After outrage over a NPR program that featured a “false flag” anti-gun blogger as a “gun rights advocate,” a NPR producer today confirmed the show specifically sought out a gun owner who supported magazine ammunition capacity restrictions to speak for “2nd Amendment supporters.”
The controversy arose over an episode of the show, “On Point with Tom Ashbrook,” that aired on Monday, January 17, entitled “The 33-Bullet Magazine – How Much Firepower is Too Much?”
The four guests on the show were Robert Levy, Chairman of the Cato Institute and co-counsel in the landmark District of Columbia vs. Heller case, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, democratic Congresswoman from New York, who at that time planned to introduce legislation banning “high capacity” magazines, Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Tracee Larson, identified as a “gun rights advocate and blogger.”
As I wrote in my article, “NPR identifies ‘false flag’ anti-gunner as a ‘gun rights advocate,” Tracee Larson was an odd choice to represent the “gun rights” side. Not only did her blog, “The Well-Heeled Shooter,” have only two posts, she had previously blogged for the “false flag” gun-control group, the American Hunters and Shooters Association.
It turns out that Larson was picked not as a general representative of “gun rights advocates,” but precisely because she was not opposed to magazine capacity restrictions. Robert Farago from “The Truth About Guns” posted this e-mail he received from a NPR intern looking for guests for the January 17 episode of “On Point with Tom Ashbrook.”
Dear Mr. Farago:
I work for the NPR program On Point with Tom Ashbrook and I’m writing to ask if any of thetruthaboutguns.com‘s contributors would be able to speak as a guest on Monday, January 17. We’re looking for a gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter who is not opposed to the forthcoming McCarthy bill re: magazine capacity. While I realize that this doesn’t describe you personally, I’d be very grateful if you could put me in touch with a contributor or any other gun owner who would not oppose this bill. Let me know if anyone comes to mind. Thanks very much. [email [email protected]]
After the e-mail circulated on the web many people questioned the selection of guests for the episode on the “On Point” web page. Here are excerpts from the message that appeared on the web page in response:
“A programming note from the On Point staff:
On Point stands strongly behind its guesting of the January 17 show focused on the gun debate and high capacity magazines.“
“This panel represented a smart, serious and wide spectrum of the American gun, magazine, and gun rights debate. We stand firmly by it.”
I talked to Karen Shiffman, On Point’s Senior Producer, today about the e-mail and the selection of the guests for the program. Shiffman confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail from Matthew Baskin and that he was authorized to solicit guests for the show.
In response to my questions about how Tracee Larson was selected as a “gun rights advocate and blogger,” Shiffman said, “She responded to our e-mail. She was pre-interviewed by the producer of the segment and he thought she had an interesting perspective.”
When I asked about the controversy over guest selection, Shiffman said, “We discussed our guest selection before the show and again after the comments on the blog. That’s why we issued the statement. I feel very comfortable with what we put on the air.”
“We look for different perspectives,” Shiffman continued. “We had all kinds of views. It’s a call-in show and the callers offered many perspectives. Some opposed the ban. The views on the show aren’t just the guests. The callers offered their views as well.”
Although I tried to engage Shiffman in more discussion about the ethics of seeking out a gun owner who was “not opposed” to magazine capacity restrictions to be represented as a “2nd Amendment supporter,” she declined to discuss the issue further.
“Our plan is not to keep responding to this,” Shiffman said. “That’s why we put the progamming note on the website.”
Since Shiffman is no longer interested in discussing the issue I suggest gun rights advocates who have questions about the journalistic integrity of NPR’s guest selection and identification policy contact NPR Ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, through her web page or by calling her office at 202-513-3245.
Sebastian at “Snowflakes in Hell” has what might be an even better idea: He advocates forwarding a copy of Matthew Baskin’s e-mail to your congressional representatives and asking them to de-fund NPR.
NOTE: Special thanks and acknowledgement to Sebastian at “Snowflakes in Hell” and Robert Farago at “The Truth About Guns.” Their excellent reporting on this is what alerted me to the issue.
Be sure to visit these other Gun Rights Examiners as well:
Atlanta Ed Stone | Austin Howard Nemerov | Boston Ron Bokleman | Charlotte Paul Valone | Cheyenne Anthony Bouchard | Chicago Don Gwinn | Cleveland Daniel White | DC Mike Stollenwerk | Denver Dan Bidstrup | Des Moines Sean McClanahan |Detroit Rob Reed | Fort Smith Steve D. Jones | Knoxville Liston Matthews | Los Angeles John Longenecker | Minneapolis John Pierce | National Dan | Seattle Dave Workman | St. Louis Kurt Hofmann | Tucson Chris Woodard