True to form, Fox News is rolling out a massive PR blitz in favor of the NRA’s “Guns Everywhere” agenda. It’s a free advertising bonanza for gun nuts and rightist politicians who exploit the controversy as a wedge issue. This morning there were fourteen separate stories on Fox Nation in addition to those airing on multiple programs on the Fox News Channel. And in every case the tone mirrored gun worshipers who are willing to tolerate mass murder every so often in order to hang on to their assault weapons.
Much of what is giving them their latest case of the willies is an off-hand remark by Vice-President Joe Biden. Speaking about bipartisan meetings with people and groups concerned about the subject, he told reporters that “There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken.” That was all it took to heat up the right to boiling, even though the reality is that there are very few and limited measures that can be implemented in that manner. Biden was merely referencing the fact that his review would be comprehensive, as any responsible approach to such a serious subject should be.
The resulting outrage echoed across the mediasphere with lunatics like Alex Jones threatening an armed rebellion, and NRA board member Ted Nugent comparing gun nuts to Rosa Parks. An item on Drudge made comparisons to Stalin and Hitler. Of course the usual suspects in the pundit and political classes immediately began inciting fears of a tyrannical Obama confiscating all guns and abolishing the Constitution. Among those were Fox’s Charles Krauthammer, who declared any regulation of guns was unconstitutional and would lead to an insurrection, and newly minted Tea Party senator Ted Cruz, who concurred.
It really is impossible to have a rational, productive discussion with hair-trigger crackpots like these inflaming their followers and distorting the facts. They disregard the actual legal precedents with regard to regulation, as well as their own saner associates (i.e. Gen. Stanley McChrystal), and even recent polls that show that majorities of NRA members favor stricter controls on certain types of guns. In this environment it will require lawmakers to focus on the facts and the people’s will, rather than the lobbyists and political opportunists, if we hope to make our country safer.