By: Andrew A. DeMuth
Tuesday, January 1, 2013 9:26 a.m.
The Journal News, an upstate New York Newspaper,
dragged the journalism bar even lower last week by publishing an
interactive map listing the name and home address of every person in
Westchester and Rockland Counties who possesses a handgun permit.
Titled, "The gun owner next door: What you don't
know about the weapons in your neighborhood," the map uses red dots to
depict those who have permits, and when visitors click on the red dot, a
window comes up showing the resident's full name and full street
The newspaper had actually intended to go further.
In a statement, the newspaper said that they tried to access records
pertaining to weapon types and how many were in each household.
"Had we been able to obtain those records, we
would have published them."
How deplorable. How
We would love to know
how the meeting went when members of the editorial staff made this
decision. Did anyone raise the flag of possible unintended
consequences, or was selling copy the only consideration.
The goal of this program
is most likely to publicly brand those exercising their Second Amendment
right with a type of scarlet letter. In light of the recent Connecticut
school shooting, they hope to embarrass gun owners in front of their
It is also an attempt to
discourage American citizens from purchasing guns.
But such a move
accomplishes nothing. It doesn't protect children, reduce crime, or
make anyone safer. It is a desperate act intended to pit neighbor
against neighbor. The architects of this effort clearly have an
anti-gun agenda, and this is a way of carrying it out.
Mind you, the Journal
News is a newspaper, not an activist organization. It is utterly insane
that this is what we get from a once-trusted media, but this is our new
It's also why readers
and viewers are tuning out. People are sick of activist journalism.
It's also why sites such as NJLawman.com and others have developed such
a massive following while traditional news outlets have lost immense
Unfortunately, in all
their wisdom they never considered the fact that criminals read
newspapers and websites too, criminals who may be interested in which
houses would make good targets for stealing guns.
Even better, such a site
is a great starting point for gang members, career felons, and sexual
predators who would like to know which homes are most likely not
protected by residents with access to guns.
The paper argued, " Our
readers are understandably and keenly interested to know about who owns
guns in their neighborhoods.” But, the opposition from their readers
that began filling the comments section showed either a disconnect
between editorial staff and their readers or a flat-out arrogance on the
part of the paper.
Most saw this for what
it was: a rouse to generate controversy, interest, and,
ultimately, visits to their website. They
fly this stunt under the banner of the First Amendment, but the truth is
they are flying their agenda under the banner of journalism.
That is fine, but then
don't call yourself a newspaper.
It is pathetic how many
media outlets such as the Journal News cherry pick which parts of the
Constitution they will defend. If such an assault were taking place on
the First Amendment, their editorial pages would be buzzing each day
with editorial and opinion pieces listing argument after argument
against such un-American rhetoric.
The purpose of this
piece is not to take a position either way on the current gun debate: it
is about bringing attention to a group of elitists who feel they have
the right to expose, for their gain, the private affairs of our
The founders of this nation recognized the
importance the press would play in making this great experiment work, so
much so that they made it clear in the First Amendment that the press
was to be free.
Two centuries later it is run by activists going
after the very next Amendment.
A great irony of all
this is that newspapers such as the Journal News champion themselves for
providing the public ready access to information like the names,
salaries, and home address of police officers, yet their editorial
pieces are always unsigned and the names of their editorial members are
often buried deep in their website.
CNN did a written and
video piece on this story. They attempted several times to get someone
from the paper to present their case on the air. The editorial staff
from the Journal News declined.
What a surprise.
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