Once, Time magazine was one of those household names in news. They didn’t break it, but they provided more depth than your local paper really could. People trusted them and Time, back then, lived up to that trust.
Today, like a lot of news publications, they’re a shadow of their former self.
Yet, if I’m being honest, even describing them as that is far too generous. That would imply there’s at least something of the original core still there, just diminished. Instead, all we have is yet another publication ready to spout any anti-gun talking point they care to name.
For example, they recently ran a story about the NRA, premised on Wayne LaPierre’s departure, under their “Made By History” tag.
It doesn’t take long to see it really should be “Made Up History” instead.
Last month, after more than three decades as the figurehead of the modern gun lobby, longtime National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO and executive VP Wayne LaPierre stepped down. His departure comes amid a civil corruption lawsuit brought by the State of New York, which alleges that the NRA and its executives violated their non-profit status and various state and federal laws, as well as grossly mismanaging the group’s finances.
LaPierre stands at the heart of a popular narrative about the recent emergence of the radical right. He has loomed large in the organization’s changing tactics and emphasis as it evolved into a political powerhouse and an uncompromising foe of all gun control. As the story goes, the NRA was a moderate group focused on sport and target shooting before the “Cincinnati Coup” in 1977. The revolt at the group’s annual convention ushered hardliners into power and drove the reshaping of gun politics in the U.S., including the rise of a new interpretation that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to bear arms. LaPierre joined the organization shortly after the coup and became executive vice president in 1991.
Yet, while LaPierre epitomizes the post-1977 NRA, there is more continuity in the group’s history than is popularly known. Dating back to its 1871 founding, in fact, the NRA has had one consistent priority: protecting social order and control. LaPierre articulated this philosophy after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 when he declared that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The idea is that control of armed force should be deputized to and limited to certain populations—especially elite white men. That has always been the NRA’s driving force, and the only thing that changed after 1977 was the militarization of this organizing precept.
Now, LaPierre has his critics, to say the least, and much of that criticism at least appears to be valid. Yet there’s not a shred of evidence anywhere to support the assertion that when he said “good guy with a gun” that he meant elite white men.
First, how is it that gun owners are at once backward rednecks and also “elite white men” anyway?
Second, anti-gunners keep spouting this idea that we only favor gun rights for white people, yet black gun owners are one of the fastest growing segments, and not a soul I’ve talked to views this as anything but awesome. Another quickly growing group is women, and no one is batting an eye at that, either.
Now, here’s the problem. If this were billed as an op-ed, I’d probably be finished. I might expound on a point or two, particularly with regard to how gun control originally targeted non-white people and only allowed guns for those “elite white men” but, for the most part, I’d focus on that.
Yet this isn’t an op-ed. These are the opening paragraphs that seek to report history.
How can anyone trust any aspect of what follows when their ideological lens is so clearly divined? They’re not interested in the truth or in understanding the past. They’ve got an axe to grind and they expect you, the reader, to ignore it.
What follows from there is, in many ways, revisionism. Sure, it undermines the talking point that the NRA was nice and moderate until 1977 when they suddenly became evil, but it’s also clear that they can’t acknowledge that the right to keep and bear arms applies to everyone and that’s the line the NRA has taken in the past several decades.
There’s been no effort by any gun rights organization to differentiate rights between various racial identities. They fight for people’s right to keep and bear arms. That means people. All people
But the writer over at Time doesn’t see it that way, but since she also clearly has her own view of reality rather than, you know, reality, this is what we get.
What bothers me is how this single line, presented without evidence or context, is likely to be enough to convince people that it’s true, like the lack of evidence is, in and of itself, evidence of its validity when it’s really just journalistic petulance.
So no, Time isn’t a shadow of its former self.
It’s a zombie walking around at the behest of its anti-gun necromancer master.