New York Times Betrays Its Firearm Ignorance with 'Hysterical' Image Blunder on AR-15 Hit Piece


The AR-15 and its derivatives are, to the establishment media, like a big, scary monster under a kid’s bed.

They’re sinister weapons of war, capable of tearing a human being apart. Unlike any other kind of firearm, they imbue psychotic killers with nearly superhuman powers, allowing depraved lunatics who get their hands on one to kill countless victims. Outlaw the weapon, eliminate the mass shootings. To the establishment media, it’s that simple.

Yet, almost none of these anti-gun activists posing as journalists have ever owned an AR-15. Or known someone who does. They don’t know what the weapon is for. They don’t even know much about what it looks like.

How do I know this? It’s not just a guess: The good people at The New York Times just provided an object lesson in just how ignorant those writing about the AR-15 tend to be.

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“The AR-15 has become a talisman for some right-wing politicians and voters. ‘That’s a particularly disturbing trend at a time when violent political rhetoric and actual political violence in the United States are rising,’ writes the editorial board,” the Times tweeted from its opinion account on Saturday.

The whole point of the piece was that the talismanic power the “right-wing politicians and voters” attached to the AR-15 and its derivatives put gun rights advocates out of touch with the realities of gun violence. But Times editors simply don’t know much about the weapon, instead attaching undue political significance to it.

“A growing number of American civilians have an unhealthy obsession with ‘tactical culture’ and rifles like the AR-15,” the editorial board wrote.

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“It’s a fringe movement among the 81 million American gun owners, but it is one of several alarming trends that have coincided with the increase in political violence in this country, along with the spread of far-right extremist groups, an explosion of anti-government sentiment and the embrace of deranged conspiracy theories by many Republican politicians.”

Unfortunately for the Times, the several hundred words of digital ink spilled by editorial board arguing that point are rather undermined by the picture above the editorial itself. It’s the same picture used in the tweet linking to the article, in case you were wondering.

It’s a picture of shotgun shells. You know, the kind of ammunition that absolutely would not be used in a long rifle of any kind.

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Yeah — it’s almost as if the Times is it doesn’t know what it’s talking about when it comes to the AR-15.

Or, as one Twitter user put it: “Does the entire NYT really not have one editor that can review gun-related articles to notice something as basic as using a picture of shotgun shells for an article about AR-15s?”

What’s telling is why the Times clearly chose the picture of the shotgun ammunition, though. It’s the same reason the establishment media has made the AR-15 its boogeyman: It can be made to look scary.

All mainstream media firearms reporting is invariably dictated by one question: Does what we say or show instill undue fear in those who consume it?

If yes, green light. If not, maybe get a scarier stock ammunition photo to plop atop the editorial. Or maybe a picture of a bearded guy firing a rifle out at the range. Liberals are really afraid of bearded guys and guns together. If he’s in camo, even better.

But do they need to know anything about these firearms to file these fear-soaked reports? Don’t be silly.

Therein lies the great irony in the Times’ editorial. The AR-15 is basically a mythical creature to these sheltered Manhattanites, a kind of inanimate jackalope that emerges every so often when a mass shooter uses the rifle as the weapon of choice.

Then, it’s all about banning and seizing these so-called “assault weapons.” When that invariably doesn’t happen, right-wing politicians and voters are blamed. And, to the Times, they’re the ones with the talismanic obsession over a weapon.

Yes, well, at least they know what the ammunition for it looks like.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture