McLaughlin Poll Exposes Concern About Media Bias on Guns, 2A

A new McLaughlin survey finds a clear majority of Americans are concerned about media bias when reporting on gun violence and the Second Amendment.

A new McLaughlin survey released Thursday shows a majority of Americans are “concerned” about media bias when it comes to reporting on gun-related violent crime and Second Amendment issues.

The poll was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, a national survey research and strategic services company specializing in public opinion research and media planning, for the Second Amendment Foundation. SAF was not involved in crafting survey questions or the actual polling, the group said in a release.

McLaughin revealed that a whopping 71.9 percent of Americans are concerned that the national media and news organizations such as ABC, CBS and NBC are biased when it comes to reporting about gun violence and Second Amendment issues. By contrast, only 16.6 percent of respondents are “not very concerned”, and a scant 8.9 percent are “not concerned at all” about the perceived bias.

This comes on the heels of a Rasmussen survey which found a majority of likely voters do not believe the media is covering the important issues of the upcoming presidential election campaign. According to Rasmussen, “Only 28% of voters rate the national news media as doing a good or excellent job in terms of covering the most important issues, while 46% give the media a poor rating.”

This begs the question: Is the media out of touch with average Americans? SAF’s Alan Gottlieb had an interesting observation as he announced the McLaughlin survey results. “If media bias on this issue is so clear to Americans, it raises the question as to why?”

Media bias has become an embarrassing issue in recent weeks, following an Op-Ed by now-former NPR veteran business editor Uri Berliner accusing NPR of bias. Berliner subsequently resigned.

Scrutiny on alleged bias has become so intense that on May 8, the House Energy Committee held a hearing on the subject and NPR CEO Katherine Maher declined an invitation to appear before the committee, according to Fox News. An NPR spokesperson reportedly told Fox News Digital that Maher would be willing to testify on a different date.

The question of media bias against guns is nothing new. Almost two years ago, the Associated Press announced a style change in how newspapers should report on so-called “assault weapons,” as reported by the National Review.

“The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a  subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle. An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted,” the AP said in its Stylebook, which is considered the equivalent of a bible for copy editors and reporters.

But to this day, very few news agencies appear to have switched gears on this important issue. Semi-auto rifles are still referred to as “assault rifles,” which the firearms community knows is simply false. It is one thing to make an error and correct it, and an entirely different thing when the known error continues to be repeated. This is the sort of thing which contributes to criticism of media bias about guns and the Second Amendment.

Veteran pollster Jim McLaughlin, president and partner at McLaughlin and Associates, is quoted in a SAF news release observing, “Clearly the vast majority of Americans have lost faith in the national media when it comes to reporting honestly and fairly about gun violence and Second Amendment issues. Interestingly, not only are Republicans (83%) suspect of the information they receive, but Independents (69%) and even Democrats (63%) are worried about bias on Second Amendment and gun violence issues.”

SAF’s Gottlieb believes guns, crime and the Second Amendment will be “major issues” in the 2024 presidential and congressional elections, and gun rights versus gun control will likely be an issue in gubernatorial and legislative elections as well.

Joe Biden has been outspoken in his efforts to ban so-called “assault rifles” and even 9mm pistols. Many gun owners and rights activists say the president has “weaponized” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to crack down on firearms dealers, and also to add restrictions on law-abiding gun owners who make private sales or purchases of firearms as collectors or hobbyists.

The McLaughlin survey also found that 36 percent of respondents considered themselves Democrats, another 36 percent are Republicans and 28 percent are Independents.

Interestingly, 29.1 percent identified as liberal, 35 percent identify as moderate and 35.9 percent consider themselves conservative, the poll found.

Another revelation about the McLaughlin poll is that an overwhelming majority (85.4%) are regular voters, with 64.8 percent saying they always vote and 20.5 percent saying the “almost always” vote.

And there was another stunning revelation of the McLaughlin survey. Only 24 percent believe the United States is on the “right track” while 68.2 percent believe the country is on the “wrong track.” Likewise, a May 13 Rasmussen poll said only 28 percent of likely voters think the country “is heading in the right direction” while 67 percent “believe the nation is headed down the wrong track.”

The pollsters are evidently on to something, and it will likely play out Nov. 5.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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