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Ed Driscoll

Dispatches from the CNN Style Guide

August 21st, 2014 - 11:33 am

This is satire:

This is reality — or the lack there of inside the addled mind of CNN newsreader Don Lemon, as spotted by Jim Treacher of the Daily Caller, who notes that “An Automatic Weapon Is Whatever CNN’s Don Lemon Says It Is:”

Lemon: “For me, an automatic weapon is…”

That says it all, doesn’t it? For people who live in consensus reality, an automatic weapon is an automatic weapon. For Don Lemon and people who agree with Don Lemon, an automatic weapon is any weapon they want to call an automatic weapon, whether or not that weapon is, y’know, automatic.

Once Don Lemon has made that pronouncement, once he’s changed the definition to suit his argument, any disagreement is merely semantics.

A couple of days ago, my colleagues Bill Whittle and Andrew Klavan debated “What Is Truth” — short answer: Not likely found on CNN:

Oh, and Malcolm Muggeridge — call your office.

Update: National Review’s Charles Cooke on “Don Lemon, Automatic Weapons, and the Integrity of Language:”

Under the law, “automatic” is the word we use to describe weapons that continue to fire for as long as the trigger is depressed. “Semi-automatic,” by contrast, is the word we use to describe weapons that will fire once with each trigger pull. In some states, one can indeed walk into a gun store and, having undergone a background check and filled in some federal forms, walk out with a semi-automatic rifle. One cannot, however, do this for automatics, which are regulated heavily under the 1934 Firearms Act and which cannot be purchased without special permission from the ATF. What Lemon is talking about having bought is a standard semi-automatic weapon — an AR-15 or somesuch. It is not an automatic weapon.

Having been corrected, what Lemon should have said was, “you’re right, I meant ‘semi-automatic.’” But he didn’t. Instead, he said:

“For me, that’s an automatic weapon.”

What?

It does not especially matter that Don Lemon doesn’t know the difference between ”automatic” and “semi-automatic” rifles. Lots of people don’t. But it really does matter that, having been told he was wrong on national television, Lemon contended that his prior ignorance — and not objective physical and legal reality — should prevail. Legally and functionally, the item that the panel is discussing was a semi-automatic weapon. There is no “dispute” over this. This is not an ongoing “debate.” It’s not a matter of “opinion.” It’s not an issue on which we can “agree to disagree.” It’s not an “altercation” that can give way to “compromise.” It’s a fact. An undisputed fact. And yet, for some reason, Lemon seemed to believe that he could talk his way out of his mistake.

“Let’s call this LemonSplaining,” John Nolte quips at Big Journalism.

And CNN wonders why it long ago lost the trust of a nation.

Top Rated Comments   
For me, an AR-15 is a harmless plush toy that should be available to children. Any argument with that us just semantics.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
For Don Lemon, apparently, a semi-automatic weapon is one in which you pull the trigger and the hammer strikes a tiny plastic boot on the end of a pendulum which swings and kicks a steel ball off a platform which rolls down a winding chute and, reaching the bottom, releases a spring-loaded plunger which pushes a lever that strikes a kitchen match which flares up and burns under the cap end of a centerfire cartridge, eventually setting the firing cap off and releasing the bullet.
Much less dangerous...
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (37)
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Some clarification to this statement:
"Under the law, “automatic” is the word we use to describe weapons that continue to fire for as long as the trigger is depressed."

Actually, the law defines 'machine guns' which doesn't meet your definition of automatic. I.e. continuing to fire as long as the trigger is depressed.

Legally, a machine gun is any weapon which can fire, or be easily modified to fire more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. Thus, weapons which can only 'burst fire' are still machine guns even though they stop firing with rounds remaining in the magazine and the trigger still being pulled.

Additionally, a machine gun under the law is any part or combination of parts designed/intended to modify a weapon to fire more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. (regardless of one having the weapon to be modified) For example an M-16 auto-sear. Or, for a number of years until the ATF clarified a ruling, a 12 inch shoelace with a small loop at each end fell under the definition of a machine gun.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't own a Assault weapon.

All of the weapons I don't own are for defensive purposes only.

No one should ever admit, on a public forum, that they posses any weapons.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now why would anyone expect a journalist to bother about what words mean?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is not surprising. People want to be right even when they are proven wrong. Redefining language is a common approach for doing this by all sides. "By automatic, I mean I automatically don't like it because you shouldn't have one. What I said is true, see!"
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
When Pope Benedict began his pontificate he declared the most dangerous thing in the world to be moral relativism. I thought it to be hyperbole at the time. I've come to appreciate his wisdom as time and again people declare " my truth" when the truth is plainly before us.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
", , ,[C]ommon usage . . .doesn't make it accurate."

What does make it accurate then? Perhaps the glossary in the back of your gun book?

Let's see how far this "error" extends. What is the CORRECT designation for the cartridge used in the 1911? What does EVERY reference source call it?

Why, lo and behold, we call it the .45 A.C.P. What does "A.C.P." stand for? But of course, "SEMI-Automatic Colt Pistol." Zounds! the rascals got it wrong. The anti-gunners were laying their plots back in 1911, trying to confuse us, and the plot spread to 103 years of manufacturers' manuals and reloading books. Why some of the tricky devils even put "A.C.P." on the headstamp on the backs of the cartridges we have been firing in our SEMI-automatic Colt Pistols. When will the deception ever end?

The point? Firearms nomenclature is idiosyncratic and rooted in popular usage. Thiis to be expected, given that guns are normal in out civilization. The are everywhere. Ordinary Americans commonly possess and use all kinds of guns. It has always been that way, even if the place of guns in our culture has been setting down deeper roots of late. As a result, the words used in the popular gun culture are not always precise.

By all means, insist on scientifically precise nomenclature when the distinctions matter Calling self-loading pistols "automatics' does not.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
See my post below. Automatic originally meant auto-loading not one pull many rounds fired.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hence the term "FULLY-Automatic" for machine guns.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Go belt-fed, or go home.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Then you have the Statists saying...well you have your facts and I have mine.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Forget global warming - if a scientist stipulated some mechanism is responsible for dropping I.Q.s in the last 3 or 4 decades, I'd be open to listening.

What could it be? More coffee intake? Something in the coffee? Something in our water supply? Is it the distance you sit from your TV?

Something sure as hell is going on. When I was 14 my moronic friends were smarter than Don Lemon and any host of equally moronic people writing for media outlets.

Oh, look! People who openly declare they want to kill and subvert us. Let's invite millions over for dinner.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eh. I’ve been hearing this “for me" kind of “arguments" since the ‘60s. It’s not really an argument. It may have the appearance of one, but such speech is pose designed to attract one’s fellow and followers. It is not designed to convince or refute, but to declare allegiance, preferably to the winning side.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings, tdiinva:

I didn't mean to imply a right or wrong to it. I actually meant it in the sense of that's what the local vernacular was.

Similarly, to me a machine-gun implies belt-fed ammunition that allows for continuous fire (or until the barrel melts). Suppressive fire is a wonderful thing when assault time arrives.

Lastly, my father took one of those all-expense-paid tours of the Western Pacific back in the '40s and came back a big fan of Mr. Browning's Automatic Rifle. I knew about a three-shot burst before I could even spell army correctly.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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