As is covered extensively over at Espresso Pundit, fewer and fewer people read the Arizona Republic. There are a number of reasons for this, but one reoccurring theme is that the paper cannot be trusted to report facts and the vast majority of writers there exhibit a strong liberal streak that distorts their work.
I know of hardly any conservatives who read the newspaper anymore for just those same reasons. Yet for whatever reason, when something appears in the pages of the Republic, far too many self-proclaimed conservatives latch onto it without questioning the source. This has really been brought home to me this week with all of the noise surrounding State Senator Lori Klein and a piece that left-wing columnist Richard Ruelas wrote about her and the gun she carries.
For starters, the Republic has been running anti-gun material every day for several days now. This is no accident or coincidence. They have an anti-gun agenda and have for years and years. They also have a very strong bias against the conservative majorities in the State Legislature and are always doing what they can to create a perception that the Legislature is full of stark-raving mad right-wing crazies.
So in Ruelas’ column, he writes (of himself in the third person) “Oh, it’s so cute,” Klein said, before aiming the gun at Ruelas’s chest to show off the red beam of the laser sight.
Really? Let’s ignore for a moment that gun owners don’t just point guns at people simply as a matter of practice. Does Ruelas want us to believe that a politician, and a successful one at that, also doesn’t know better than to point a gun at a newspaper reporter in front of a photographer?
Yet with every reason to be skeptical, far too many smart conservatives fell for the story and turned their public wrath at Senator Klein. Even fellow Senator Ron Gould, relying solely on the Arizona Republic’s coverage, promised to give gun safety lessons to Klein. How delightfully superior and condescending.
Imagine what they might have known if they had waited to hear from Senator Klein? Does the story change if instead of “pulling a gun on a reporter” the entire reason for the interview is that the reporter wanted to see the gun? Does the story change if Klein clears the gun before the interview even starts? Does the story change if the photographer asks to see the laser sight demonstrated and Klein points it away from him? Does the story change if instead of Klein pointing it at the reporter, the reporter walks in front of the sight to sit down?
Of course it does. The real story is a competent gun owner obliging a newspaper reporter and his photographer. The gun is handled safely, the gun is cleared, Klein never gets anywhere near the trigger of the cleared gun, and even the reporter and photographer are not the slightest bit uncomfortable at any of the events that occurred.
Some of the audio is available on the Republic’s website and it is fun to listen to. Both Ruelas and his photographer are clearly strangers to guns and they are fascinated like little kids. What we have is basically no story at all, until Ruelas inserts a dramatic sentence to punch up his column and likely to suit his editors. Suddenly Klein is some gun-totin’ crazy, pointing loaded firearms into the chest of newspaper reporters, no doubt one-handed while her other hand strums a banjo.
So the left-wing blogs go nuts, Huffington Post goes nuts, and the Arizona Republic follows up with day after day of anti-2nd Amendment editorials castigating Klein as “Exhibit A” of Arizona’s unhealthy and irresponsible obsession with guns, etc. Of course they do, that’s what liberals do and we wouldn’t expect anything different.
But seeing so many conservatives take the bait is sad. Sure, some of these so-called conservatives are just using the opportunity to take shots at Senator Klein just because they don’t like her. But several good people have been taken in as well.
Personally, I love that Klein doesn’t apologize for defending herself and her family. I’m glad she carries and I’m glad that she can provide legislative and moral support to women across the state who want to be pro-active in their self-defense. I’m glad she cleared the weapon and did the things she should have to display the weapon in a manner that was both legal and responsible. But I hope she learns that the Arizona Republic can’t be trusted, and there really isn’t any point in trying to accommodate them by displaying her weapon for their benefit. Their agenda is as it always has been.
Something more conservatives need to remember the next time a sensational story breaks that demonizes a conservative lawmaker or cause.