On Thursday, HLN anchor S.E. Cupp hosted one of the more honest panels on network news in some time, where all involved agreed that many journalists are failing when it comes to reporting on guns. Cupp made the suggestion that outlets hire “gun beat reporters” to stop the steady stream of misinformation coming from the mainstream press and her panelists agreed.
CNN’s Brian Stelter was one of them, who just managed to put aside his leftist rhetoric long enough to agree that many in the media aren’t doing their jobs.
“We need more people on television bringing the temperature down,” Stelter said, noting how anchors are allowing emotions to run their broadcasts. He did defend them for “advocating for change,” which he doesn't believe is gun control, but added, “We can debate on whether they’re doing that in the right way.”
Andy Levy, a producer and regular panelist on SE Cupp Unfiltered, said it’s rather confusing to watch a news program only to hear opinions versus facts and worse, erroneous reporting:
“I’m fine with advocates advocating for stuff. I get a little confused when anchors and journalists who have claimed a pretense to objectivity are nakedly advocating for change…
“They’re not embarrassed that they’re making factual errors because they are convinced their cause is just. And that is a really, really dangerous thing, to me, for a journalist to be doing.”
Comedian and contributor Dave Smith noted how American distrust in the media is growing because of this on-air advocacy.
“There are so many journalists and they’ve exposed themselves that, yeah, they are gun control advocates and they feel that is the route to safety,” Smith said. “And, man, have they exposed themselves on that this past week [since the school shooting in Florida].”
Smith noted how he’s seen reports about how much money congressman take from the NRA on shows like Meet the Press.
“It’s like, why are you only doing this for this one group? Because you’re activists,” he said.
Cupp pondered why it seems too much to ask for journalists to simply deal in facts and suggested having gun beat reporters on staff so that misinformation about firearms isn’t continually spread:
“I can’t name another single issue about which the media knows so little, and yet is so vocal. I get asked all the time whether or not I know journalists who know anything about guns, and I know very, very few.
“If we’re going to have a gun beat, and I think we should, because gun violence, school shootings — problem in this country — shouldn’t we have gun-beat reporters?”
Surprisingly, Stelter agreed and said Cupp identified a significant problem in the mainstream media in its woeful lack of knowledge about firearms. (Stelter even suggested hiring reporters who actually know about religions as a novel idea.)
“What we need from journalists… is humility, to know what you don’t know, and try to find out the answers,” Stelter added.
Levy chimed in: “I have to say, I haven’t seen a lot of this humility from the media… it’s not even that they’re not embarrassed that they make factual errors, or factually ignorant about guns, they don’t care! … It’s a lot easier to yell, ‘We have to do something,’ than it is to educate yourself. It seems to me a journalist’s job is to educate the people watching, not confirm their biases.”
Too bad this isn’t the conversation happening on other shows. It was refreshing to hear such reasoned responses. CNN's sister network is the one showing up with "Facts First."
You can watch the clip over at Mediaite.