April 17, 2007

Does ABC News or Brian Ross Have Any Integrity at All?

A day after posting a blog entry replete with falsehoods, and despite more than dozens of comments pointing out the factual inaccuracies of the story, Brian Ross and Dana Hughes of the ABC News blog "The Blotter" have yet to issue a retraction.

Does ABC News have an obligation to report facts, or is peddling a political agenda buttressed by lies their preferred stock in trade?

As I noted yesterday, the ABC News blog did not get so much as a single fact in their blog entry correct.

The Ross entry states that high-capacity magazines "became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons." This is a patently false statement, containing no truth at all.

High-capacity magazines have been around for more than half a century, and the sale of high-capacity magazines was not impacted whatsoever by the 1994 Crime Bill. These magazines were freely and commercially available, both in retail stores and online, without interruption, for the 10-year life of the ban, the decades preceding it, and afterward.

Ross implies that high-capacity magazines are now for sale on Web sites as a result of the ban expiring. Again, this is a deceptive, inaccurate statement.

The fact of the matter is that high-capacity magazines were always available for purchase (as noted above) both online, and in retail stores, without interruption.

I stated yesterday:

This Blotter entry by Ross and Hughes is a study in bias, wrapped around ignorance, justified by fear.

I'll now add to this that it is now quite possible that Ross' entry is a study in willful media deception as well. The Blotter's own moderated comments section contains dozens of posts warning ABC News that the information contained in the post was incorrect.

Brian Ross and Dana Hughes can't even get their facts right about the 94 AW law nor can ABC fabricate a legit connection between high capacity magazine availability and this crime. Just the usual liberal bias against gun ownership. Posted by: sssss | Apr 16, 2007 3:07:54 PM


For the record, the federal law that lapsed didn't have any effect on the sale of high-cap magazines. Sales of existing magazines with capacities over ten rounds was entirely legal after the 1994 Act. What was prohibited was the manufacture of new magazines.
Posted by: Jeffersonian | Apr 16, 2007 3:09:34 PM


The magazines (not clips) were available during the ban on them, as anything that had been manufactured prior to the ban was grandfathered in. The "ban" banned nothing and was democratic showmanship at it's worse.
You can't ban firearms in the US, they are a constitutionally protected right. Again, the shooter is at fault, not the tool he used.
Posted by: Brian Heck | Apr 16, 2007 3:25:08 PM


Lets stick to facts for a side story. This article implies that the person guilty of this used large capacity clips and assault style weapons. all unknown @ this time. As an earlier post stated - lots of small capacity magazines can sould like one large capacity. The Magazine size limit was no clips 10 or over could be manufactured for sale in the US. this didn't stop the existing quantity to be resold.
As to the description of spraying requires large capacity clips. Two handguns with 9 round clips would sound like 18 rounds going off rapidly. If the person was truely Spraying fire into classrooms then Large capacity clips were the least infraction. Automatic weapons as seen in hollywood flicks spraying fire downrange were banned in 1934 for private ownership. either the person had a license for the weapon (unlikely)or modified (in violation of the law) the weapon to fire automaticly.
Again I ask to stick to facts and not jump to conclusions about what may have exasperated the situation to promote a political agenda.
Posted by: glenn | Apr 16, 2007 3:26:18 PM

This is just a sampling of comments left in the moderated comments thread accompanying the Ross blog entry.
Every single one of these comments went past an ABC News employee. This ABC News employee either decided not to investigate the multiple inaccuracies noted by readers, or passed the information on to Ross, who also declined to address the multiple falsehoods contained in his post. In either event, Ross and ABC News have had ample time to correct a blog entry devoid of facts, and they have declined to do so.

This is media malpractice and what many would consider willful deception.

Facts and truth do not apparently matter to ABC News.

Pushing a political agenda is clearly their goal, even if that agenda must be supported by abject falsehoods.

Update: It is also worth noting that one of the weapons used did not have a high-capacity magazine by any definition, and the other is typically used with a standard 15-round non-extended magazine that is moe or less an industry norm for pistols of its size.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 17, 2007 08:23 AM

Holy cow! ABC News caught in a lie? I'm spiralling, spiralling!

Posted by: Dan Collins at April 17, 2007 08:36 AM

ABC still hasn't come clean on its reporting linking the Anthrax terrorist attacks on American soil to Saddam Hussein. Some people still think the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. Expect the falsehoods from which myths are made to become the facts. It'll take years of dedicated work sorting out the spin, lies, half-truths, propaganda, etc that spews forth daily from our government, media sources and instant pundits. ... Hang it up.

Posted by: Jethro at April 17, 2007 09:23 AM

The Browning High Power was patented in 1927. It held 14 rounds 80 years ago. It is still being manufactured.

Posted by: Rick at April 17, 2007 09:44 AM

High-capacity magazines have been around for more than half a century, and the sale of high-capacity magazines was not impacted whatsoever by the 1994 Crime Bill.

Not entirely true- they became quite a bit more expensive once they stopped making new ones for the civilian market, by a factor of about 3x.

Posted by: rosignol at April 17, 2007 09:57 AM

guns don't kill people. Only those with student visas who can buy guns and carry them into school does a guy, not a citizen, buy a gun in the short time in this country and with at best a student visa (hey, can a terrorist student from Pakistan do this too?)...

The silly posting every once in a while about some guy whos uses his legal gun to stop a theief hardly deals with what is going on in our country. I don't want to ban guns but I do want to see better controls put in place...
Now, if you buy a car, it is registered, insured and checked yearly for you to drive it (license renewaql), but guns???

You can dump on this or that media outlet but there are now some 30 plus kids dead. And you can say that not much really happens at our American schools: only Texas, Columbine, and now many will it take before you note a problem ?

meanwhile, here where guns are owned and carried so all will be safe, we get this in res-ponse and at a college campus!

Posted by: joseph hill at April 17, 2007 10:00 AM
Not entirely true- they became quite a bit more expensive once they stopped making new ones for the civilian market, by a factor of about 3x.

It depends on the magazine. While prices did increase for some magazines (and yes some magazines did triple in cost), others remained virtually unchanged, or even went down slightly because of the glut of magazines on the market.

During the entire ban you could routinely find 30-round 7.62x39 magazines for $10-$15, and 30-round 5.56/.223 AR-type magazines for $15-$20.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 17, 2007 10:06 AM

It is not true that automatic weapons were banned from private ownership in 1934. That law put a $200 transfer tax on the sale of such weapons. Later, another law limited private ownership to the existing transferable stock of such weapons, and that's where it stands today. Automatic weapons are outlawed for private ownership in some states, as a matter of state law. In states where they are legal, purchase requires an FBI background check with fingerprints and sign-off by local law enforcement. The transfer tax remains at $200.

Posted by: Byron at April 17, 2007 10:09 AM

Re: licensing drivers: how many people die in the US each year in traffic accidents? How many are drunk (despite laws prohibiting drinking and driving)? How many people are hurt because of willfull reckless driving, or by people deliberately attempting to harm others (I've seen this more than 10 times)?

So, let's ban automobiles.

Cars are a lot more dangerous in the hands of young people than guns are...

Posted by: anon at April 17, 2007 10:21 AM

Josh there are rather significant controls in place concerning the purchase of firearms, many states (e.g. NJ and CA) impose elaborate impediments to personal ownership.

I'd also point out that mass shootings are fortunately very very rare. Most have occurred during the contemporary era of gun control.

Lastly car registration and drivers' licensing schemes tend to confirm the futility of regulation. You'll notice that mortalities related to vehicle accidents are almost entirely independent of driver and ownership regulations.

Posted by: Max at April 17, 2007 10:22 AM

I'm in agreement with African American blogger, Villager, who said, "AP reports that the 32 people massacred in this episode is the “deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history”. MSNBC reports that this is the “deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.” I imagine you can look at the first paragraph in most of the reporting being done in your local area and find the same verbiage being used to describe the carnage in Blacksberg, VA."

I wish that AP, MSNBC and other news outlets would be intellectually accurate and honest. The “deadliest mass shooting” or “deadliest shooting rampage” in our nation’s history occurred on June 1, 1921 in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Tulsa Race Riot, also known as the 1921 Race Riot, the Tulsa Race War, or the Greenwood Riot, was a large-scale civil disorder. During the 16 hours of rioting, over 800 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, an estimated 10,000 were left homeless, 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire, and $1.8 million (nearly $17 million after adjustment for inflation) in property damage. Our glorious Black Wall Street was destroyed in the carnage of that day.

39 people were officially reported killed, although most experts agree that the actual number of Black citizens killed during the riot to be around 300. You can read about it yourself here, here, or here.

This isn’t an effort to compare horrendous situations. Rather, it is part of the continuing effort in the Electronic Village and elsewhere to ensure that OURstory isn’t ignored or forgotten as others write his-story. National columnist Jim Clingman recently wrote about his experience with eight of the survivors of the Black Wall Street murders.

While we mourn for those murdered this week in Virginia, we ask you not allow the Tulsa Race War murders to be swept under the rug of distorted, revised, and repressed history. We must never forget, and we must not allow others to forget either.

Posted by: African American Opion at April 17, 2007 10:25 AM

In response to Mr. Joseph Hill's post: You don't need permission from state or federal government to buy a car, and you don't need a license to operate that car on private property. And, in any event, cars aren't a protected constitutional right. Your analogy falls flat.

Posted by: Basil Duke at April 17, 2007 10:25 AM

Mr. Hill's comment is a study in anti-gun ignorance. Three data points do not a trend make. Let's see, in a nation of 300,000,000 people with an estimated 250,000,000 guns in the hands of 75,000,000 gun owners, a single gunman killed 35+ people at a college that BANNED GUNS ON CAMPUS. So obviously the problem here is gun ownership. Oh those students would be alive today if only there were more pointless feelgood gun laws on the books. The fact that if 1 student in 100 had been armed for self defense, the whole equation would have changed is just swept under the rug.

Mr. Hill mentions Columbine, Texas, and now Virginia Tech and then asks the obvious many will it take before you note a problem? Of course blinded by his bias he presumes the answer is more gun control, he misses the one cogent fact linking all three of these incidents: in each case possession of a firearm was banned on the campus in question. Staff and Faculty were not allowed to have guns for self defense at any one of these sites - only the security staff were. Each instance here is a microcosm of what the consequences of the anti-gunner's utopian fantasy. "Just disarm the sheep" they cry, "and the wolf will have no reason to attack, and if he does, the shepherd will protect us."

It is the willful ignorance and bias of individuals like Mr. Hill that is truly dangerous. Because of people like him, Virginia Tech banned guns, and because of people like him there was no one on campus but local security to protect the students. When they failed the police were called, well now that worked out well didn't it? Guns were banned on campus and by relying on feel good legislation, campus security, and local police to protect the students we now have over 30 people dead. So of course the answer is to do more of the same, only faster and harder. Sadly, in their effort to shield their eyes from the reality of life, people like Mr. Hill are blind to the blood on their own hands.

Posted by: Robert Modean at April 17, 2007 10:44 AM

I read one comment comparing guns to cars, what with registrations, inspections, etc... To my knowledge, driving a car (possessing a drivers licence) is a privelege, not a right. Gun ownership, however, is a CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHT. Big difference.

Posted by: Mike at April 17, 2007 10:47 AM

Wouldn't the fact the high-capacity magazines were always widely available, even during the assault weapons ban, actually buttress the case in favor of MORE restrictions? I think the falsehood actually hurts the bias that you are alleging.

Posted by: TruthSeeker at April 17, 2007 11:13 AM

Any body see this?

From Allah at Hot Air...

Now the ChiTrib has updated to add: “Cho also died with the words ‘Ismail Ax’ in red ink on the inside of one of his arms.”

Did a little research on the name Hui -doesn't seem to mean much in Korea however in China Hui is a name associated with a large portion of the country's muslims....

Any one have any insight on "Ismail Ax"?

Posted by: Dhimmi Shelter at April 17, 2007 11:55 AM

Guns vs cars.
There is no way those can be compared. Cars are made for transportation. Guns are made for hurting people. And don't say they are made for protection, its an lethal object, which only protective ability is fear.
The problem from the start on, is the fact that gun ownership is protected by the constitution, and hence very hard to get rid of. This "right" have created an abundance of weapons in America, for both law-abiding people and villains. Had there been enforced strict restrictions, registration and such, I do not believe that gun armed robberies would be have these high rate. Robberies with a but higher potential threat to cause injury and fatalities.

Posted by: Aaberg at April 17, 2007 12:00 PM

Hey, Aaberg - don't you find it interesting that the guns that are "made to hurt people" kill THOUSANDS fewer people than the cars "made for transportation"?

Guess we better ban cars, eh?

Posted by: Tex Lovera at April 17, 2007 12:17 PM

A spokesman for Virginia Tech, Larry Hincker, crowed what a victory it was for the Virginia state legislature to defeat a bill which would allow those students and university employees to carry on campus: "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."

Yeah, that worked out really well, Lar.

Also, here's and interesting comparison based directly on news accounts between the Killeen, Texas Luby's restaurant massacre of 24 people (before conceal carry was legal in Texas) and two weeks later at a Shoney's restaurant where a licensed gun owner severely wounded and killed two thugs who were beginning to herd 20 people into a walk-in freezer. No innocents were killed.

Of course your average liberal, to escape the inescapble conclusion, would claim this is an apples and oranges comparison since one episode took place at a Luby's restaurant and the other one took place at a Shoney's restaurant - different franchises!

The comparison can be found here:

Posted by: Hankmeister at April 17, 2007 01:47 PM

"Does ABC News or Brian Ross Have Any Integrity at All?"


Posted by: thebronze at April 17, 2007 02:50 PM

This all begs the question: If gun control doesn't stop criminals from getting guns, why should a law against concealed firearms stop anyone from carrying a concealed firearm? If it's concealed, who is going to know? If you have to use it, it's self-defense and no jury will convict you.

Posted by: TruthSeeker at April 17, 2007 03:07 PM

Thanks for writing this piece. I mentioned Ross' article in a post today because it went up right in the middle of the massacre, and as I think I rightly pointed out, it was nothing more than using this mass murder to push his own agenda. I also contend that the article itself was pre-written, just waiting for a day such as yesterday to put it up.

And no, ABC, Ross & Co. have no decency, let alone credentials as journalists.

Posted by: Michael Linn Jones at April 17, 2007 03:30 PM

"If it's concealed, who is going to know? If you have to use it, it's self-defense and no jury will convict you."

Hogwash. Here in MA they'll convict you - not for shooting the bad guy, but for illegal possession.

The anti-gun types are relying on the fact that pro-gun types are strong on law and order. They'll obey the laws, even the stupid ones. Hence the tactic of piling on more and more gun regulations - criminals will ignore them, but they're not the targets of the regulations. And hence the counter-tactic of insisting that we have enough firearms laws, start enforcing the ones we already have. They were never intended to be enforced - not against real criminals, at least.

Posted by: tom swift at April 17, 2007 03:31 PM


"If it's concealed, who is going to know? If you have to use it, it's self-defense and no jury will convict you."

The point is, the people who obtain concealed carry permits are overwhelmingly law abiding citizens. We comply with the law. We follow the rules. And we are no danger to our fellow citizens. We don't want to break the law regardless of whether we are in danger of being caught.

Posted by: colburn at April 17, 2007 04:05 PM

"Hogwash. Here in MA they'll convict you - not for shooting the bad guy, but for illegal possession."

That comment comes from a mind that doesn't understand the difference between doing what's right or doing the right thing.

Posted by: Dave Hein at April 17, 2007 07:42 PM

I linked from Virginia Tech: The Day After.

Posted by: Bill Faith at April 17, 2007 08:34 PM

Ross is a tick turd. Last night, Primetime ran a piece by Ross on the gun laws of Virginia. Its purpose was to show how easy it is to buy a gun in tha state. The whole thing was a hit piece. He tried as hard as he could to make the gun store owner sound like a criminal. He even started by saying something about how four police had linked four guns sold at the store back to murders. Since he knew that everything was 100% legal, Ross had to manipulate sound bites to paint a different picture. The best effort was a quote from the owner that he had done everything by the book. The way it was inserted into the story, it came across as the dealer being defensive despite not having anything to be defensive about. he At one point, he even said that it took "less time than it takes to get a hairut" to buy a gun.

ABC should be embarassed by Ross' reporting.

Posted by: Steve L. at April 18, 2007 07:15 AM

Mr. Hill:

Apparently the shooter, while not a citizen, was a legal resident and had lived in America for some time. The purchanse that has been traced was completely legal. Further, as others have noted, to use Texas, Columbine and VA Tech as your only data points for analyzing the effects of gun violence is incomplete. For example, why not also include the recent Salt Lack City mall incident. If you do so, you will find two glaring differences between SLC and Columbine/VA Tech: 1. fewer deaths (5 in SLC vs. 17/32), and 2. the presence of a licensed, trained citizen carrying a personal firearm that was able to engage and stop the shooter as soon as possible.

The fantasy of snapping one's fingers and making all guns in America simultaneously vanish into thin air is not just a bad idea but impractical in the extreme. It is impossible to stop a determined actor from killing. The most effective way consistently demonstrated to limit the severity of the event is to reduce the time the killer has, and getting ordnance on target does this every time.

AAO: I doubt many would argue the Tulsa Race Riot or Rosewood incident weren't tragic, but I think the unstated assumption of the "deadiest" moniker is that is the deadliest by an individual or small group (e.g. Columbine) as a single event.

Posted by: submandave at April 18, 2007 11:16 AM

Dear Aaberg:

Several flaws in your liberal viewpoint argument:

1) If strict gun controls had been the norm in our Constitution, then the only difference in our society would be that the criminals (who will never respect the laws of the land) would know that if they had a gun, there would be no one on the streets, or in a private home, capable of defending themselves. Therefore, less fear for the criminals, and likely even higher robbery/other gun violence on their part.

2) The liberal argument when the cars vs. guns issue is brought up, that cars are for transportation, and guns are to hurt and kill, holds no water. In the hands of responsible and law-abiding citizens, the primary purpose for a gun IS self-defense, and to protect one's self and family against predators with no respect for life.

3) A car in the hands of an irresponsible driver is a 3000lb. lethal weapon, capable of far greater death and destruction than a typical handgun. The relationship between a car and a responsible vs. irresponsible driver, is exactly the same as that of a gun in the hands of a responsible vs. irresponsible citizen. Therefore, if you make the argument that guns should be banned or strictly controlled, then you would by default be making that same argument against cars.

I suggest you go by and rethink your logic in your argument before objectively forming an opinion!

Posted by: Dave at April 23, 2007 09:04 AM

Sorry I missed this dust up. Ross shot his mouth off in UK yesterday, interviewing Scottish anti-gun nuts who can't understand why we won't ban all hand guns like they have. You and your commenters have hit many of the major points.

There is an inverse statistical relationship between gun ownership and violent crime. The more private citizens who own and carry guns, the lower the incidence of murders, voluntary manslaughters, assaults and forceable rapes.

Compare Washington DC, where hand guns are banned to Kennesaw GA where gun ownership is required. One crime rate going up; one crime rate coming down!

99.8% of all firearms and 99.6% of all handguns are never used in a crime.

Since 1991, the US has added 70,000,000 privately owned firearms and right-to-carry states have increased from 17 to 37. There are more guns, more gun owners, more owners carrying, and more people living in areas where people are carrying weapons. What about violent crime? It is down by 35%.

Va Tech is a gun free zone. If someone in Blacksburg had had a weapon and shot Cho when he pulled out his guns, those kids and their profs might be alive today. The administration at Virginia Tech is in some legal trouble for insisting on the campus ban even after an armed fugitive was loose on campus last fall. A fine job the university did protecting its campus.

If I were a college student, I would carry a concealed weapon regardless of the school's policy.

Funerals are more expensive that Glocks.

Posted by: arch at April 24, 2007 04:27 PM