Once again the Associated Press give us more of its prosaic brand of "unfair and unbalanced" news with a Jesse Jackson anti-gun story that doesn't offer a single word to counter his propaganda, their report doesn't present even a hint that there is any "side" but the anti-gun position. We aren't shocked at this, of course, but it needs to be pointed out for the record nonetheless.
Jackson faces a trial and possible jail time for his absurd June 23rd picketing of a gun shop in Riverdale, a suburb of Chicago. During the effort to disrupt the shop's business Jackson and his cohorts illegally blocked the entrance to the establishment an action that resulted in his arrest for trespassing.
As the AP reports on Jackson's first appearance in court to face these charges, they made all efforts to make Jackson seem the righteous actor, unruffled and heroic. AP even decided he was "relaxed-looking" is his appearance.
MARKHAM, Ill. - It's familiar territory for the Rev. Jesse Jackson: Facing legal trouble for his activist politics. This time it's for protesting gun sales he says provide Chicago gang members and criminals easy access to firearms, with deadly consequences.
Jackson, 65, has been arrested about 15 times during his career as a civil rights leader, dating back to the 1960s when he worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr., said spokeswoman Rashida Restaino.
On Monday, a relaxed-looking Jackson stood in a light pinstriped suit and asked a judge for a jury trial on misdemeanor trespassing charges stemming from his June arrest outside a gun shop where he was demonstrating in support of tougher gun laws.
These first few paragraphs is typical of the smooth advocacy disguised as "reporting" wrought by the AP over and over again.
In the first paragraph we get the caring Jackson, facing the hardened gang members and protesting their "deadly" work because of that "easy access to guns." In the second the AP treats us to the heroic Jackson who stood for civil rights with icon Martin Luther King, Jr. In the third we get the "relaxed-looking," imperturbable Jackson stoically standing up against the evil gun shop and standing in "support of tougher gun laws." It's all flavored to read so favorably for the extreme, activist, isn't it?
Smooth advocacy, AP. Smooth indeed.
Then the AP parrots every single point Jackson so constantly and illegitimately makes, disguising it as "reporting".
They say Jackson is "prompted by the shooting deaths of nearly three dozen public school students" and that this is why they are at the gun shop. Conveniently, the AP forgets to mention that not one single gun crime can be traced to a gun purchased legally in the gun shop in question.
Next AP gives Jackson another chance to link his current activity to his civil rights activism in the 1960's as if his past efforts were somehow comparable to this current cause.
Asked by a reporter how it felt to be back in a courtroom, Jackson said: "It's very formal, very serious." He added that his first arrest was in 1960, when he and several other black students were jailed for trying to use a public library in segregated Greenville, S.C.
Who doesn't know Jackson's history, anyway? Is it necessary in the context of this story to be reminded so constantly of it?
Then the AP reports the supporting words of "Father" Michael Pfleger, a local, small time Chicago activist who has joined Jackson in his protest of this innocent business establishment. Yet, even as the AP is so interested in reporting Jackson's storied history, they don't have time to report that this so-called Priest threatened the life of the gun shop owner not but a few months ago.
One wonder why this is so? Why isn't the good Father's extreme threats interesting enough to report?
I'll bet you can answer that one!
In any case, they quote this Pfleger character as saying:
"If they somehow think they can stop us by intimidating us, we're not going anywhere. We're going to step up," he said.
I see. So, now the law is an "intimidation"? You broke the LAW, Pfleger. No one is trying to "intimidate" you. In fact, all the "intimidation" is coming from Plfeger and Jackson, not the courts and law enforcement officers. After all, is calling for someone's death somehow not an attempt at intimidation, Father Pfleger?
The AP also mentions that these activists want tougher gun laws to protect Chicago's children, but, no where does anyone seem to suggest that the illegal use of guns is the symptom of gang activity, not the cause. They want to put a band-aid on a broken arm instead of seeking to solve the problem. The gang problem is the root cause, not guns.
And in all of this where is the AP's attempt to fully report the other side of this issue?
The owner of Chuck's Gun Shop, John Riggio, attended Monday's hearing but declined comment as he left the courthouse.
There you go. That was it. They can claim they gave the gun shop owner his "chance to speak" but he refused. This, of course, does not excuse the AP from advocating for Jackson's issues, nor does it absolve them from trying harder to present both sides.
Where is a "fairness doctrine" when you need one?
The worst quote of the piece, however, is that of an aggrieved and ill informed parent of one of Chicago's children lost to gun violence.
Holt's mother stood with Jackson after Monday's hearing, saying she'd be relentless in protesting gun merchants.
"You took something away from us and we're going to get in your face every day with it," Annette Holt said. "We're here to stay."
Certainly we feel for the woman's grief, but her claim that the gun shop owner had anything to do with her son's death is just an outright lie. The business man "took" nothing away from anyone.
But, since when do lies bother the AP?