Dana Milbank reflects the exposed id of the spoiled, cossetted, inside-the-beltway journalist in exactly the same way as Nick Coleman, Doug Grow and Lori Sturdevant do for the self-absorbed, smug Twin Cities journalistic “elite”; all of them wrap a lot of high-minded-sounding wrapping around “being a hack for a party narrative” .
But a hack is a hack – and Milbank may never have been hackier than in today’s piece about an NRA press conference which revolved less around reporting and analyzing the news than in comparing it with Milbank’s narrative and, worse, the prejudices he’s accreted on the subject over decades of being an “elite journalist” and damn glad to tell you so.
But give Milbank this; he doesn’t bury his lede. He really, really doesn’t like gunnies (emphasis added):
The gun-lobby goons were at it again.
The National Rifle Association’s security guards gained notoriety earlier this year when, escorting NRA officials to a hearing, they were upbraided by Capitol authorities for pushing cameramen. The thugs were back Tuesday when the NRA rolled out its “National School Shield” — the gun lobbyists’ plan to get armed guards in public schools — and this time they were packing heat.
About 20 of them — roughly one for every three reporters — fanned out through the National Press Club, some in uniforms with gun holsters exposed, others with earpieces and bulges under their suit jackets.
In a spectacle that officials at the National Press Club said they had never seen before, the NRA gunmen directed some photographers not to take pictures, ordered reporters out of the lobby when NRA officials passed and inspected reporters’ briefcases before granting them access to the news conference.
The NRA has been the target of an awful lot of what would be called “hate speech” if directed at any regular schemiel. Death threats have been the least of it, the background noise.
If a media outlet were the target of this much hatred – whipped up by the likes of Milbank – do you think they might tend to their security?
Hint: Try to walk in to the Washington Post office without an armed security guard giving you a brusque once-over, if you don’t have an employee pass. Get back to us.
It’s The Beltway Way – Provinicalism? Milbank’s got it!
By journalistic custom and D.C. law, of course, reporters don’t carry guns to news conferences — and certainly not when the person at the lectern is the NRA’s Asa Hutchinson, an unremarkable former congressman and Bush administration official whom most reporters couldn’t pick out of a lineup.
Let that be a lesson, peasants; your worth is proportional to how much you’ve hobnobbed inside the beltway lately.
Everything They Need To Know About Policy Analysis, They Learned From Aaron Sorkin – Milbank rattles off the left’s shopping list of shame:
Thus has it gone so far in the gun debate in Washington. The legislation is about to be taken up in Congress, but by most accounts the NRA has already won. Plans for limiting assault weapons and ammunition clips are history, and the prospects for meaningful background checks are bleak.
Watch any of Aaron Sorkin’s poli-tainment; “The West Wing” and “The American President”. Liberal orthodoxy is always presented, without question, not just as the only rational approach, but the only approach. Which is one thing when you’re watching an overhyped TV show. It’s another when you’re reading the blithe assumptions of the “elite” media…
…in this case Milbank, who’s assuming that:
- “Limiting assault weapons” is of any use in fighting crime. It’s not; violent crime has dropped like a rock since the end of the 1994 Ban, even as the number of “assault weapons” in general circulation has ballooned).
- Limits on “ammunition clips” (grrr) are equally useless; even if criminals obeyed the law, mass murder is not a function of magazine size; having extra magazines is of much more use to defenders than attackers.
- The background checks being proposed, above and beyond the NICS system, are of any use in fighting crime. They’re not. Criminals don’t take background checks.
And yet all three are presented critically, as if questioning any of them is too absurd to think about.
If You Can’t Dazzle ‘Em With Fact, Baffle ‘Em With Strawmen – Milbank presents the facts that fit the narrative and ignores the pesky stuff next:
Now, The Post’s Philip Rucker and Ed O’Keefe report, the NRA is proposing language to gut the last meaningful gun-control proposal, making gun trafficking a federal crime. Apparently, the gun lobby thinks even criminals deserve Second Amendment protection.
“Gun trafficking”, depending on your definition of the term (and Milbank doesn’t define it, and I doubt that someone who refers to “Magazine Clips” would know how to define it if he had to) is already illegal, at various state and federal levels (unless you’re the Department of Justice, ironically). The “gun trafficking” bill that Milbank refers to, the Elijah Cummings bill, is a sloppy thing that would ensnare a lot of innocent gun transfers with felonies worth 20 years in prison, and the NRA is right to oppose it.
Not because “the NRA thinks criminals deserve” protection, but because it believes the innocent do.
Milbank is either too lazy to know the difference, or lacks the integrity to say so.
Boogeymen! – Next, Milbank – trapped in a world that he never made – whines about the state of the world:
If the NRA has its way, as it usually does, states will soon be weakening their gun laws to allow more guns in schools.
And why does Milbank think the NRA “usually” gets its way?
Because it’s a voracious all-powerful monster that consumes all in its path?
If that’s what it is, why does Milbank propose it got that way?
Because a solid, growing majority of the American people support it and its agenda. The NRA is rapidly heading toward five million members, and any legislative staffer will tell you that if a phone call representes the opinions of ten other people, then someone who’ll come out and shell out money to join an organization represents at least as many. There are more NRA members in the Twin Cities metro than there are actual activist members of every gun-control group in the country rolled up together.
That’s why the NRA is powerful; unlike their opponents, they represent actual people in vast numbers.
And all those uppity proles have just gotta piss Milbank off.
Dana Milbank, Low-information producer – Get a load of this next statement:
The top two recommendations Hutchinson announced Tuesday involved firearms in the schoolhouse. The first: “training programs” for “designated armed school personnel.” The second: “adoption of model legislation by individual states to allow for armed school personnel.”
Hutchinson claimed that his task force, which came up with these ideas, had “full independence” from the NRA. By coincidence, the proposals closely matched those announced by the NRA before it formed and funded the task force.
Oh, cry us a river, Dana. Everyone claims to be independent of their side’s 900 pound gorilla. Major media claim they’re not at the beck and call of the Democrats. Governor Dayton claims Alida Messinger doesn’t make him dance like an organ-grinder monkey. Let it go.
The task force did scale back plans to protect schools with armed volunteer vigilantes, opting instead for arming paid guards and school staff — at least one in every school. States and school districts “are prepared” to pay for it, Hutchinson declared.
Milbank seems unaware that citizens with carry permits are 2-3 orders of magnitude less likely to hurt anyone (unjustifiably) than the general public – including journalists.
The task force garnished the more-guns recommendations with some good ideas, such as better fencing, doors and security monitoring for schools, and more mental-health intervention. But much of that is in the overall Senate legislation that the NRA is trying to kill.
And why does Milbank suppose the NRA is trying to kill those passive “good ideas?”
Because they’re part of a bill with many noxious, stupid provisions.
Save It For “Lifetime Movie Scriptwriting” Class, Mr. Milbank – Milbank’s big finish is apparently also an audition for a Mad Max reboot:
If so, American schoolchildren may grow accustomed to the sort of scene Hutchinson caused Tuesday, protected by more armed guards than a Third World dictator.
Where does Milbank live?
A quarter of schools have armed guards already. In urban schools with over 1,000 students, the figure is already over 90%. Many schools feature metal detectors, pat-downs and permanently-assigned uniformed officers.
Our kids, bombarded by our onanistic, self-absorbed media with images of carnage that bely the fact that schools are safer now than they’ve been in decades, and that violent crime is down 40-odd percent in the past 20 years and is falling faster as the number of civilian guns explodes, are forced to endure “huddle on the floor and hope you don’t get killed” drills – called “lock downs” by more clinical-sounding school administrators.
Seriously – on what planet is “huddling in the corner and hoping you don’t get murdered” better than “there’s someone here whose job it is to protect us?”
Note to Dana Milbank: I’m sure your journalistic credentials, including your “independence” from the nation’s major gun control groups, are in order.
But if you were working as a PR flak for the Brady Factory, how would your writing be any different?