January 4, 2013

‘Bad’ News From Politico: ‘Gun Control (as a Media Meme) Doesn’t Survive Christmas’

I’m almost surprised that the Politico’s web site background isn’t all black because of news delivered by its “On Media” reporter Dylan Byers on Tuesday.

The “bad” news is that “gun control” as a media obsession appears to have largely disappeared, especially when you consider that some of the primary remaining stories on the topic are about David Gregory’s illegal but unprosecuted (as of yet) brandishing of a magazine on Meet the Press, a New York newspaper’s publication of an interactive map of two counties’ pistol permit dwellers, and said newspaper either feeling threatened or pushing for more publicity (my bet is on the latter) by hiring armed guards to protect its headquarters and staff from outraged readers. Here’s part of Byers’s narrative (charts are at the link; bolds are mine):

‘Gun control’ doesn’t survive Christmas

On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term “gun control” spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears.

This time was supposed to be different. “It is hard to believe this will not be a watershed moment when we start to talk about, deal with and even perhaps legislate on guns,” ABC News’s Z. Byron Wolf wrote. He was one among many in the media who believed the momentum for gun control legislation was strong enough to turn the tide on a familiar pattern.

Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. Mentions of the term “gun control” on television, in newspapers, and in online media are down to pre-Sandy Hook levels, according to the Nexis database.

Barring a post-holidy resurgence — which is certainly possible — the gun control discussion has once again gone the way of… the gun control discussion.

In an update, Byers has a graph showing the same decline as seen in Nexis.

The decline continues. A past-24-hours search on “gun control” at Google News (sorted by date, with duplicates and similar items) returns 400 items, a relative pittance compared to other topics — and quite a few of the results returned, possibly as many as half, give at least some respect to “the Second Amendment means what it says” position.

It’s a bit refreshing to see that the establishment press and leftist politicians can’t keep every topic driven by a political position they clearly advocate alive artificially for too long. That’s why they want crisis-like reactions before opponents can gear up and the populace can think things through. Caution is in order, but it’s starting to look like they’re not going to get their way this time.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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