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Some things never change

I leave, come back, and The New York Times is still on its rabid anti-gun crusade. (Oops. I said "crusade." Maybe someone will get offended.) Sometimes I think Andrew Sullivan is a little paranoid when he discusses theextreme bias of the new New York Times regime. Then I read stories like this one, and the paper's agenda becomes too blindingly obvious to ignore: The Times doesn't like guns. The Times doesn't like John Ashcroft. John Ashcroft said that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own a gun. The Times simply can't resist. They're going to milk that for all it's worth, regardless of whether there's any news to report.

The current "story" is that some criminal defendants ("scores," according to the Times, though the story manages to mention only one, and he in the twenty-third paragraph of the story) are citing Ashcroft's position as a defense to gun charges. Not a single person has succeeded by using this argument, but the Times gives space to their favorite group to rant hyperbolically:

"The Justice Department has created a very dangerous situation that is endangering public safety and forcing Justice Department prosecutors to litigate with one hand tied behind their backs," said Mathew S. Nosanchuk, litigation director of the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group in Washington. "Criminals are using the department's own Second Amendment language to challenge the gun laws."
Wow. If you got all your news from the Times, you'd think that John Ashcroft was personally travelling the country, breaking murderers out of prison.

And so the Times frames the debate as being between those who criticize John Ashcroft for saying that people have the right to bear arms, and those who criticize John Ashcroft for not following through after saying that people have the right to bear arms. Surely there was someone out there who would defend Ashcroft, or who would at least explain his department's "narrow and cryptic" views. But if so, the Times couldn't find him. Or didn't look. And thus, one-sidedly reported a non-story as if it were big news.


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