philadelphia, and three of them are blatantly against gun ownership, and one is on the fence. While the viewer is watching the police arrest a gangbanger who just gunned down another gangbanger, blood oozing out of him, the narrator says that citizens sometimes own guns for self defense, at which point one of the arresting officers is on camera saying that the bigger the gun you have, the more of a man you are - talking about the ganbangers, but the viewer is being led to believe that he is talking about citizen gun ownership. Then we're told basically that the Heller decision that struck down the DC handgun ban is bad news for police. A Philly police Captain that is interviewed talks about how dangerous it is on the streets as a cop, which I'm sure it is, but then says that he doesn't know of any other job where you have to wear a bulletproof [resistant] vest. I guess he hasn't heard of the Marines.

The most telling part of the show was when they interview a former violent felon named Tony, who used to be in the Crips gang. He said that the general rule of thumb amongst drug dealers and criminals carrying guns is that "I'd rather be caught with it, then without it" - saying that getting caught by the cops while carrying a gun is not nearly as big of a deal as getting caught in a shootout without a gun; he would know from experience. Tony was shot by another gangbanger during a drug deal where the guy pulled out an "automatic machine gun," which, in the show, is a AK47, but there's no mention of the weapon being closer to an 'assault rifle' than the Kel-Tec.

There's much much more that I don't have the time to cover, but near the end the show interviews Philly police officer DeCoatsworth, the cop who was shot in the face, and he gives us an "Only Ones" parting gift of this: "The only reason I have a gun is because I'm a police officer. Other than that, I don't think I have a reason for one, but unfortunately people have a right to own guns, and they're going to exercise that right."

Thanks for that, douchebag. Overall, I'd say that the show was a festering pile of bullshit, but don't take my word for it. Watch it for yourself.
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