The News – Bought by the Left
By: Gerard Valentino
When the ground breaking book, More Guns Less Crime hit bookstores, the anti-gun establishment media, and anti-gun lobbyists were up in arms. The first step they took in trying to shut off meaningful debate on the issue, was to immediately attack the bookâ€™s author, Professor John Lott, because the funding for his research came from the John M. Olin Foundation.
Since the John M. Olin Foundation is tangentially connected to Olin Industries, a maker of chemicals used in the production of munitions, the anti-gun establishment media claimed Professor Lottâ€™s premise was tainted, even though his statistical work held up to peer review.
Despite the fact that Lottâ€™s work held up to scrutiny, the leftist media claimed that journalistic and academic guidelines required a full accounting of how his book was funded.
The Joyce Foundation is a vital source of funding for countless leftist special interest groups including the Violence Policy Center, Ohio Coalition to End Gun Violence and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. Under the guise of a grant to aid investigative journalism, and with the help of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College, they financed a recent series of anti-gun hit pieces disguised as news stories.
In essence, the Joyce Foundationâ€™s pay-to-play scheme guaranteed coverage of the gun issue on their terms.
Based on such a clear conflict of interest, most people assume the establishment media attacked the reporters bought by the Joyce Foundation with the same venom used to try and tarnish the credibility of Professor John Lott.
Such an assumption, however, is dead wrong.
Instead of demanding full disclosure from the reporters paid by the Joyce Foundation, the leftist media elite was complicit in the successful attempt to let a special interest group buy their way onto the front page.
A definitive example of the product created by the Joyce Foundation grant is a three part series penned by Columbus Dispatch reporter Theodore Decker. Although his specific series is singled out here, similar anti-gun rants were published by newspapers all over the Midwest.
Like Deckerâ€™s series, titled Overrun by Guns, all of the Joyce Foundation funded articles read like a playbook created by the Brady Coalition to End Gun Violence. All were also long on emotional blackmail and very short on facts.
Considering the true source of Deckerâ€™s funding, that isnâ€™t a surprise.
Just as it isnâ€™t a surprise that Theodore Decker and the Columbus Dispatch committed a lie of omission by only mentioning the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College as the source of the funding for the report. Failing to mention the Joyce Foundationâ€™s role shows a lack of integrity and a complete breakdown of journalistic standards.
Because the work paid for by the Joyce Foundation followed the establishment media rule that guns are a blight on society, however, nobody made a peep about the obvious conflict of interest. Of course, the establishment media never follows the same rules in how they treat both sides of the gun issue.
The double standard in how the mainstream media treated Professor Lott compared to how they treated the work of Thomas Decker isnâ€™t the only way this situation exposes their hypocrisy.
For years, many of the same newspapers that used deception in regard to the Joyce Foundation grant claimed that the best way to thwart corruption is to open all government business to the media.
However, when the public demands the media elite fully disclose their sources, or fully disclose the source of funding for investigative reports, they claim journalistic privilege. That is the same protection under the law that lawyers enjoy with clients, people enjoy with their doctor, or with their spiritual advisors.
Clearly, in the mind of the leftist media, what is good for the goose isnâ€™t good for the gander.
By failing to report the true funding for the so-called investigative reports, all of the newspapers involved failed to live up to their self-proclaimed standards. They also failed to serve their readers and put the validity of their future work in doubt because if the Joyce Foundation can pay for coverage of the gun issue, there is nothing to stop President Barack Obama, or the pro-abortion crowd from doing the same.
We live in a country where the establishment media claims they protect the people by rooting out corruption and covering the news in an impartial manner. A role they see as vital to the American experiment, and that they actually believe affords them special place in society.
The problem with their premise is that that people donâ€™t have anyone to protect us when it is the establishment media who is corrupt.
(Gerard Valentino is the author of The Valentino Chronicles â€“ Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, a co-founder of Buckeye Firearms Association, BuckeyeFirearms.org and a former military intelligence analyst)