Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I wouldn't mind if they didn't call themselves journalists

I thought I was done with this subject, but they keep pulling me back in.

The self-important "Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting" released a report yesterday that was reprinted by Maine newspapers. The headline was States have subsidized makers of assault rifles to tune of $19 million.

However, I read it and found no subsidies or assault rifles. The sloppiness of this editorial masquerading as a news story is apparent just two paragraphs in.

Taxpayers across the country are subsidizing the manufacturers of assault rifles used in multiple mass killings, including the massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. last month.
A Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting examination of tax records shows that five companies that make semi-automatic rifles have received more than $19 million in tax breaks, most within with the past five years.

Semi-automatic rifles, by definition, are not assault rifles. Tax breaks are not subsidies, just as deciding not to punch someone in the face doesn't mean you healed them. The article repeatedly uses those terms interchangeably. As a journalist I know how crucial getting details right is for a story. This is something an intern would be embarrassed to turn in, and they're treating it like an opus.

The article finds every anti-gun source it can and makes a layer cake with them. This is what activists do, and that's acceptable for activists, but the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting insists on labeling itself "A nonprofit, nonpartisan news service that writes and distributes stories that uncover and explain the actions of state, local and federal government."

If you want to call yourselves journalists, expect to be judged like ones. Either the reporters and editors are so sloppy that they don't know the difference between a tax break and a subsidy or they just assume all wealth belongs to the government and anything not confiscated is a gift.

Well, if that's the case, I am going to continue to not steal money from the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting and call myself a donor.

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