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Sad to say, truth doesn't seem to matter that much anymore, even in reporting the news. Truth has become outweighed by political agendas and, instead of focusing on the facts of a story, many reporters and news organizations have fallen prey to propaganda machines which are focused far more on achieving a political agenda than in simply telling readers the facts of a story or event.

While some may disagree with my comparison, I published an article many years ago while still working as a law-enforcement officer investigating crimes. I wrote and still believe it is not the law-enforcement officer's job to obtain convictions. Rather, it is the law-enforcement officer's job to investigate and fully report the facts -- whether those facts support a conviction or an acquittal. As a law-enforcement officer, the most grievous offense I could commit in an investigation was to pursue only evidence which I believed would support a conviction and to omit or, worse yet, withhold evidence which might be used to gain a defendant an acquittal.

The same holds true in news reporting. It's easy to pick and choose which aspects of a story are reported and slant the news by not telling the whole story or failing to tell all the facts. And it's easy to be so blinded by political agendas and views that one's reporting of the facts becomes skewed and dishonest. And it grieves me when I see a good number of major news outlets doing just that.

I could give example after example, but the recent Valentine's Day school shooting in Florida is one of the best current examples. When I turn on the television or the computer, I am hearing, again and again, the blame for such mass shootings being cast upon law-abiding gun owners and upon the National Rifle Association. Yet, the facts in this case and so many others indicate that, if anyone but the shooter is to be blamed, it comes down to a failure of government agencies to enforce current laws and to enter felony and domestic violence convictions into the database used for background checks to determine who is eligible and prohibited from purchasing and possessing a firearm.

The NRA didn't do anything to facilitate this shooting -- in fact, it has freely offered to schools for some time training to prevent such horrific crimes. The failure to enforce current law on the part of local and federal agencies did contribute to the Florida massacre. In the November 2017 Texas church shooting, a former NRA instructor risked his life to stop the shooting using the same type weapon as the shooter. Another branch of federal government failed to enter domestic battery conviction information into the federal database and prevent the shooter from purchasing his firearm. So who is to blame?

While speaking about the NRA, it should be noted, contrary to the image portrayed by many major news outlets, that the organization is not the lobby group of gun manufacturers and gun dealers. It is an organization made up of millions of law-abiding U.S. citizens, many of whom own firearms but also many who do not. It was the NRA which pushed for a national database and instant background checks rather than a short waiting period with no mandatory checks. It is and has been the NRA which has headed up firearms safety and provided educational programs for parents and schools to use to prevent firearm accidents. I know because I used some of these programs while in law-enforcement. And it is the NRA which is pushing for the enforcement of current gun laws.

And as one who frequently argues in support of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I appreciate the role the NRA has played in defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- and it's not just the Second Amendment; it's all our rights, including freedom of religion, speech and of the press, to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, and for due process of law before any person may be deprived of life, liberty or property. Unfortunately, I don't see very many government officials or news outlets defending the God-given freedoms guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights. Instead, I see many at work to take them away.

One recent example is the effort of a number of large media outlets to censor Internet searches and prevent the public from accessing certain information. We all knew social media companies removed or relegated to the dark abyss posts and information they deemed not in conformity with certain social views, but now we see major search engines blocking searches for certain items or information.

What I wonder -- and I don't have to wonder too long to know the answer -- will come next. If groups like the NRA and all law-abiding gun owners are vilified for crimes they did not commit, if the news media selectively reports the news and leaves out those facts and news stories which do not match a certain political view and agenda, and if those who market certain products and those who promote certain religious or political views are censored, it's not only the Second Amendment which will be overturned, the entire Bill of Rights will be stripped away.

Randy Moll is the managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer. He may be contacted by email at Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 03/07/2018

Print Headline: The truth doesn't seem to matter anymore

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