Leave it to Joe Scarborough, the conservative ‘conscience’ of MSNBC, to try and sully the reputations of the producers of Under The Gun by running a segment on the alleged mistakes and omissions which, according to Morning Joe, was a ‘stunning’ and ‘shocking’ misuse of journalistic power aimed at making sure that a group of ‘Americans’ who happened to be gun owners looked and sounded ‘dumb.’
Those comments, which Scarborough then used to guide his roundtable through a brief discussion of Couric’s misdeeds, could have been written for him by the NRA. In fact, the NRA’s initial statement referred to Katie as a political ‘activist’ who ‘bends’ the truth to ‘propagandize audiences,’ which I guess is Katie’s legacy for having asked that moron from Alaska to name one newspaper that she ever read.
By the way, not a single member of Scarborough’s gallery – Chuck Todd, Chris Cillizza, et. al. – had actually seen the film. But that didn’t stop them from shooting their mouths off and following Scarborough’s lead in condemning Katie and Stephanie because they had an unimpeachable source for their comments, namely, Page Six of The New York Post. Now when I was growing up, The Post was a left-liberal newspaper which carried a daily op-ed from Eleanor Roosevelt and, generally speaking, promoted a liberal, pro-labor line. The paper is now owned by Rupert Murdoch, it shamelessly panders to the lowest standard of digital and online journalism and, in case you didn’t know it, has become the campaign communications machine for Donald Trump.
What shocked me most of all about the segment was not Scarborough’s attempt to create a hot item out of nothing more than a silly, editing mistake. Rather, it was the fact that not one of these journalistic experts on the panel made absolutely any attempt to balance Joe’s description of the film as a “hit job on a group of Americans,” even though the leader of this group of ‘Americans’ specifically said that he didn’t believe that there should be any backgrounds in a CBS interview that aired in 2009. To me, Katie’s only mistake was to create the impression that the group of gun owners whose comments Scarborough referred to as ‘eloquent,’ and one of the other panelists claimed were ‘long’ and ‘well thought out’ are just your average gun owners who are concerned about their 2nd-Amendment rights. They happen to be members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) which, in case you didn’t know it, advocates for no gun regulations of any kind. The VCDL always showed up at public appearances by Emily Miller, a Washington Star journalist who wrote a book about buying a gun to defend herself after she was the victim of a home invasion, except the home invasion actually didn’t take place.
Now I don’t know about you, but if the deleted segment covered nine seconds, resulting in the loss of the entire comments made by three people identified as gun ‘activists,’ how long and well thought out could each comment have been? Three seconds long? Here’s one of the deleted comments: “I’ll ask you what crime or what law has ever stopped a crime? Tell me one law that has ever stopped a crime from happening.” You think that’s well thought out? Go lay brick.
Want to know why there has been such a big hue and cry over this film? Because it’s far and away the best film on gun violence that has ever been made. I have now watched it three times and I cannot get over the images, the flow, the weaving together of public commentary with the reality of guns, lives and the places where gun violence occurs. So let’s stop wringing our hands because Morning Joe put together a stupid and basically dishonest discussion to fill up three minutes of his show. Let’s make sure everyone who is or should be concerned about gun violence sees this film, and that’s the end of that.