NRA: Inspired by Black Panthers?

Wayne LaPierre (Paul Richards/Getty); New Black Panther Party member (Mario Tama/Getty)
Wayne LaPierre (Paul Richards/Getty); New Black Panther Party member (Mario Tama/Getty)

The National Rifle Association was inspired by the Black Panthers?

Yes, according to Adam Winkler, a professor of 
constitutional law at UCLA School of Law and author of "Gunfight: The 
Battle Over  the Right to Bear Arms in America."


Winkler said over the weekend on NPR's "On the Media":

"One of the surprising things I discovered in writing 'Gunfight' 
was that when the Black Panthers started carrying their guns around 
in Oakland, Calif., in the late 1960s, it inspired a new wave of gun 
control laws (audio). It was these laws that ironically sparked 
a backlash among rural white conservatives, who were concerned that 
the  government was coming to get their guns next.


"The NRA mimicked many of the policy positions of the Black 
Panthers, who viewed guns not just as a matter of protection for the 
home, but something you should be able to have out on the street,  and 
also protection against a hostile government that was tyrannical and 
disrespectful of people's rights.  . . . "

Winkler wrote about the connection more expansively in "The Secret 
History of Guns," a September 2011 article in the  Atlantic that 
preceded the book's publication.

"The eighth-grade students gathering on the west lawn of the state 
capitol in Sacramento were planning to lunch on fried  chicken with 
California's new governor, Ronald Reagan, and then 
tour the granite building constructed a century earlier to  resemble 
the nation's Capitol," the article began. "But the festivities were 
interrupted by the arrival of 30 young black men and women carrying 
.357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns, and .45-caliber pistols.

"The 24 men and six women climbed the capitol steps, and one man, 
Bobby Seale, began to read from a prepared statement. 
'The  American people in general and the black people in particular,' 
he announced, must


" 'take careful note of the racist California 
legislature aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless. 
Black  people have begged, prayed, petitioned, demonstrated, and 
everything else to get the racist power structure of America to  right 
the wrongs which have historically been perpetuated against black 
people. The time has come for black people to arm  themselves against 
this terror before it is too late.'

"Seale then turned to the others. 'All right, brothers, come on. 
We're going inside.' He opened the door, and the radicals  walked 
straight into the state's most important government building, loaded 
guns in hand. No metal detectors stood in their  way.


"It was May 2, 1967, and the Black Panthers' invasion of the 
California statehouse launched the modern gun-rights movement.

". . . The new NRA was not only responding to the wave of 
gun-control laws enacted to disarm black radicals; it also shared 
some of the Panthers' views about firearms. Both groups valued guns 
primarily as a means of self-defense. Both thought people  had a right 
to carry guns in public places, where a person was easily victimized, 
and not just in the privacy of the home.


"They also shared a profound mistrust of law enforcement. (For 
years, the NRA has demonized government agents, like those in  the 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal 
agency that enforces gun laws, as 'jack-booted  government thugs.' 
Wayne LaPierre, the current executive vice president, 
warned members in 1995 that anyone who wears a badge  has 'the 
government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding 
citizens.') For both the Panthers in 1967 and  the new NRA after 1977, 
law-enforcement officers were too often representatives of an uncaring 
government bent on disarming  ordinary citizens. . . ."

Despite the Black Panther Party posture in the 1960s, the Pew 
Research Center for the People & the Press has found that today's 
African Americans support gun control.


As reported last week, when asked whether gun 
ownership does more to protect people from crime or puts people's 
safety at risk, 54 percent of whites said gun ownership protects 
people from crime, but only 29 percent of blacks did. Fifty-three 
percent of blacks said it puts people's safety at risk. Only 33 
percent of whites did.

Monroe Anderson, the Root:  Why I Get Obama's Response to Newtown

David Bauder, Associated Press:  Film & TV Industries Cancel Premieres & 
Screenings In Tragedy's Wake


Heather Berkman, Quartz:   What the US can learn now from Latin America's fight 
against gun violence

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Guns, Smoke and Mirrors

Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post News Media 
Services: Breeding grounds of destruction


Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic:  Violence and the Social Compact

Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: The NRA and the 'Positive Good' of Maximum Guns


Eric Deggans blog, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Does NRA press conference mark moment gun industry 
turns into cigarette industry?

Editorial, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.: A 
nightmare before Christmas: Violent day in Webster reinforces need for 


Adam Clark Estes, the Atlantic: Even Israel Is Fact-Checking the NRA Now

Keli Goff, the Root: What 
the NRA Should Have Said

Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: This country still can't get it right on guns


Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Gun violence in cities must be addressed

Timothy Johnson, Media Matters for America:  Will Media Fact Check Misleading Claims From NRA's 
Question-Free Press Conference?


Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Tragedy may loosen our grip on guns

Douglas C. Lyons, South Florida SunSentinel: History shows ending gun violence will take time


Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: The common refrain of local gun violence

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media 
Services: No easy answers

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Shootings deserve our attention every 

Nestor Ramos, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, 
N.Y.: Let's focus on the fires worth saving


Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Proposal would be funny — if the NRA didn't mean it

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The NRA's insane idea about more guns in schools


Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: 'Arm the teachers' isn't best way to protect kids

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Newtown shines spotlight on mental health

Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, 
Texas: The tears keep coming — for victims and the nation


Jesse Washington, Associated Press: Urban advocates say new gun control talk overdue

David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Let's not let NRA's LaPierre misdirect us with 
ignorance, lies about media


Editors Grade Newtown 
Coverage in Light of Inaccuracies

Public editors evaluated their news outlets' coverage of the 
Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy, with the New York Times' 
Margaret Sullivan declaring over the weekend that the 
Times must be a counterweight to the often-inaccurate information 
proliferating on social media.


"The Times can't get pulled into the maelstrom of 
Twitter-era news," Sullivan wrote.

"It has to stand apart from those news sources that are getting 
information out in a fast, piecemeal and  frequently inaccurate way. 
That process has its own appeal and its own valuable purpose. But The 
Times should be its authoritative and accurate counterbalance."


Others came at the issue of misinformation supplied by authorities 
- and in most cases passed on to news consumers -  in other ways.

"While I have found that coordination of news information and 
language use sometimes falls between the cracks among NPR's many news 
teams and shows, the pitfalls were avoided this time," ombudsman Edward 
Schumacher-Matos wrote for NPR. He shared internal messages. 
"The memos are a virtual classroom lesson. Note the specificity, the 
caution and the instructions on what cannot be reported. Note also 
further down the concern for ethics and grieving families."


At the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, reader representative Ted 
Diadiun noted the regional focus of his organization. "When the news is hundreds of miles away . . . the only 
thing the paper can do is repeat what trusted organizations report, 
seek corroboration when possible - and correct it if it's wrong," 
Diadiun wrote Sunday.

Terry Eberle, executive editor of the News-Press 
in Fort Myers, Fla., reminded readers that journalists are human 
beings with emotions.


"Do the media spend too much time on the story? 
Maybe," Eberle wrote. "Do the media invade people's privacy at 
this very private time? Maybe. Did the media report bad information? 
Definitely. Should they have confirmed the information before 
reporting it? Without question.

"Do viewers and readers want every detail? Yes. To some, it may be 
part of their grieving process. To others, they just want to know 


"I get discouraged watching the herd of journalists run to press 
conferences, make mistakes and stick microphones in the face of 
shocked people.

"This time, however, I saw some subtle differences. There were no 
cameras in the faces of the parents as they gathered to listen to 
President Obama on Sunday.


"There were no journalists asking questions and pushing cameras in 
the faces of people as the first young children were laid to rest. 
They shot from a distance with a long lens respecting the privacy of a 
breaking news event.

"I don't know how much is too much. I don't know that magic moment 
when we must move on to something else.


"I do know that showing a little emotion is not necessarily a bad 
thing for a journalist. I do know that we can show some feelings and 
still be objective reporters. . . ."

N.Y. Times 
Urges Pardon for Wilmington 10

The New York Times called Sunday for North Carolina Gov. 
Bev Perdue to pardon the Wilmington 10, "a group of 
civil rights activists who were falsely convicted and imprisoned in 
connection with a racial disturbance in the city of Wilmington more 
than 40 years ago.


"The convictions, based on flimsy evidence and perjured 
testimony, were overturned by a federal court in 1980. But by 
then, the lives of the convicted had been broken on the wheel of Jim 
Crow justice," the editorial said.

" . . . Newly discovered notes attributed to the prosecutor paint 
an even more sordid picture of how the case was pursued. The notes 
suggest, for example, that the prosecutor used racial profiling and 
other unethical tactics to disqualify black jurors, while searching 
out racist jurors who would endorse the case against the defendants 
without question. In some instances, for example, he appears to have 
written 'KKK' (for Ku Klux Klan) next to names of prospective jurors, 
occasionally commenting that this was 'OK' or 'Good.' Taken together, 
the notes and court documents offer a window into a time when many 
Southern prosecutors and courts saw it as their mission, not to 
administer justice, but to preserve the racial status quo. . . .


"Anger over this case has continued to fester in the black 
community. At a 40th anniversary commemoration last year in 
Wilmington, civil rights leaders rightly decided that the wrongly 
convicted warranted a pardon from Ms. Perdue. By providing it, she can 
finally bring a close to one of the more shameful episodes in North 
Carolina history."

Jessica Jones, NPR: Pressure Mounts To Free 'Wilmington Ten'

Cash Michaels, Wilmington (N.C.) Journal: Support Swells For Wilmington Ten Pardons (May 24)


Wayne Moore, Triumphant Warriors: The Story 
Of The Wilmington 10

News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Wilmington 10 member takes pardon petitions to 
governor (Dec. 8)


Leigh Owens, Huffington Post: Wilmington 10: NAACP Unveils New Evidence Seeking Pardon (Nov. 

Bruce Siceloff, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: Four decades later, Ben Chavis and the Wilmington Ten 
seek a declaration of innocence (May 18)


Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews coverage 

Navarrette Knocked for 
Comparing Dreamers to 'Spoiled Brats'

"CNN commentator Ruben Navarrette 
Jr.'s recent column chastising Dreamers who he says sometimes 
act like 'spoiled brats' who are 'drunk on entitlement' has sparked 
angry reactions from the movement's supporters," Roque 
Planas wrote Friday for Huffington Post.


"Arguing that aggressive protests may undermine comprehensive 
immigration reform, Navarrette criticized undocumented activists for 
demanding citizenship and likened their protests to 'public tantrums' 
in a piece published Wednesday.

" 'I know what a lot of those so-called DREAMers deserve 
to get for Christmas: a scolding,' Navarrette writes.


"That opinion didn't sit well with DREAMers or Latino bloggers and 
journalists who sympathize with their movement.

"Univision reporter Jaime Zea pounced on 
Navarrette, with this tweet:

"The blog Latino Rebels slammed Navarrette on its Facebook, saying 
'Dreamers don't care what you think. And they shouldn't.' . . . "


"Dreamers" illegally entered the country as children with older 
relatives. The name is taken from the DREAM Act, legislation stalled 
in Congress that would put them on a path to U.S. citizenship. DREAM 
is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien 

President Obama said last summer that immigrants 
up to age 31 who entered as children would not face deportation under 
certain conditions and can work and go to school.


Rights Coverage 
Recalled as Newsweek Ends Print Edition

For the last print issue of Newsweek, Andrew 
Romano compiled an oral history of the newsmagazine. The 
issue includes a remembrance by Mark Whitaker, now 
executive vice president and managing  editor of CNN Worldwide, who in 
1998 became the first African American to edit a major 


In the words of the headline writer, the former Newsweek editor 
wrote about, "How a band of idealistic journalists changed the 
civil-rights  movement."

That band included correspondents Karl Fleming, 
Peter Goldman and Joe Cumming and 
editor Osborn Elliott. In 1967, these white 
journalists produced "a groundbreaking cover called 'The Negro in 
America: What Must Be Done' that won Newsweek its first  National 
Magazine Award.


". . . A lawsuit filed by female staffers unable to advance beyond 
secretarial and research jobs had exposed its inconsistent  zeal for 
equal rights," Whitaker wrote of the newsmagazine.

"But an African-American news editor, John Dotson, 
and his boss, Rod Gander, had finally gotten serious 
about integrating the magazine's ranks, and I was soon working with a 
rising generation of talented black journalists like Vern 
Smith, Sylvester Monroe, and Dennis 
Williams. They schooled me in Newsweek's ways, but also 
warned about limits to  advancement. After two successful summer 
stints, Dotson predicted that I might become a section head some day 
if I accepted a  full-time job. 'What about editor?' I asked. 
'Newsweek isn't ready for a black editor,' he replied somberly.


As editor, Whitaker said he ". . . championed fresh, provocative 
black voices like Ellis Cose, Allison 
Samuels, Veronica Chambers, Lynette 
Clemetson, and Marcus Mabry. Together with 
our white colleagues we did covers on the hidden rage of successful 
blacks, the rise of black women, the future of affirmative action, the 
complexities of multiracial identity, and the  relationship between 
African-Americans and Hispanics. We even dared to publish an issue 
called 'The Good News About Black  America' . . ."

Newsweek Was Respected for Its Race Coverage (Oct. 

Mark Whitaker Cites His Diversity Bona Fides (March 26, 2010)

Announcer Sorry for "Puerto Rican Temper" Comment

"Apparently making sweeping generalizations about 
athletes using ethnic stereotypes is still something people do when 
covering sporting events," Adrian Carrasquillo wrote Sunday for NBCLatino.


"During a game between Kansas State and Florida, ESPN announcer 
Mitch Holthus blamed a foul by Angel 
Rodriguez of Kansas State on the fact that he has a 'Puerto 
Rican temper.'

". . . Humor and culture site, Latino Rebels reached out to Holthus 
on Twitter asking for an apology for his comments and he quickly 
followed through. . . . "


The National 
Association of Hispanic Journalists Monday denounced Holthus' 

NAHJ President Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer 
at ESPN, wrote to members, "One executive vice president told me that 
both Holthus and a producer accepted accountability for their actions 
and that they will be disciplined. . . . In the last 24 hours I have 
spoken to several ESPN managers about how to prevent future 


Short Takes

"Judging by news coverage of the nation's 
fastest-growing ethnic minority, you'd think that 'the Hispanic 
condition' was a pathology. With the exception of growing power in 
the voting booth, the news makes it seem as though we're all poor, 
sick and generally unable to cope with life as well as others," 
Esther J. Cepeda wrote Friday for the Washington Post 
News Media Services.  ". . . The steady diet of bad news about 
segments of the Hispanic population drives a myth that all Latinos are 
downtrodden, at-risk or simply not as able as others."


In the Bay Area, " . . . veteran anchor/reporter, Don 
Sanchez, is retiring after more than four decades at 
KGO-TV," Rich Lieberman reported Thursday  for 
his Rich Lieberman Report. ". . . Sanchez was a part of the legendary 
time at KGO in the 1970's and 80's when KGO's newscasts were the 
dominant #1 program in the market. He did just about everything: 
sports, news, entertainment and multi-faceted features. Truly one of a 

The Asian American Journalists Association is mourning 
the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died 
Dec. 17 at age 88. ". . . AAJA especially appreciates Sen. 
Inouye's support of the Honolulu Advertiser's 600 employees and 
150,000 daily readers in April 2010, when he wrote a letter to the 
U.S. Department of Justice asking for a thorough review of the 
newspaper's impending sale, in the interest of 'preserving the 
diversity of voices in the media and protecting jobs.' "


In the Twin Cities, "Black voices are barely heard on local mainstream 
radio. It's even worse in local sports radio," Charles 
Hallman reported Wednesday for the Minnesota 
Spokesman-Recorder. "There is no Black  talent on the air in the Twin 
Cities except at KMOJ," KTWN-FM's Brandon Wright, a 
nine-year veteran, said in the story.

Nikita Stewart of the Washington Post, who broke stories about 
District of Columbia government scandals, is becoming one of the few 
journalists of color working in a newspaper's investigative unit. 
Stewart will continue to report on the D.C. government as a member of 
the Post's Investigative Unit, Investigative Editor Jeff Leen said, according to Will Sommer, reporting 
Dec. 18 for the Washington City Paper. Leen also announces another 
opening in the Investigative


The San Jose Mercury News is being challenged over a story 
reported Nov. 30 by Dan Nakaso that said, "Asian-Americans make up half of the Bay Area's technology workforce, and their 
double-digit employment gains came from jobs lost among white tech 
workers, according to an analysis by this newspaper of Census Bureau 
data . . . " Sylvie Barak wrote Friday in the EE 
Times, ". . . While 
that may or may not be true, the entire piece leaves a bad taste and stirs up sentiments perhaps better left well alone. After all, is 
the Mercury News implying it would rather the Bay Area start using 
affirmative action in the engineering space? And would that make 
things more fair? Is the Asian-American community to blame for 
seemingly having found a better way to channel children into 

Columnist Ruben Rosario of the Pioneer Press in 
St. Paul, Minn., writing about his treatment for multiple myeloma, 
noted that,  "For reasons scientists have not been able to discern, 
blacks have twice the per capita diagnosis and mortality rate as 
whites and more than twice that of Latinos." He quoted 
Barbara Davis, co-leader of a multiple myeloma 
support group in Stillwater, Minn.: " 'Even those black support group 
leaders lamented the difficulty they have in reaching other black 
patients,' she said, adding that the disparity of medical care in less 
affluent populations and people of color is a concern of hers and 


"Four Ethiopian journalists have received the 
prestigious Hellman/Hammett award for 2012 in recognition of their 
efforts to promote free expression in Ethiopia, one of the world's 
most restricted media environments," Human Rights Watch reported 
Thursday. "Eskinder Nega Fenta, an independent 
journalist and blogger; Reeyot Alemu Gobebo of the 
disbanded weekly newspaper Feteh; Woubshet Taye Abebe of the now-closed weekly newspaper Awramba Times; and Mesfin 
Negash of Addis Neger Online were among a diverse group of 41 
writers and journalists from 19 countries to receive the award in 

"The Baton Rouge Advocate is making a run at a weakened 
Times-Picayune in New Orleans," Ryan Chittum reported Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "The paper, which 
started a daily New Orleans edition in  October as the Newhouse family 
slashed the Times-Pic's newsroom and went to a three-day-a-week paper, 
has already picked up a circulation of 23,500, publisher David 
Manship told me yesterday. About 16,000 of those are daily 


"It hasn't been smooth sailing for Cristina Radio since 
its launch on Sirius XM 11 months ago," Veronica 
Villafañe reported Thursday for her Media Moves site. 
"National Latino Broadcasting (NLB), which programs and produces shows 
for the Cristina Radio and En Vivo channels on Sirius XM, this week 
has had to cut almost half of its staff. . . . An inside source tells 
me Cristina Saralegui is still going to the NLB 
studios to tape her weekly show."

A Boston Globe reconstruction of how the Mitt 
Romney campaign unfolded "shows that Romney's problems went deeper than is 
widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, 
strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured 
the  candidate's defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and 
tactical smarts of President Obama's operation," 
Michael  Kranish reported in Sunday's print edition.


"Newark Mayor Cory Booker pushed back 
. . . against a front page New York Times story suggesting that his 
mayorship hasn't lived up to its promise and that he appears more 
concerned, at times, with his public persona than with running the 
city, Michael Calderone reported Dec. 17 for the 
Huffington Post.

Retiring editor Wanda Lloyd of the Montgomery 
(Ala.) Advertiser " 'has had her hands full during her eight years in 
Montgomery, instituting a digital-first approach and as well as what 
she calls the new Montgomery plan,' shaped by a process in which 
the 55,000-circulation paper set out to define the 'passion topics' of 
its audience," Jason Ruiter wrote for the 
December/January issue of AJR. ". . . They came up with three distinct 
audiences - young professionals, families and what Lloyd called the 
'legacy' group - and tried to tailor their coverage accordingly."


The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is teaming with the 
National Association of Black Journalists on Jan. 17. The MMTC's 
Fourth Annual Broadband & Social Justice Policy Summit, to be held 
Jan. 16-17 at the Westin Georgetown in Washington, is being paired 
with the NABJ's Hall of Fame Induction and Reception, Jan. 17 at 6 
p.m. at the Newseum. NABJ members are encouraged to register for the 
conference as press, bloggers, or general registrants and MMTC 
attendees are urged to purchase discounted tickets to the NABJ event. 
This columnist is among the honorees.

Merry Christmas!

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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ( Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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