Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Editorial: Pearce's gun proposal sounds great to felons

The unnamed Courier editor displays some common sense in protesting Sen. Russell Pearce's attempt to roll back restrictions on firearms, even identifying Pearce correctly as "radical," qualifying for the cookie. I'm grateful that the Courier has lately been consistently applying a more nuanced position on guns than the blind devotion it did previously. It's just too bad the editor's not a little better at journalism, however.

Yesterday, before deadline, the bill passed out of committee carrying amendments addressing the editor's expressed concerns. In other words, the editor wound up writing about a different bill, getting his editorial completely wrong. Here's the update.

This might be just an "oh well,things change" moment, but the readers wind up utterly misled on the content of the legislation, so any input they give their representatives will misfire.

A newspaper editor should understand that the legislative committee process is where a raw bill gets hammered into something the body can vote on, and it's rare that a bill doesn't change substantially in the process. In Arizona it's relatively easy to find out online when a bill is being considered in which committee, and the state offers streaming real-time video of many committee hearings. It's not like the editor couldn't know what was going on.

A skilled journalist would have either published this before the committee process, when constituents still had time to weigh in on the raw bill, or held his fire until the bill was out of all committees and appeared on the floor agenda. On this the editor jumped the gun. (Sorry, sometimes I can't resist.)

Will we perhaps see a followup on the current bill?

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