Last night I offered a bit of a rant about the The New York Times’ front page editorial. There’s one thought worth adding, I think. Putting the editorial on the frontpage is actually a sign of weakness — not just of the pro-gun control position, but of The Times itself. One could argue that the Times hasn’t needed to put an editorial on its front page in the past, because its editorials had sufficient heft and influence. During Watergate or World War II, people looked to the editorials — in the proper place — for guidance. Now, the paper in effect needs to wave its arms and shout, “Hello, we write really important editorials! And we really think this one is important!”
Similarly, while very, very, very few people outside the Times’ offices — and media nerds like me — could care less about what is essentially a P.R. gimmick, the Times thinks this is a Very Big Deal. For the staid grey lady this amounts to shouting “Unleash the Kraken!” It shows you how desperate and frustrated the editors — and liberals generally — are with the fact that this country doesn’t agree with them on guns. It also shows that the “national conversation” most Americans want has more to do with Islamist terrorism and less to do with the alleged “gun show loophole.” This alone doesn’t make The Times’ views or their arguments illegitimate or invalid. But it does illustrate how unpersuasive they are to much of the public.
The same can be said for the disgustingly hypocritical new fad of calling Wayne LaPierre a “terrorist.” This from the same crowd who insisted Sarah Palin had blood on her hands because of some cross-hairs on a congressional district map and that Michelle Bachmann should be put in the dock for her “eliminationist rhetoric.” I have no problem with criticizing LaPierre, but the double standard is just so appalling. I mean, seriously, to Hell with these people.
What’s true for lawyers is also true for newspapers: When you’re shouting and pounding the table, it’s probably because you’re losing the argument.