- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Media misfire

Scarcely three hours after Monday’s massacre at Virginia Tech, Brian Ross and Dana Hughes of ABC News posted a story on their “Blotter” blog (blogs.abcnews.com/ theblotter) implying that the expiration of a 1994 gun law was to blame.

“High-capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons,” began the ABC story, which cited the “expert” opinion of Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: “When you have a weapon that can shoot off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you’re going to have a lot more injuries.”

At the time of that report, there was no information about the weapons Cho Seung-hui used to kill his victims before committing suicide. Since then, law enforcement officials have said the mass murderer used two pistols (reportedly a 9 mm Glock and a .22-caliber Walther), but there was nothing to suggest that large-capacity magazines were involved in the crime.

“Does ABC News have an obligation to report facts, or is peddling a political agenda buttressed by lies their preferred stock in trade?” Bob Owens wrote yesterday at the Media Research Center’s blog, NewsBusters.org.

“The Ross entry states that high-capacity magazines ‘became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.’ This is a patently false statement, containing no truth at all.

“High-capacity magazines have been around for more than half a century, and the sale of high-capacity magazines was not impacted whatsoever by the 1994 Crime Bill. These magazines were freely and commercially available, both in retail stores and online, without interruption, for the 10-year life of the ban, the decades preceding it, and afterward.”

“Armed America” author Clayton E. Cramer sent an e-mail Monday night to Robert Stacy McCain of The Washington Times, pointing out another problem with the ABC News item.

“The only time that an extended magazine is going to make a difference is if someone is shooting back at you,” said Mr. Cramer, a firearms historian.

Hefner backs Hillary

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, is seeking to become the first female president, and a man who has published countless pictures of naked women is pitching in for her White House bid, the Hill newspaper reports.

Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy Enterprises empire, is among the many celebrities who have picked their favorite candidate to succeed President Bush in 2009.

Mr. Hefner contributed $2,300 (the maximum allowed in the primary) to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign on March 28, identifying his occupation on the fundraiser form as “editor-in-chief” of Playboy magazine.

Mr. Hefner has given thousands to Democrats over the years, including $2,000 toMassachusetts Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and $1,000 each to Al Gore and then-President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Mr. Hefner’s favorite on Capitol Hill is Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat. He has given her $13,200 since 1996, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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