When the media is the message

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Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot, an estimated one every 17 minutes.

According to the Brady Campaign, an organization that aims to prevent gun violence, 86 of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot in a police intervention. Although there is no criteria for what constitutes a mass shooting, the media plays a large role in what Americans do and do not pay attention to when it comes to guns and crime. The media has a way of honing in on certain shootings and labeling them as mass shootings. These are usually the ones that happen in schools and at churches, if minorities were involved, or if a cop was injured.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing to hear about gun violence or have a healthy debate about what our constitutional right entails when it comes to guns, but instead we are split in two as a nation. Guns come with two very opposing sides in politics and the media.

On one side we have the liberal approach that can be best seen by people like Bill Maher, who like other liberals believes carrying concealed guns isn’t a second amendment right. He often makes fun of conservatives and the NRA on his show, calling gun enthusiasts “ammosexuals.” The liberals at the end of the political spectrum do not completely disagree with gun possession. However, they do not believe in just anybody walking around with guns, because guns do more harm than good and are part of a problem that causes violence and crime throughout the world.  

The other side is filled with people who have a more conservative political view, such as Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly believes that guns protect people, provide food, do more bad than good, and are a second amendment right that every American has. On his Fox News show, he admitted that the media isn’t honest, which shocked his viewers. O’Reilly went on to explain that rap was the reason for violent crimes and it was the African-American youth that was plaguing the streets with guns and drugs. He also provided FBI statistics proving African American people kill more than white people. O’Reilly’s words come across as hateful and one-sided. However, the liberal side of the political banter is often negative toward the conservatives: Liberal commentator Bill Maher says ,“If you think Democrats are going to take away your Bible, You’re an idiot. If you think they are going to take away your gun, you’re an armed idiot. If you think they’re going to take away your gun and give it to a Mexican to kill your God, you’re Bill O’Reilly.”  

NRA Vice President Wayne La Pierre, believes that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Instead of guns, the NRA blames the misinformed public, music and media for our culture of violence.

MSNBC is said to be the liberal TV news counterpart to Fox News. However, MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow has quite an interesting political party view: Maddow feels that the political parties have changed so much and that she has liberal views, but holds an Eisenhower-era Republican belief system. She is not against gun possession, nor does she see them as violent. Nonetheless, there are times when Maddow has spoken poorly about President Obama when she felt it was necessary. Overall, she tries to report more facts than a political agenda.

When the sides are both so opposing and the NRA has its own agenda, it is hard for news outlets to report on stories that involve gun-related violence without their own personal beliefs shining through in some way. Maddow isn’t a news anchor that can report on the facts even if she tried; she is a political talk show host who has the opportunity to voice her opinion.

The media may try make it seem like it picks no sides and stays neutral to all views. However, to some it is obvious that a majority of the media is in fact one-sided.The only thing that is the same across the board is that guns aren’t usually spoken about unless something bad happened or if there is a political debate going on. It’s difficult for Americans to see the truth when it comes to guns and violence if  both sides are so far apart.