Thursday, April 22, 2010

4/19 follow-up

Like I said in my most recent post, April 18th and 19th are important anniversaries because Paul Revere began his ride on the 18th and the battles in Lexington and Concord followed on the 19th. Although tensions between the British government and American colonies had been simmering for some time, those events were the straw that broke the camel's back and triggered the Revolutionary War.

I am mentioning it again because -- surprise! surprise! -- a high profile media figure misrepresented activities that were held this 19th. Because the people's right to own arms is under attack despite being enshrined in our Bill of Rights, and the Lexington and Concord battles occurred when the British military tried to confiscate privately owned arms, two gun rights groups held rallies to commemorate the battles and demonstrate their support for the U.S. Constitution. But April 19th is also the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and Rachel Maddow used her show on MSNBC to imply that the rallies were being held to honor Timothy McVeigh.

Maddow intoned, "On the anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh, there will be two marches in Washington," and proceeded to rattle on about how they were being sponsored by gun rights groups. She never mentioned the real reason for the marches, and did not even acknowledge that April 19th marks the day of minutemen and redcoats and all that. This was five days before the date even arrived; and when it did arrive, her focus remained on McVeigh as she hosted a special about him.

Is this part of the ongoing effort by many in the media to portray gun owners as a lunatic fringe? Or was it sloppy ignorance on display, with Maddow and everyone else at MSNBC simply not aware of the centuries-old significance of April 19th? It doesn't matter. It was media malpractice either way.

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