To the Editor,
The Robesonian ran an Associated Press article on Jan. 20, 2013 by Marilynn Marchione (Associated Press). She stated in the opening sentence this untruth: “Nearly as many Americans die from guns as car crashes each year.” This is false. Yet the article was not in the opinion section, but in the regular news section. The actual numbers are very telling and different. The number of deaths from vehicle crashes in 2010 were 32,885 total, the number of deaths from gun violence totaled 11,493 (US census and FBI stats). Gun deaths are one third of those of car crashes. The correct stats would have negated Marchione’s opening statement, making it impossible to spread her gun-hating opinions.
Another example that has been in the news lately is that an “assault rifle” was used in the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut. On numerous occasions, an assault rifle has been pictured with the caption “like the one used in the Sandy Hook shooting.” The president’s proposed gun ban would target assault rifles. Many “low-information” Americans would tell you that an assault rifle was used in that horrible shooting. It was not. That disturbed young man had pistols with him in the school. He left the rifle in the car. He never used it.
These are but two examples of the misinformation we are being fed daily by the media in order to usher in what I believe is a creeping, slow change in America’s perceptions. The vast majority of people accept what they see on television and what they read in the papers as truth. They are operating under the delusion that anything they are told by these outlets will be the truth. Too many instances of misinformation, quietly submitted untruths, and outright lies are being handed to Americans by the media every day.
It is your responsibility as journalists to provide accurate information to your readers. A simple 12-second follow up on a search engine would have revealed the inaccuracy in the AP article you ran on Sunday. It is a grave responsibility that all news media holds. It is up to you to make sure what you report is the truth. The safety and future of our great country depends on a free, impartial, and accurate press. I ask that you take this responsibility more seriously.
The number of gun deaths used by Marilynn Marchione included those from suicides. When they are included, the number of gun deaths and deaths from vehicle accidents are about the same — editor.