Via The Federalist: 

After the attempted mass assassination of Republican lawmakers practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game–one of them is still in critical condition after undergoing his third surgery on Thursday–CNN head honcho Jeff Zucker went public and announced that he had found the real victims of overheated political rhetoric. No, not the Republicans who were actually shot by a crazed progressive Democratic activists. According to Zucker, the real victims of all this naughty talk are journalists. Zucker even claimed that criticism of the media is “unconscionable and dangerous.”

Then, on Thursday afternoon, CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy (who spent the hours following the attempted Alexandria massacre complaining about a competing media organization’s employee non-compete policies) attacked the Drudge Report for attacking the New York Times‘ disgusting and false editorial blaming Republicans for getting shot and Sarah Palin for inciting the near-murder of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in 2011. Rather than retracting the entire ordeal, which was premised on the demonstrably false claim that Giffords’ shooter was motivated by Republican rhetoric, the New York Times instead issued a legal CYA statement pretending to be an apology. The paper’s non-apology apology was roundly condemned.

CNN’s media reporter, however, was intent on defending the honor of the New York Times.

“[W]hy let facts get in the way of things?” he snarked.

Why, indeed? Curiously, Darcy seemed uninterested in CNN’s inability to correct its own false reporting on the Alexandria shooting. CNN falsely reported early Thursday morning that the rifle used by the Alexandria shooter, an SKS chambered in 7.62×39, was “a Chinese-made AK variant.” This is demonstrably false, and it’s an error with significant implications given U.S. gun laws.

In the U.S., fully automatic rifles like the AK-47 are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and require a hefty tax, a lengthy waiting period, and an extensive background check that includes photos and fingerprints. The SKS, a Soviet rifle developed and issued several years before Kalashnikov designed his AK-47, is not fully automatic. It is a semi-automatic weapon that contrasts sharply, both in form and function, with the AK-47. And even if the two firearms were functionally similar (they’re not), it would be impossible for the SKS to be a variant of the AK-47 seeing as how it was developed years before the AK-47.

If the shooter had somehow legally obtained a fully automatic assault rifle, as former New York Times reporter Jim Roberts glibly asserted based on media reports, that would be a huge story. Assault rifles, which are capable of fully automatic or burst fire, are heavily regulated and prohibitively expensive. If the ATF had authorized the shooter to obtain such a weapon, that would be a news story with significant implications. If the shooter, who had reportedly been living out of a van for months, had somehow obtained the cash necessary to obtain an AK-47 variant, that would be a significant development. That’s why it’s so important for reporters, even if they personally hate guns, to accurately report on gun types, features, and laws. It’s impossible to have an honest national debate about the topic if the debate is informed entirely by false reporting.

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