Quotes of the day

posted at 9:01 pm on December 27, 2012 by Allahpundit

How perfect can you get? Mr. Gregory interrogates Mr. LaPierre on the subject of whether to ban a magazine that it is illegal for Mr. Gregory to display but apparently easy enough to acquire in time for a Sunday morning broadcast. So here we have a possible indictment that would be entirely nonsensical of a journalist who was trying to embarrass an NRA official over an ammunition ban whose impact would be entirely symbolic.

Various media are also reporting that an online petition is underway on the White House website calling for Mr. Gregory’s indictment. It isn’t clear that Mr. Gregory is guilty of anything other than perhaps overzealousness in pursuit of the conventional gun-control wisdom, which is not a crime unless we want to empty newsrooms and fill up jails from coast to coast.

***

Let’s get real here. People who don’t like Gregory, or his network, or the media, or gun control are using his little stunt to express a bit of manufactured outrage, as though he were some kind of criminal…

This reminds me of when investigative reporters sneak weapons or banned material through airport security and then get accused of breaking the law.

Gregory had no intent to commit a crime; he was committing journalism instead. Gun owners often say they want the government to leave them alone; why then are some clamoring for Gregory to be prosecuted?

***

One of the problems with the ever expanding gun laws advocated by Gregory and others is that otherwise law-abiding citizens get caught up inadvertently violating the law, like this soldier on leave from Afghanistan, while criminals do what they please and powerful people don’t get prosecuted.

The guns laws, as presently constituted and as proposed, turn us into a nation of men not of laws.

What Greta doesn’t understand is that David Gregory isn’t being investigated because he’s David Gregory; if he were anyone else, he’d already be in jail.

***

The media’s argument in favor of treating Gregory differently from any other citizen who does not anchor a popular Sunday news broadcast is, essentially, “come on! Really?”

Yes, really. The media’s defense of Gregory is entirely personal – he is a member of the media simply doing what the media does. Even if this law is applicable to Gregory (a fact which the media seems prepared to debate), this particular infraction should not result in any penalties. At no point has any member of the media asked if Washington D.C.’s law, which is aimed at reducing the glamour of these extended magazines, is absurd…

L’affaire de Gregory has exposed an unseemly sense of entitlement in the elite media. If the post-Newtown debate over gun control has shown that the media is somewhat out of touch with average Americans, the Gregory episode has revealed that they do not regard themselves as average Americans.

***

Culturally, one of the things lots of Americans detest about the elite journalistic culture is the idea that reporters are above the law. Usually, this self-regard manifests itself in debates over revealing sources. Many journalists honestly believe they have special rights and privileges not enjoyed by all Americans. As a matter of law and logic, that’s not the case (which is why some journalists want to see the licensing of journalists). We all have the right to commit journalism…

And here we have David Gregory breaking exactly the sorts of gun laws he’s advocating (and, yes, Gregory is serving as an advocate in one side of a debate while pretending otherwise — which annoys some people too). His defense — and Kurtz’s — is that his intentions were good. Well, yes, I’m sure that’s true. It’s also true of roughly 99.99% of legal gun owners. But, unlike those legal gun owners, Gregory knowingly broke the law he expects the rest of us to obey (he asked the cops if it was okay and they said, “No.”).

Those legal gun owners must obey the law, even if they think the law is stupid or intended to stop people with bad motives. What rankles a little is the idea that somehow Gregory’s motives are more pure because he’s a journalist just trying to make a point. What rankles a lot is the suggestion that people keen to point out this double standard are easily dismissed as lunkhead partisans who don’t understand how special people like Gregory are who are unwilling to give him special dispensation.

***

Thousands of people, many from outside Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, have taken to their computers and phones in rage after The Journal News posted an online database of local gun permit holders.

The database, legally obtained from the county clerks’ offices through a Freedom of Information Act request made after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and eight adults dead, has been called irresponsible, dangerous and leaning toward intimidation by several online pundits…

Hundreds of callers have complained, claiming publication of the database put their safety at risk or violated their privacy. Others claimed publication was illegal. Many of the callers were vitriolic and some threatened members of the newspaper staff.

“New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information,” said Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.

***

Since that’s where I grew up, I went right to my old neighborhood and clicked on all the dots. While it brought a sense of nostalgia, it also felt like a complete privacy intrusion.

Are gun owners now going to be stigmatized like sex offenders?

I think it’s an attempt at intimidation. I wonder if any of those whose addresses were published are immediate family members of federal officials or employees, and covered by 18 USC Section 119, which prohibits publishing home addresses for intimidation. Or if the internet publication of home addresses of gun owners can be considered cyber stalking, cyber-bullying, harassment or invasion of privacy under state laws? Just because the information is available under a FOIA request, does that mean it can be publicly disseminated? I’m sure they checked with their lawyers and felt like they were on safe ground, but I hope somebody sues them.

***

Over the weekend, The Journal News newspaper published maps with the addresses and names of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The information for the map was legally obtained by the paper through a Freedom of Information Act request, but it sparked a nationwide controversy among those who considered the map a privacy violation. This morning, State Senator Greg Ball weighed in by proposing legislation to keep gun records private and prevent the publication of similar stories in the future. He also blasted “the asinine editors at The Journal News” who published the map…

“The Journal News has placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs,” Mr. Ball said. “Publishing this information on a website provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes. Preventing the theft of guns and their criminal misuse is an important public-policy goal. This map is bad for the good guys and good for the bad guys.”

***

I am not a big fan of the maps that show sex offenders, but at least there is a logical reason for posting them, even though the offenders often no longer live where the maps show them to be. And even when they do, how much risk do they pose? The maps can’t know that. The difference between the sex offender maps and the gun permit maps is that sex offenders have been convicted of a crime. The permit holders are accused of nothing…

If publishing the data because it is public and the public seems to be interested in the topic right now is reason enough, then there are endless databases to exploit…

I like it when journalists take heat for an explosive, necessary, courageous investigation that exposes important wrongdoing. There is journalistic purpose and careful decision-making supporting those stories. But The News Journal is taking heat for starting a gunfight just because it could.

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Via the Mediaite.

***

Via the Daily Caller.


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