Presented mostly as a public service, since nothing in this segment will change minds, nor was it designed to do so. CNN’s Piers Morgan wanted to gather a panel for a public beating over the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and the AR-15 rifle used in the crime as a means for arguing for a federal assault-rifle ban. John Lott and Ben Ferguson exist only in this paradigm as objects for Morgan’s righteous anger and indignation, but instead operate more as a sounding board for his ignorance:
Unfortunately for Morgan and practically everyone else who leaped to exploit this for an assault-weapons ban, the shooter apparently only carried a shotgun into the base and may not have had an AR-15 at all. And note, by the way, that CNN buried this little tidbit today in a retrospective on crimes in which the AR-15 has been used:
However, federal law enforcement sources told CNN Tuesday that authorities have recovered three weapons from the scene of the mass shooting, including one — a shotgun — that investigators believe Alexis brought in to the compound. The other two weapons, which sources say were handguns, may have been taken from guards at the Navy complex.
The sources, who have detailed knowledge of the investigation, cautioned that initial information that an AR-15 was used in the shootings may have been incorrect. It is believed that Alexis had rented an AR-15, but returned it before Monday morning’s shootings. Authorities are still investigating precisely how many weapons Alexis had access to and when.
In other words, just as in so many other breaking news stories of this type, people latch onto rumor and bad data to build entire arguments on vapor. Instead of rushing into the hype, Morgan might have waited, oh, perhaps 24 or 48 hours for the facts — if he had any interest in informed public debate. Morgan, however, appears interested only in shouted demagoguery and the aforementioned public-beating style of “journalism,” rather than allowing his guests an opportunity to speak, as this five minutes amply proves.
Even more laughably, CNN offered this explanation of a weapon [see update] that not only may not have been involved in the incident, but also certainly doesn’t exist (via Twitchy):
The AR-15 isn’t a shotgun; it’s a semi-automatic rifle. There is a vast difference between the two types of firearms. Also, Alexis didn’t purchase an AR-15, but apparently rented one before the shooting, as CNN reports, and in any event may not have used an AR-15 at all in this mass murder spree. Why should we bother to pay attention to self-righteous “experts” on gun violence who don’t know the first thing about guns? Or to a network that buries the lede on a key correction on the weapons reporting in a piece about a weapon that turns out not to have anything to do with the crime?
Maybe CNN should be asking itself that question.
Update: The FBI confirms that the AR-15 was not used in the massacre:
FBI Washington field office just confirmed gunman was NOT armed with AR15. Spokesperson says 1 shotgun and 2 pistols recovered
— Pamela Brown (@PamelaBrownCNN) September 17, 2013
Update: Here’s the question I asked earlier on Twitter:
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) September 17, 2013
Maybe we can have an hour of this instead of Morgan tonight:
Update: Instapundit calls this an “epic fail” for “agenda journalism.” Sometimes, it seems there is no other kind.
Update: Initially, I thought the “AR-15 shotgun” chyron appeared during Morgan’s show, but was apparently on Anderson Cooper’s. I changed the reference above.