MSNBC took the occasion of a triple homicide on Chicago’s south side to push its own anti-“assault rifle” meme on February 27 by including the words “assault rifle” in the headline of its story on the incident. No other media source, however, took this unusual step. So, here we have some old fashioned bias by MSNBC.
MSNBC’s version of the story clumsily screams “Man charged in assault rifle killings of 3 teens” over the top of its AP wire feed. Yet, while every story in the news and certainly every AP story mentions that the killer used an “assault rifle,” only MSNBC put the words in the headline. This befits MSNBC’s anti-gun agenda, presumably.
It is well known that many news outlets write their own headlines for AP wire stories. Not every paper, TV station or radio website does this, of course, but it does happen frequently. So, it is no surprise to see the MSNBC website with a different headline than other versions of the same AP wire story. However, no other story has “assault rifle” in the headline but MSNBC.
A Google search of the first line of the AP story that appears on MSNBC’s website shows a few different headlines, including:
- Man charged in triple shootings of Chicago teens
- Prosecutors: Man charged with murder in shootings of 3 teens on Chicago’s South Side
Authorities have made the claim that the killer, gang member Martin Ybarra, used what they term an assault rifle in the crime, but no details about what that means is given.
Of course, most gun owners and those familiar with guns understand that the term assault rifle really doesn’t have much meaning. It’s an ill defined term usually used by people that want to impute a negative connotation to firearms, it’s more of a scare tactic than a properly descriptive one. This being the case, it is interesting that MSNBC elected to put the term in its headline, isn’t it? It is telling that no other news source did so.
I don’t know about you, but were I a family member of one of the three killed I might be a tad offended that the gun got top billing on MSNBC! Perhaps the victims don’t figure so prominently in the minds of the headline writers at the TV cable newser?