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Jewish World Review March 27, 2000 /20 Adar II, 5760 , 5760

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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Consumer Reports



It's the lies --
YOU'D THINK after all these years, you'd get used to it -- media bias, that is. But yet, last weekend, down with the flu, too dizzy to read, I propped up my head and watched all of the Sunday morning talk shows. And it made me burn even more than the fever caused to see that all of them, every one, was in a tizzy over what Wayne La Pierre of the NRA had said about Bill Clinton.

Like a spouse who is determined to have a fight, and will not let you change the subject, Tim Russert (normally a pretty balanced anchor), Bob Schieffer, and the rest stopped all traffic until they could get everyone on record as either denouncing what La Pierre had said or defending him.

Someone on Schieffer's show attempted a mild defense of La Pierre. Oh, dear. Schieffer was indignant. "You don't honestly believe," he demanded, "that the president of the United States is comfortable with a certain amount of bloodshed, do you?"

La Pierre's remarks were over the top, there's no question. But equally outrageous things, in fact, far more outrageous things, are said about Republicans all the time, and it's never a story. When Republicans wanted to reduce the rate of increase in funding for school lunches, one Democrat took the floor of the House and accused them of behaving like Nazis. When Robert Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court, Sen. Ted Kennedy said that Bork's America would be a place where people would "fear the midnight knock on the door," where women would seek back-alley abortions, and blacks would have to return to segregated lunch counters. Were their colleagues pressed to denounce or defend these remarks the following weekend? Hardly.

This tendency of the press to be scandalized by what offends Democrats, and correspondingly insensitive to what offends Republicans is on display every single day. And it's no mystery. Ninety percent of the media are liberals. Everyone knows that.

Therefore, it is noteworthy when a major newspaper offers the conservative view on a subject as red hot as gun control. Hats off to the Los Angeles Times for running an excellent rebuttal to President Clinton by John R. Lott Jr., a senior research scholar at the Yale Law School.

President Clinton responded to the tragic and disturbing death of Kayla Rolland at the hands of her 6-year-old classmate in classic Clinton fashion -- an emotional appeal, demonization of a group that disagrees with him, and a policy prescription that feels good but does nothing to prevent further tragedies.

Trigger locks may be a perfectly good idea; apparently, most new guns are already sold with them. But the boy who killed Kayla was living in a crack house presided over by an uncle with several outstanding arrest warrants. Are we to believe that the 19-year-old uncle, who was willing to leave loaded guns around in the presence of a 6-year-old, was going to carefully check that trigger locks were in place?

President Clinton has repeatedly claimed that hundreds of thousands of criminals have been prevented from buying guns under his administration. According to Lott, the Clinton Justice Department, which provided this data, has been caught cooking the numbers -- overstating the number of blocked purchases by as much as 30-fold!

Besides, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reports that 93 percent of the guns used in crimes are not obtained through lawful purchase. The president and his allies have also circulated another misleading statistic -- that 13 "children" are killed daily by guns. Lott again provides the truth: Seventy percent of those deaths are among 17-to-19-year-olds involved in gang warfare. Fewer than 3 percent of the 13, Lott tells us, are children 10 or under.

Lott closes with a thought that is so important, it is worth repeating.

"The recent events vividly illustrate why many conservatives so intensely dislike Clinton." Yes, it's the lies. He cannot be trusted to argue in good faith on any subject at any time. His dishonesty is profound, it is defining, and it is deeply corrupt.

It's the lies.

JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here. Please bear in mind, though, that while all letters are read, due to the heavy amount of traffic, not all letters can be answered.

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©1999, Creators Syndicate