PD reporter: Objectivity only possible if both sides hold press conference
Approximately 12 hours after the Case Western Reserve University shooting, Ohioans For Concealed Carry issued a brief remark concerning the tragedy, explaining our belief that to comment before all the facts were known (and while the families of dead and injured were still grieving) would be totally inappropriate. We also predicted that the anti-self-defense activists would observe no such measure of grace or propriety. We were (unfortunately) right.
So when a Cleveland Plain Dealer reader wrote to the reporter who covered the "Million" Mom March's ambulance chasing, and took her to task for not presenting both sides, what do you suppose her excuse was?
I could have given your side equal time, but "...your organization didn't think of having it's own press conference."
The Plain Dealer's Joan Mazzolini seems to have a problem. She apparently doesn't know how to gather facts without someone holding a press conference. Consider the following email exchange:
"Raynolds, Paul - USA" 05/13/03 11:32AM
Re: "These Moms Want Tougher Gun Control Laws"
I just read this article and was surprised by the fact that did not bother to add any balance to the story. Instead you repeat idiotic statements as if they were fact. For example;
"...including the deadly shooting spree at Case Western Reserve University, could have been prevented by tougher gun laws." Really, how?? Did it occur to you that this gunman had already broken numerous laws during his shooting spree? Do you or the MM's really believe that this guy would have complied with different laws?
Also, you quote Ms Helper; Helper said the experience persuaded her of the need to ban semiautomatic weapons. "Any reasonable society would ban these," Helper said. "There is no sporting use for these, no legitimate use." Really, no legitimate use for any semi-auto's huh; funny, I can think of two:
1) Competition shooting (like they do in the Olympics).
2) Self defense (if Ms Helper had taken responsibility for her own safety she probably wouldn't have been shot).
Then, the MM's just couldn't resist an attack on Ohio's pending CCW legislation.
You quote Ms Craig as saying; "Rosetta Craig, the chapter's vice president, said the semiautomatic guns used in the CWRU shootings could be carried in a concealed manner under the proposed new law." Yet, you don't bother to include any commentary from the other side. You could have mentioned that the whole point of CCW is self defense and that if someone had been legally armed the Case Western shooter may have been stopped in his tracts before Ms Helper was shot.
Indeed, there are roughly 30 states with some form of CCW and not one of them have experienced the wild shootouts that million moms predict for every traffic mishap and every disagreement. CCW permit holders are some of the safest and responsible citizens anywhere in the country and for you not to point this out betrays your anti-gun bias.
The Plain Dealer is a good paper and it's readers deserve a little more from it's reporters.
All the best, Paul Raynolds
From: JOAN MAZZOLINI [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 11:36 AM
To: Raynolds, Paul
Subject: Re: These moms demand tougher gun control laws
Paul - As I've told other people if the organizations promoting concealed carry, etc. in Ohio had thought of having a press conference saying that if people at CWRU had been allowed guns the death, etc. wouldn't have happened we would have written that story with equal play as well.
However, Ohioans for Concealed Carry didn't think of it or didn't do it, but the Million Moms did. Maybe you need to talk to the NRA or the Ohio organization and find out why it didn't think of having a press conference to get out their side of the argument.
Thanks for your remarks.
At 12:21 PM 5/13/2003, Raynolds, Paul - USA wrote:
Thanks for reply. Like I said, the Plain Dealer is a fine newspaper. I'm sure that it's reporters cover stories from all sides even when a particular side hasn't called a press conference.
While I'm not a member of Ohioans For Concealed Carry and don't speak for them, my guess is that they were reluctant to use the CCW tragedy for political purposes. The MM's obviously don't share this reluctance. If anything, they appear gleeful at the prospect of dancing on the fresh graves of shooting victims.
I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job Joan, but I do think you could have worked a little harder on this one.
All the best,