On Tuesday, Jesse Jackson, the Brady bunch -- not the TV folk but the anti-gun lobby -- and other liberal activists rallied against “the national scourge of illegal guns” in cities around the nation.

The networks ignored the event, probably because turnout was so embarrassingly low. The Chicago Tribune reported that “about 200” piled out of three buses in Lake Barrington, Illinois, the Chicago-area protest keynoted by Jackson himself. The Philadelphia Inquirer said “about 200” showed up in Philly. The Dallas Morning News reported about 60 demonstrators in South Dallas, and AP said “about 100”attended the Washington, D.C. event held in nearby District Heights, Maryland.

Anti-gun activists were counting on good coverage if they had big turnouts, and no negative coverage if they didn’t. It’s the flip side of how the media cover pro-life rallies, downplaying enormous crowds and playing up the handful of counter demonstrators. In this case, the networks chose to look benignly in the other direction. The gun grabbers know that liberal journalists don’t like guns. Or, rather, they don’t like private citizens owning guns and taking personal responsibility for their own safety and that of their families and property.

How do we know? From the loaded coverage night after night on the networks and each day in major newspapers. A new CMI study, The Media Assault on the Second Amendment, documents seven months of media coverage of gun issues, and explains how the media are taking potshots at the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Before I tell you how the Dallas Morning News is breathlessly reporting that Nobel laureate Betty Williams called for the death of President Bush at the "International Women's Peace Conference" in Dallas on the 11th, I must remind you all that peace activists on the left are far more "civilized", "Humane", "tolerant", and "intelligent" than the rest of us. OK? I just wanted to get that straight before further relating this story.

James Hohmann of the News reports that Williams, who is Irish and not a US citizen by the way, "came all the way from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached."

I suppose we should be flattered... or not.

Interestingly, Burying the obvious leade, the News decides to avoid mention of the violent intent of the speaker who later says "Right now, I could kill George Bush” with a title that belies her serious hypocrisy. "Irish peace activist's speech at Dallas event gets standing ovation", it says in sunny, innocent language.

Yet the content of this woman's rant is far more insidious than the sunny title portends.

For the fifth straight year, America's biggest newspapers (especially the left-leaning ones) have experienced big drops in circulation.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation released its annual numbers today. Among the findings: Two of the three national newspapers (USA Today and the Wall Street Journal) gained circ while the New York Times fell 2 percent on weekdays and nearly three-and-a-half percent on Sundays.

The biggest loser was the Dallas Morning News which was off 14 percent on weekdays and 13 percent on Sundays. The Miami Herald lost 10 percent on Sundays and 5.5 percent on weekdays.

Let's imagine for a moment now what types of stories we'd be hearing about these bad numbers if liberal journalists applied the same standards to themselves as they do to Republican presidents.

Now that you're done laughing, let me say that I don't think that liberal bias is the sole reason for these drops. It's also old thinking. The proof is that some papers like the New York Post and the Indianapolis Star have gained circulation. It can be done in an age of mass alienation from mass media. (h/t Stephen Spruiell)

The same day the MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) released its study [pdf available here] dealing with the media's preference for "secular progressive" values over those of those of orthodox religious faiths, evangelical magazine Christianity Today noticed that many newspapers are losing their religion [sections].

The CMI study concluded that:

Americans have clearly identified the media as primary culprits in the nation’s moral decline. If the media continue to singularly promote Progressive values and a secular worldview, while undermining Orthodox faith and values, reversing America’s moral decline will be very difficult.

In her March 7 article, writer Sarah Pulliam noticed a mixed bag on the media's handling of religion coverage. Apparently even as many newspapers end or severely restrict religion coverage in print, religion news-oriented newspaper blogs prove popular with readers: