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MORE PROOF THAT MAJOR NETWORKS ARE BIASED AGAINST THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

For example, over the past several years, when NRA spokesmen had been invited to comment on the debate over gun control on news programs, they regularly pointed out the failure of the CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION to prosecute armed violent felons. But the MRC study showed that TV reporters mentioned the drop in federal prosecutions under Clinton only eight times during the period studied. Similarly, NRA has been promoting real crime-fighting programs such as the "PROJECT EXILE" prosecution model, which originated in Richmond, VA, for several years. The networks, however, mentioned this program a mere three times over the period studied. "Project Exile" -- a cooperative effort among local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors -- targets violent felons who violate firearm laws, seeks the most stringent penalties available, and has been credited with a dramatic reduction in Richmond's violent gun-related crime.

The lawful, defensive use of firearms by lawabiding citizens is a subject that has also been widely ignored, according to the MRC. Although award-winning criminologist GARY KLECK has estimated that firearms are used as often as 2.5 million times a year for protection, the networks reported such acts only 12 times out of the 653 firearm-related stories covered.

And while NRA constantly points out that passing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners does nothing to reduce crime, especially in light of the countless laws that are violated in every high-profile shooting, this argument was mentioned only five times over the study period.

This latest study complements last year's study and supports another MRC study released in 1994. The 1994 study focused solely on evening news programs from December 1, 1991, to November 30, 1993, and found that 62% of the 107 stories examined devoted substantially more time to anti-gun arguments than pro-gun. It also found that news commentators who endorsed gun control outnumbered those opposed by nearly 2 to 1, and the anti-gun bias was even more distinct when the story concerned the BRADY BILL, expanding to 3 to 1 against the pro-Second Amendment view. Of course, advocates of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms have been painfully aware of this institutional bias for years, but as more studies report what we already know to be a problem, perhaps the networks will begin to take notice. If they don't, more and more viewers will desert them for more objective news sources. If you would like more information on the MRC and its recent study, go to its website at www.mrc.org.

An NRA-ILA FAX ALERT

................................................................................... The Bias Against Guns
Dr. John R. Lott Jr.

"In 2001 (the last year available), ABC, CBS and NBC ran 190,000 words' worth of gun crime stories on their morning and evening national news broadcasts. But they ran not a single story mentioning a private citizen using a gun to stop a crime. The only network I could find that ran any defensive gun-use stories was the Fox News Channel.

"The print media were almost as lopsided: The New York Times ran 50,745 words on gun crimes, but only one short (163-word) story on a retired police officer who used his gun to stop a robbery. For USA Today, the tally was 5,660 words on gun crimes versus zero on defensive uses."