Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Get your gubmint hands off ... wait, what?

Quick, call yer congersman! And pick up some ammunition at the Wal-Mart. That Kenyan fella is coming for our guns!

Even by the standards of the Fair 'n' Balanced Network, "under heavy fire" is a bizarre reading of this lede:

The Supreme Court appeared poised Tuesday to issue a ruling that will expand to the states the high court's historic 2008 ruling that individuals have a federally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Overlooking a minor quibble (the Chicago handgun ban in question seems to be about keeping arms, not bearing arms), you have to wonder if anybody's even reading the copy anymore at Fox. What happened to that zero-tolerance policy for mistakes we were reading about last year?

There is always the possibility that it's not a mistake.* Here's one of those unsettling truths about journalism (parents, if you have impressionable young reporters in the room, you might want to cover their ears). People don't read the deathless prose word for word. If they've gotten what they want out of a hed, they're quite likely to move on to the next hed. So if you're a gold-hoarding Fox reader just waiting on the second coming of John Galt, it's a great way to start the day. And if you go on to read the story, well -- you got a nice surprise, didn't you?


* And as long as you control the operational definition of "heavy fire," you can guarantee that it's not technically untrue.

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Maybe it's just an extended noun phrase, where "under heavy fire" is describing where (when?) you have the right to bear your arms?

1:56 PM, March 03, 2010  
Blogger Strayhorn said...

I read a couple accounts of the arguments and I'd say "under heavy fire" is a massive exaggeration.

Besides, they missed the truly novel item on view: the arguments in support of the ban essentially were based on states' rights. Where's Jefferson Davis when you need him?

5:09 PM, March 03, 2010  

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