MJSs Major Miss on Firearm Story

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Yesterday our NRA-backed Attorney General, JB Van Hollen, claimed that openly carrying a firearm should not result in a disorderly conduct charge in a memorandum issued to Wisconsin’€™s district attorneys.

Yesterday was also April 20, 2009’€”ten years to the day after the Columbine Massacre in Colorado: the most infamous school shooting in U.S. history sparked a nationwide debate on tolerance, firearms, schools, the media, and violence.So it beyond puzzling how the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel could have covered Van Hollen’€™s memorandum on openly carrying firearms and NOT MENTION that its release fell on the 10-year anniversary of when two kids openly carried firearms into a high school, killed a dozen people, and wounded nearly two dozen more.

Instead, the MJS reporters who threw the story together quote a gun fanatic and apparent homophobe with ONLY a half-assed pro-gun website behind his name to lend his two-cents: “People who open carry do not do so to get attention,’€ this guy says.  ‘€œThey do so to make a political point, in many cases, just like a same sex couple going out of their way to hold hands in public.”

Now, I don’€™t need to explain the kind of right-wing crazy it takes to think that when a loving same-sex couple holds hands it’€™s to make a political point. And I can’€™t explain how the hell anyone would know if two people have actually ‘€œgone out of their way’€ to hold hands in public.

But what I do know is that the MJS completely missed the mark on journalistic standards by covering Van Hollen’€™s open carry decree without nary an opposing viewpoint from Van Hollen, who is given more than plenty of space for his talking points, and then proceed to quote a right-wing tool while simultaneously ignoring the obvious parallels to the Columbine Massacre.

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Cody currently oversees online communications, web development, and graphic design at One Wisconsin Now & the Institute, having served previously as Deputy Research Director.