November 2009

Downrange: 11/09

A STRONG PRO-GUN MEDIA GUY

Glenn Beck, the conservative Fox television commentator, radio host, and best-selling author, is just kicking butt in every media he ventures into. His TV show attracts more than 3 million viewers a night, he’s the only author ever to have a No. 1 New York Times best-seller in the fiction, nonfiction and paperback fiction categories simultaneously, and his syndicated radio show airs on

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

more than 400 stations.

Beck almost single-handedly brought down self-avowed communist and Obama green czar Van Jones, seriously damaged the now-besieged ACORN voter-fraud machine, and exposed Cass Sunstein, Obama’s regulatory czar, as a radical animal-rights proponent and gun-grabber.

How does he do it? Old-style "angle" journalism—look for an interesting story hook, and bang on it relentlessly. This is good for gun owners, because Beck is one of the few hardcore gun-rights advocates in the electronic media. His television show today is a perfect example. Beck had attorney Alan Gura on because Gura will argue the appeal of McDonald v. City of Chicago before the Supreme Court next year. If Gura wins, one of the most onerous gun bans in the country—Chicago’s—will be overturned.

Beck’s interview was informative rather than bombastic (I snorted when I thought of CNN’s Rick Sanchez trying to do the same piece.) Beck asked a few questions of Gura and let the expert talk. Since Gura won Heller, which overturned D.C.’s gun ban, I wanted to hear what Gura had to say.

It was refreshing to watch because Beck isn’t a liberal propagandist like you’d see on CNN, CBS, ABC, or MSLSD, otherwise known as MSNBC. And Beck knew the gun issue pretty well himself. Surprised that a national media figure understands the issues that concern gun owners? I sure am. But Beck’s secret seems to be that he’s the anti-media conservative who actually researches his work. The second chapter of his new book, Arguing With Idiots, concerns the Second Amendment. And the guy who helped Beck craft that chapter? Alan Gura.

This is simply good spadework in the "writing dodge," as the late Bill Safire used to call journalism. Listening to Beck and Gura, I learned that Gura’s brief, not the NRA’s, will be argued. I learned that Chicago imposes an annual tax on the citizen’s right to keep guns. And that Gura wanted the gun-ban question answered in a good case on behalf of law-abiding, decent people—instead of the usual way that Second Amendment cases had gone up through the courts in cases like U.S. v. Crackhead or U.S. v. Bank Robber. "Those are not really the greatest cases to take when trying to vindicate individual rights," Gura said.

So a tip of the cap to Glenn Beck. I guess me and 2.99 million other 50-year-old cranky gun owners will tune in to him when we want to hear fair and balanced reporting on guns. GT

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