The PJ Tatler

Why Howard Kurtz is the Laziest, Most Insipid Writer in Washington

Read Howie Kurtz’s defense of David Gregory, the NBC hairdo who recently brandished an ammunition magazine that is illegal to own in Washington, DC.

NBC reportedly sought permission to show the magazine on Meet the Press, and the DC police turned them down. Gregory held the magazine up on the air anyway, in an attempt to browbeat NRA chief Wayne LaPierre into, well, something. LaPierre sensibly blew Gregory off.

Now the DC police are investigating Gregory.

Count on Kurtz to bring exactly zero real insight into the story.

The Twitterverse has exploded over the news that Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the NBC newsman for brandishing a high-capacity magazine during an interview with the NRA chief—some taking issue with my piece on the controversy.

What, am I saying that some big-shot talking head is above the law for potentially violating the city’s gun laws?

Let’s get real here. People who don’t like Gregory, or his network, or the media, or gun control are using his little stunt to express a bit of manufactured outrage, as though he were some kind of criminal.

Well, he did possess a magazine that is illegal to possess where he possessed it. So, he could very well be a criminal.

This isn’t to say that NBC doesn’t have a bit of  ’splaning to do. The police say the network sought permission for Gregory to hold up the magazine during the Wayne LaPierre interview and was turned down. (TMZ is now reporting that the network did in fact receive permission.)

And yes, D.C. law says that violators are subject to a year in jail and $1,000 fine for possessing a “large capacity” magazine, whether or not it contains bullets.

This reminds me of when investigative reporters sneak weapons or banned material through airport security and then get accused of breaking the law.

But it doesn’t remind him of James O’Keefe, the conservative muckraker who ran afoul of wiretapping laws when he was clearly pulling a stunt on Sen. Mary Landrieu. O’Keefe was not trying to break the law, he was making a point that the senator’s claim that her phones weren’t working, so she could dodge her own voters, was bogus. But he ended up getting prosecuted. Where was Kurtz when the left assailed James O’Keefe for committing journalism?

Gregory had no intent to commit a crime; he was committing journalism instead. Gun owners often say they want the government to leave them alone; why then are some clamoring for Gregory to be prosecuted?

Intent doesn’t matter to gun control advocates, or in the eyes of often confusing and conflicted gun control laws. Possession matters.

Just this week, a newspaper committed “journalism” by exposing thousands of law abiding gun owners in its area by mapping their homes and addresses. Did the intent of those gun owners, who had broken no laws, matter? Was the newspaper’s act warranted, or an abuse of FOIA and an invasion of privacy? Could Kurtz have mentioned something about that? Did it occur to him to inquire about the intent of that newspaper, when it committed journalism against many of its own readers, and against many who have firearms because abusive spouses and stalkers threaten them?

Charge David Gregory with grandstanding. But don’t waste our time with a police “probe” that was launched purely for public relations purposes—and which has given Gregory an explosion of free publicity.

Actually, charging David Gregory with a crime could serve to highlight how ridiculous some gun laws are and how counterproductive politically driven bans tend to be. There are millions of magazines similar to the one Gregory brandished in the hands of gun owners all over the country. Washington DC has banned those magazines. Is it any safer than areas that have not banned them? What do the statistics tell us about the effectiveness of such bans?

Kurtz could have brought his decades of experience in committing journalism to bear on all this, but instead he just phoned in a lame defense of David Gregory. What a waste of pixels.

Update: More here and here.

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