Reuters: Gun collections, gun stores, Germany, Texas — what’s the diff?

posted at 9:25 am on April 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

News agencies try to match stories with appropriate images to emphasize a certain theme or portion of it in the minds of readers. Often this leads to revealing results, as it does today with Reuters. In an Oddly Enough story about an obsessive collector, Reuters chose to focus on a certain aspect of the story — and chose a picture which misleads their readers about its scope:

A German man was such an avid collector of weapons and other paraphernalia that he ran out of space at home and had to sleep in a hotel, neighbors said following the 71-year-old’s death.

Executors found an arsenal of weaponry and assorted goods at the man’s two-story home in the western city of Aachen, police said on Wednesday.

“There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life,” said police spokesman Paul Kemen. “He also had 41 cases of ammunition and five walking sticks fitted with retractable blades.”

Having 71 guns and 41 cases of ammunition wouldn’t force a homeowner into a hotel, of course. As it turns out, the man collected everything. He would get more than a dozen deliveries a day, irritating his neighbors and apparently filling his house literally to the rafters. The guns and ammo comprised only a small part of the goods in the Aachen house, but that’s what Reuters chose to highlight in its report.

And take a look at the photo it carried with the story:

Reuters' obsessive focus

Is this a picture from the house in Aachen? Not unless German firearm enthusiasts regularly install retail display cases with signs in English. When readers click on the picture, the following caption appears:

A customer browses for guns at the Cabela’s store in Fort Worth, Texas March 7, 2008.

Anti-gun bias. It’s not a bug in the multiple layers of fact checkers and editors in the mainstream media — it’s a feature. (h/t Paul)

Update: Bob Owens found the same photo in use for the same purposes in March.


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Reuters……

Who would have thought?!

/sarc

Shy Guy on April 7, 2008 at 9:29 AM

71 guns makes this guy a collector?

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on April 7, 2008 at 9:35 AM

I count at least 72 guns in that picture…. LOL

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on April 7, 2008 at 9:36 AM

“There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life,” said police spokesman Paul Kemen. “He also had 41 cases of ammunition and five walking sticks fitted with retractable blades.”

And yet.
No one was harmed, apparently not one of these weapons walked itself to the store and committed a robbery and apparently neither did the old guy.

Of course its anti-gun bias, is the sun rising?

Speakup on April 7, 2008 at 9:38 AM

There’s no izvestia in Pravda, and no pravda in Izvestia (or Reuters).

Akzed on April 7, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Yeah it’s all fun and games until one of the guns escapes and Joins up with an SUV. That’s when the slaughter begins.

ronsfi on April 7, 2008 at 9:41 AM

If this isn’t a perfect example of “If it bleeds, it leads,” I don’t know what is. Rather than report on all the good news coming out of Iraq, Al-Reuters had to go digging through the latest Weekly World News looking for a story they could exploit (“Ha, Ha, look at this one. A German man collects so much shit he had to move.” “Hey, look! Some of it was guns! Let’s do a story on that!”).

Kafir on April 7, 2008 at 9:41 AM

The guns and ammo comprised only a small part of the goods in the Aachen house, but that’s what Reuters chose to highlight in its report.

This has nothing to do with guns . . . the man was simply a compulsive hoarder. Had there only been one gun, good old Reuters would have exploited it’s presence.

rplat on April 7, 2008 at 9:41 AM

71 guns makes this guy a collector?

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on April 7, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Heh.

Jaibones on April 7, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Just goes to show the MSM liberalism which is observable in the anti-gun bias!

Vntnrse on April 7, 2008 at 9:48 AM

There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life

Santa was good to the old guy. Not a single lump of coal.

RedWinged Blackbird on April 7, 2008 at 9:50 AM

From the media who told you about “AUTOMATIC WEAPONS” when in fact they were referring to semi-auto pistols or rifles.

Strange how that guy managed to keep six dozen guns, yet not a single one of them managed to kill a child. Huh.

MadisonConservative on April 7, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Hmmm…I can’t seem to post links to CNN here. Well, on a related note, read about David Olofson, a man right here in Wisconsin who has just been convicted of transferring a machine gun (a felony charge with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison)…after loaning a semi-auto AR-15 to a guy, who took it to a firing range, where it malfunctioned and fired two rounds.

ATF agent at the range reported a machine gun, ATF did a no-knock warrant at Olofson’s house, seized his weapons, computers, and other possessions, and now he faces a lengthy jail sentence. All because a gun broke.

MadisonConservative on April 7, 2008 at 9:53 AM

the gun store in Texas should sue them for defamation

Wyrd on April 7, 2008 at 9:54 AM

“There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life,”

I’m impressed–and jealous.

davidk on April 7, 2008 at 9:55 AM

not a single one of them managed to kill a child. Huh.

MadisonConservative on April 7, 2008 at 9:50 AM

You can’t know that. The guns were clearly not supervised.

ronsfi on April 7, 2008 at 9:57 AM

71 guns = not crazy.

Leaving those precious guns at your house all alone and sad and lonesome and sleeping at a hotel = unforgiveable.

TexasDan on April 7, 2008 at 10:02 AM

If he was in Germany, how did he manage to get all those guns in the first place. Or did he get them from German soldiers?

rbj on April 7, 2008 at 10:06 AM

MadisonConservative on April 7, 2008 at 9:53 AM

One better. The military trusts its soldiers with loaded weapons in a war zone but not to own a personal firearm. The regs make it so inconvienent that most either do not own guns or leave them with “non-military” friends. Go figure.

Claimsratt on April 7, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Haha More HOAXES from the Leftwing media. No way! It never happens!

Good catch!

tx2654 on April 7, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Good catch Capt.

Weight of Glory on April 7, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Hey, Reuters dudes, BRING IT ON! If you want to perpetuate a fight you’re sure to lose, this is a good one.

It would be timely too, as we need to scrutinize Obama on this issue from now until November.

petefrt on April 7, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Collecting anything is about preserving artistry, or history, or both. Guns can certainly be beautifully made, and guns are every bit as important to the history of human civilization as the horse is. Would Reuters worry if a man collected enough saddles and bridles to fill a room? No. They [Reuters] are just biased against anything that implies the individual can protect himself without some omnipotent socialist government involved.

RBMN on April 7, 2008 at 10:17 AM

71 Guns… I call that a good start.

High Desert Wanderer on April 7, 2008 at 10:17 AM

I only counted 47 in the picture….some one is lying.

BL@KBIRD on April 7, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I remember growing up in Wyoming, an IRS agent was shot by his son, (I think it was in Cheyenne, sad story behind it.. would have been in the late 70s, early 80s when it happened) the TV news mentioned that the son took the gun from the agent’s ‘Collection’ of 50 or 60 guns.. When a tax protester around the same time was arrested, he had an ‘Arsenal’ of about 40 guns..

All depends on who you are and what the narrative is behind the story..

DaveC on April 7, 2008 at 10:24 AM

So now we’re attacking gun owners AND gun stores? Mind-numbingly stupid in that deceptive MSM way.

NeoconNews.com on April 7, 2008 at 10:25 AM

No prob with the gun collection. BIG problem with the lazy Reuters folks who couldn’t be bothered to pay for some German reporter’s photo of the home, which I can well imagine was jam packed with “stuff.”

Yeah, in Germany they call such folks “messies.” It’s a clinical addiction in which folks can’t bring themselves to throw anything out (not disparaging guns, people do the same with magazines, dolls, plates, memorabilia, etc).

The real photos, when not tragic, are pretty fun.

Lockstein13 on April 7, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Yeah, in Germany they call such folks “messies.” It’s a clinical addiction in which folks can’t bring themselves to throw anything out (not disparaging guns, people do the same with magazines, dolls, plates, memorabilia, etc).

My wife has worked long and hard with me with my pack-ratness.. if it wasn’t for her, I would have moved 10 + years of WIRED magazine through 4 different houses.. and that is just the tip of it :)

DaveC on April 7, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Is Reuters still considered legitimate?

geminicontender on April 7, 2008 at 10:38 AM

All depends on who you are and what the narrative is behind the story..

DaveC on April 7, 2008 at 10:24 AM

We need to be careful about the spin we put on this. We have evidence of the leftist media biases that often twist stories into nonsensical interpretations. If we make that mean we are right and they are wrong, we ignore our own biases and seem less reasonable. For instance, I believe it is pretty clear that we are often more vicious about Hilary that the facts deserve. And then there are more substantial political areas where we distort, but I don’t feel confident about any to point one out in particular. I suggest that part of the spin we put on MSM bias is that we too are biased. We need a degree of humility about our own beliefs. We must accept that we too could be wrong–though it is more likely that the MSM is wrong.

thuja on April 7, 2008 at 10:52 AM

The guns and ammo comprised only a small part of the goods in the Aachen house, but that’s what Reuters chose to highlight in its report.

I didn’t know Reuters was competing with all the trashy tabloids.
On another note, I wouldn’t have minded being one of his relatives who stood to inherit some of those guns.

4shoes on April 7, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Yeah it’s all fun and games until one of the guns escapes and Joins up with an SUV. That’s when the slaughter begins.

ronsfi on April 7, 2008 at 9:41 AM

“There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life”
Santa was good to the old guy. Not a single lump of coal.

RedWinged Blackbird on April 7, 2008 at 9:50 AM

LOL!

inviolet on April 7, 2008 at 11:04 AM

I know at least a half dozen people (some family) that own over 100 fire arms a piece. They are a great investment.

The story’s implication is that anyone who owns several fire arms must be mentally impaired.

natesnake on April 7, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Also, guns are more fun to handle than stock certificates.

natesnake on April 7, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein bitchin’ gun collection!

Lehuster on April 7, 2008 at 11:23 AM

And the best part is that the world is awash in vintage military weapons. So collectors are having a field day(s)!

JimK on April 7, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Could this be a liberal attempt to feed the flames of hatred unleashed after the death of Charlton Heston. And yes is hands are cold and dead now.

Zaire67 on April 7, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Just imagine how much of this kind of stuff Reuters got away with before bloggers came on the scene.

RMR on April 7, 2008 at 11:29 AM

If Reuters had reported how much the value of those guns had appreciated over 71 years of the man’s life, everybody would cash in their IRA and go buy out a gun store.

Socratease on April 7, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I suppose the guy down the street with the collection of latex sex toys and gay German kiddie porn is just okee-dokee with Reuters…because that’s a personal lifestyle choice, afterall.

Wyznowski on April 7, 2008 at 12:27 PM

There are so-o-o-o many guns in that picture. I’m so ske-e-e-e-red!

eeyore on April 7, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I’m… ummm… shocked?

TheCulturalist on April 7, 2008 at 1:04 PM

I suppose the guy down the street with the collection of latex sex toys and gay German kiddie porn is just okee-dokee with Reuters…because that’s a personal lifestyle choice, afterall.

Wyznowski on April 7, 2008 at 12:27 PM

This might have been captioned with a picure of… oh, I don’t know… a Catholic Church? Not that they are biased or anything… it just had the right “look”.

TheCulturalist on April 7, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Anytime someone in the US is arrested and owns anything over two guns, the MSM labels it to be “an Arsenal“.

pseudonominus on April 7, 2008 at 1:12 PM

pseudonominus, it only takes one to be labeled such.

It happens more often than you’d want to admit. Police get an anonymous phone tip and burst into the WRONG HOUSE in the middle of the night, and the owner is abruptly awakened by the noise of the illegal entry of his home and responds with gunfire (from his legally owned gun) at the ill conceived (wrong investigation) intrusion. Police die, the innocent inhabitant either dies or is prosecuted by the press if not a self-centered DA bent on revising the record to cover tracks.

Right now, the Asst.DA in San Angelo has it in for the lowly FLDS “intruding population” living outside the First Baptist town of Eldorado, TX. EVERYONE but her absolves the FLDS as cooperative to their investigation, barring what is considered absolutely sacred that when upon examination proved nothing but a place of worship, not a whore house or hide out for criminals. [For comparison, think how the Rabbi's protested the Nazi sacriledge of their sacred scrolls and artifacts of worship. Well, there go the Baptists to right what's wrong with the fundamentalist Mormons.] The FLDS presented no arms to fight the lawmen when their children were taken from them. Granted, their ways are twisted. But what’s happening today with their innocent babies absconded by the hands of our government is twisted as well, covering tracks by going back to fetch the mothers. Now they are being camped in a century old fort, as though their own homes are not suitable. WHERE ARE THE RECORDED TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS THAT PROMPTED GOVERNMENT INTRUSION?! The man charged has been in Colorado City, AZ–not Eldorado, TX–and the supposed 16-year old with his 8-month old is nowhere to be found in Eldorado–so is she in Colorado City as well, or does she even exist, and the entire thing a horrible hoax set up with the “best of intentions” by the local non-FLDS Eldorado political government officials?! More likely than not, that’s what’s happened. Note well, NO FLDS arsenal was found or was threatened to be used against the lawmen or it would be broadcast loud and clear.

maverick muse on April 7, 2008 at 1:38 PM

“A customer browses for guns at the Cabela’s store in Fort Worth, Texas March 7, 2008.”

I always wondered what happened to The Addams Family’s Thing.
No surprise that he’s a handgun enthusiast though.

mr_oni on April 7, 2008 at 1:54 PM

and chose a picture which misleads their readers about its scope:

The Bashman at PatDollard.com does this all the time, although I like his site. If he can’t find an actual photo that came with the story, he’ll pull a gem out of his a$$. Beware…

RMCS_USN on April 7, 2008 at 2:01 PM

All depends on who you are and what the narrative is behind the story..

DaveC on April 7, 2008 at 10:24 AM

We need to be careful about the spin we put on this. We have evidence of the leftist media biases that often twist stories into nonsensical interpretations. If we make that mean we are right and they are wrong, we ignore our own biases and seem less reasonable. For instance, I believe it is pretty clear that we are often more vicious about Hilary that the facts deserve. And then there are more substantial political areas where we distort, but I don’t feel confident about any to point one out in particular. I suggest that part of the spin we put on MSM bias is that we too are biased. We need a degree of humility about our own beliefs. We must accept that we too could be wrong–though it is more likely that the MSM is wrong.

thuja on April 7, 2008 at 10:52 AM

I was trying to describe the situation from my point of view.. one hand, an agent of the government had a ‘collection’.. the other hand, someone who had spoken vehemently against the government had an ‘arsenal’..

all within a few months of each other..

DaveC on April 7, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Guns, bad. Guns, bad. Liberty, bad. Individualism, bad. State, good. Obedience, good. Capitalism, bad. Socialism, good. Guns, bad. Guns, bad.

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just going over today’s elementary school, et al., curriculum.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 7, 2008 at 2:09 PM

There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life

If that’s the case, I better get moving.

cjs1943 on April 7, 2008 at 2:32 PM

There were 71 guns

I can beat that Mr.!

Britcop on April 7, 2008 at 3:33 PM

Yeah it’s all fun and games until one of the guns escapes and Joins up with an SUV. That’s when the slaughter begins.

ronsfi on April 7, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Quite possibly one of the best comments EVER!

TugboatPhil on April 7, 2008 at 5:18 PM

And yet.
No one was harmed, apparently not one of these weapons walked itself to the store and committed a robbery and apparently neither did the old guy.

Of course its anti-gun bias, is the sun rising?

Speakup on April 7, 2008 at 9:38 AM

give em time. they have that kinda look in their barrel that they are going to go commit crimes by themselves any time now. Ban em before they do! BAN EM!

/Comrade Pelosi

MannyT-vA on April 8, 2008 at 8:18 AM

If anyone is wondering, the store in the picture appears to be Cheaper Than Dirt. As a regular customer I recognize the counter.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on April 8, 2008 at 11:37 AM

OOPS, no, it is Cabella’s. I.R.N. idiot.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on April 8, 2008 at 11:39 AM

MadisonConservative on April 7, 2008 at 9:53 AM
One better. The military trusts its soldiers with loaded weapons in a war zone but not to own a personal firearm. The regs make it so inconvienent that most either do not own guns or leave them with “non-military” friends. Go figure.
Claimsratt on April 7, 2008 at 10:06 AM

You’re only partly right: the military brass does not trust its troops at all. (And they allow loaded weapons only in part of the war zone except for special purposes.)

Kevin K. on April 8, 2008 at 8:19 PM