Gabrielle Giffords in The New York Times on the Senate's rejection of background checks The Senators who voted, some almost gleefully, against a bill requiring background checks for gun purchases, writes former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in an op-ed that everyone seems to be reading, "looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing." By ignoring the 90 percent of Americans who favored such legislation, Giffords wrote, the Senators fell short of their political duty to their constituents: "They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony." Writing for The New Republic, Adam Winkler agreed, but focused on the underlying power dynamic: "Ultimately, most of the blame for the failure of new guns laws belongs to gun control opponents, who see every gun law as the beginning of the end of gun rights." Others focused on the political reality of the Senate. Dan Balz at The Washington Post wrote that the bill's defeat "symbolized the difference between the power of public opinion and the strength of a concerted minority." The Daily Telegraph's Tim Stanley, meanwhile, heaped blame on the President. "Why should conservative senators give him a legislative victory after he has spent four years painting them as knuckle-dragging rednecks who hate women and the poor?" he asked. And it remains unclear what the consequences of the Senate's vote, if any, will be. While Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast portends an upheaval — "You cannot oppose the will of 90 percent of the public and expect no consequences." — Matthew Lewis at The Daily Caller doubts the intensity of the electorate's feelings on gun violence, writing, "The fact that 90 percent of Americans favor something is largely irrelevant. ... According to Gallup, just 4 percent of Americans see guns as the most pressing problem to be addressed. So the support for gun control is an inch deep and a mile wide."
Michael Moynihan at The Daily Beast on media coverage of the Boston bombings Does anyone know what's going on in Boston? "Three days in, it's nearly impossible to keep track of who has been wrong about what," writes Michael Moynihan, who recounts the spread of misinformation from Beantown and beyond: "On Monday evening, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that additional bombs had been found on the marathon route. The AP, citing a "senior U.S. intelligence official," likewise said, "Two more explosive devices have been found near the scene of the Boston marathon where two bombs detonated earlier." On Wednesday a Los Angeles Times reporter tweeted that "feds have I'’d TWO suspects." Interested in, yes, but not identified." Identifying similar flaws in stalwart outlets like The New Yorker, Moynihan wonders if anyone is immune to error in a fast-moving story. "Isn't the outrage here a bit selective and, under the banner of keeping journalists honest, a tad dishonest?" One outlet in particular, the New York Post, attracted considerable criticism for overstating the number of casualties and reporting that police were investigating a "Saudi national" in connection to the bombings. "If there's anything the Post, as a proud big-city tabloid, is supposed to be good at, it's big crime stories; working cop sources as well as sources buried deep inside the FBI and the federal government," says Eric Boehlert at Media Matters. " ... This debacle is bad; really bad. Even for the New York Post." (They're up to it again today.) Over at Bloomberg View, Jeffrey Goldberg warned against political sniping, of which both New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin were accused. "Part of talking for a living is knowing when to shut up," Goldberg said.