Gun Control: A Colorblind Issue
In yet another appalling example of political correctness-induced cowardice on the part of America’s so-called mainstream media, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has dumped a black conservative columnist. Why? She penned a column defending the National Rifle Association and the rights of gun owners in response to an outrageous opinion piece from a retired leftist professor in Missouri asserting there is no difference between the NRA and ISIS, and that gun owners love their guns more than their children.
By Mark Anderson
Conservative columnist Stacy Washington wrote a column challenging a recent editorial written by an academic who compared the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the radical Islamic ISIS terrorist organization.
However, rather than stand up for her right to free speech, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where her freelance column had been a regular feature, unceremoniously dumped her.
Ms. Washington, a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality, and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” already had an understanding with the Post-Dispatch that if any one of her freelance columns was deemed unsuitable for publication, then the paper, which paid her on a per-column basis under an “at-will” arrangement, could simply refrain from running the column in question, but keep her on board. Yet she was let go after the April 28, 2017 column that sparked this controversy had already appeared in print.
Her column had challenged Missouri State University Journalism School professor (emeritus) George Kennedy, a regular guest columnist for the Columbia Missourian. He had claimed that the NRA was no better than ISIS, and that gun owners care more about their guns than their children. She wrote that Kennedy’s column was absurd, so the Post-Dispatch opinion editor Tod Robberson dropped her.
What was the reason Robberson cited for dropping her columns?
Ms. Washington’s unpardonable “sin” was that she allegedly failed to let Robberson know about her dastardly NRA affiliations. While attending the NRA’s annual conference in Atlanta, Ms. Washington saw an email from Robberson, in which he said that he was suspending her column. Referring to that April column, he claimed Ms. Washington was “advocating for the NRA while failing to disclose that you did media work on behalf of this lobbying organization and its official television station,” which “goes far beyond the bounds of any acceptable journalistic standard.”
He also alleged that she didn’t disclose that she served “multiple times” as a co-host and commentator on NRA-TV’s “Cam & Company.”
In a follow-up article that appeared in the NRA journal 1st Freedom, Ms. Washington explained that, before the start of her column, and again in January of this year, articles describing her participation in an NRA documentary appeared in the Post-Dispatch.
Her biography and online social media accounts “all state that I am a fourth-generation veteran, gun owner, Second Amendment supporter, and NRA member,” Ms. Washington explained. “Besides, does my appearance as a guest host for ‘Cam & Company’ on a few occasions make the [professor’s] NRA-ISIS comparison valid?
Here are excerpts from the column, headlined “Guns and the Media,” that led to her suspension:
Missouri School of Journalism professor emeritus George Kennedy offered his opinion of gun-owning NRA members in a Columbia Missourian commentary [as follows]: “The NRA is the acronym for the National Rifle Association, founded in 1871, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, and feared by politicians across America.” Really. Tons of politicians cowering in fear of the NRA, eh?
Kennedy . . . describes the barbaric nature of the Islamic State and goes on to say of law abiding, gun-owning Americans: “What makes the NRA so feared is its willingness to spend heavily and campaign aggressively in pursuit of its goal of removing all restrictions on the possession and use of firearms just about anywhere by just about anyone.”
To further illustrate the ridiculous nature of Kennedy’s comparison, when has a member of the NRA ever decapitated, set on fire, tossed from a rooftop or otherwise terrorized another American? The association [of the NRA with reported ISIS actions] is not only rife with improper context; it is false on its face. Yet the Missourian saw fit to publish it without question.
In her 1st Freedom piece, Ms. Washington summarized, “Upon reading [Kennedy’s] assertion that ‘we love our guns more than we love our children,’ I was compelled to write about this spurious comparison and the obvious editorial malpractice that permitted the approval of such copy without so much as a rebuttal.”
As for the bigger picture, Ms. Washington—a black woman who, being conservative and pro-gun, doesn’t fit the “liberal PC” image that media often project in order to stereotype and divide people—sees great irony in the fact that traditional print media is constantly losing its readership but still omits or misrepresents conservative viewpoints, rather than winning over more readers with better editorial balance in order to stay in business.
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at email@example.com.