CBS seems to be struggling with their credibility issues again; as evidenced in a recent piece that they did on “assault weapons“. The story itself has been pretty thoroughly debunked all over the internet, however the blogs that have really done a good job in the debunking of the story don’t necessarily have the “oomph” to really get the word out there to the moderate community.
The problem that arises out of something like this is that the CBS news report is sensationalism at its worst. The majority of the people who watch the CBS Evening news are going to take this as the truth, because CBS didn’t bother to present any opposing viewpoints, or really do anything at all to try to present a balanced report.
The goal of the CBS show was to highlight how police agencies in Florida are issuing AR-15s (the semi-automatic version of the M-16) to the officers – now CBS claims that this is because criminals in the area are arming themselves with AK47s and other automatic weapons. To “prove” their point, they filmed a cache of weapons that had been confiscated by the Broward County Sheriff. I’ve included the image for reference, as well as a full sized version here.
Immediately, you begin to see a problem with their reporting. According to CBS, AK-47s (which is a specific firearm) have been popping up all over the place, and yet the confiscated weapons presented as justification for the up-arming of the police do not include a single AK-47. Certainly, there are two SKS carbines, and an AR15 variant present, but the focus of the story is nowhere to be found.
The problem lies in that while many pro-gun activists could readily identify the falsehoods in the CBS story, the average member of the public cannot. They would see the SKS carbine with extended magazine and simply assume that what was reported was true. Unfortunately, CBS wasn’t content with simply presenting misleading facts.
The story also contains an interview with an individual who purports to be an illegal gun owner. The person is only named as “Grady”, and on the show he claims to be in possession of both a fully automatic AK-47 as well as a fully-automatic Uzi sub-machine gun. This presents a serious credibility issue for CBS, because if this person’s claims are true, then he has just confessed to two major felonies on national TV; however apparently CBS has no moral qualms about that.
There are numerous other issues with the “report” as well. For example, they make the claim that AK-47s are going for $200 “on the street”, without providing a reference for where this number comes from. Seeing as the retail cost of a semi-automatic AK type rifle is well over $400, the “$200” figure becomes somewhat unbelievable. Furthermore, the Uzi is described as being able to fire 600 rounds “with a flick of the trigger”, which is quite simply hyperbole at its worst. While the stated rate of fire for the Uzi submachine gun is 600 rounds per minute, the last time I checked there were no 600 round magazines. A “flick of the trigger” certainly doesn’t indicate that the user would have to change magazines at least 12 times to fire those 600 rounds.
I’m troubled by CBS’s reporting on this – while I have come to expect sensationalism from the mainstream media when it covers the issue of firearms, the fact that the CBS report contains outright lies in addition to the usual amounts of half-truths is especially bothersome. As I mentioned above, the average person who watches the CBS Evening news isn’t going to pick up on the lies. And while the pro-gun blog community has done an excellent job of exposing said lies, without additional exposure CBS will essentially get away with lying to America…again.