There are two forms of focus that have overrun modern politics, a short-term situation based focus on stories of relative popularity and a long-term issue based focus on issues of importance. The difference may be best seen in the discussion of firearms and the Second Amendment. Across America news media target the 2nd Amendment with a limited focus, isolated to little more than tangential connections to acts of madness, prior and at the time.
It’s a tactic that has proven to be effective in raising ratings, magnifying fear, and empowering certain politicians with a desire to eliminate a constitutional freedom as old as the nation itself. Countering that, in Binghamton, NY on October 29, 2018, and other parts of the nation, Col. Oliver North has taken a long-term approach to the issues of violence, firearms, safety and the cornerstone of American freedom.
Col. Oliver North is the current president of the National Rifle Association (NRA). It’s a position of importance in preserving the Second Amendment, individual rights, and limited Government. It is also a position despised by many major news media and politicians of a particular viewpoint. Thus, in the wake of updated NRA ratings of politicians at every level of Government, Col. North came to the City of Binghamton to endorse incumbent Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. But the newsroom edits of the visit, a first for the hub of the Southern Tier of New York, hardly reflect this.
New York gun legislation and voters
In New York State it is estimated that some 5 million citizens own a firearm. That’s roughly more than 1/4 of the population – which has been dwindling at a record pace in no small part due to the policies of persecution against those law abiding citizens. Laws like the NY SAFE Act, which has been rejected by roughly 93% of the population, and proposed legislation like the Red Flag Bills currently in the State Assembly and State Senate – which destroy Due Process as a matter of both wording and function – further the 60 year exodus that has stripped the State of no less than 18 members of Congress (with potentially another 2 to be lost in 2021). More recently tens of thousands of businesses have closed or moved, taking neighbors, jobs, and tax revenue in exchange for an illusion of safety that has failed to flower in every State such action has been proposed.
It was because of such awareness of loss, at every level of importance, on issues that have both long-term causes and consequences, that the NRA severely lowered the ratings of Assemblymembers like Anthony Brindisi (who is the Democrat challenger for the NY-22). It was in efforts to reverse these trends, that Col. North endorsed Rep. Tenney. But the news media had a situation it wanted to promote – a mass shooting of unquestionable evil from the past. Few reporters with a desire for advancement, few editors with an eye to the accounting bottom line, few major media organization would miss an opportunity to capitalize on the potential eyeballs such a presence and timing allowed.
President Trump on the ballot
If there were no President Donald Trump, nor actions of a madman bent on vile and horrific acts, it would be expected that a visiting head of such a significant organization would raise questions like: Why were ratings of so many politicians lowered? What Bills are these politicians supporting and how do they affect the lives of so many Americans?
In an election year, without President Trump, news coverage would be expected to include: Why is this particular politician endorsed? What is this politician doing to benefit 5 million people directly, and some 18 million in the State indirectly? How can this politician benefit the nation by defending a core bedrock of the Constitution?
All but one member of the media at the event in Binghamton chose instead to focus on the short-term situation. They focused on selling fear, and the click-bait of emotional headlines. They sought an emotional response from an unsuspecting populace, forfeiting the long-term issue being presented.
Some will be satisfied with the agenda of the media on October 29, 2018. Some will laud the intended political benefit of a thinly-veiled political preference at the cost of a potential remedy to an issue that has long existed and showing no sign of going away. But none will gain a long-term benefit by such action of news media.
Political influence at risk
The City of Binghamton, the Southern Tier, and the New York 22nd Congressional District all are among the leaders in some of the worst statistics in New York State and the nation. Yet Col. North, with the NRA, joined a series of high-profile leaders of the nation in coming to this location anyway. Some would consider that a sign that improvement and prosperity are on the horizon for the region and perhaps the State. Given a change in direction of decades old policies, many forced from the top of State Government (and some from uniform if not zombie-like political blocks in DC) flowing down through a stranglehold of statewide partisan politics, that failed to work decades ago. But it would seem that such a long-term solution to issues remains fodder to the partisan political hit pieces that hope ensure more of the same, with tons of headlines and punditry praise from an elite few.
Michael “Vass” Vasquez
President – M V Consulting, Inc
** Mr. Vasquez is a Republican political commentator and active advocate of the Second Amendment. He has given many speeches on the subject, including recent featured speaking events on opposition to Red Flag legislation for the AFRTC and at SUNY Bromme College. **