It’s no surprise that CNN and conservatives are not exactly on good terms at the moment. CNN has been tagged with the ‘Fake News’ line by Trump, his supporters and some on the Right. I have never been a fan of CNN, and for many of us it's simply unwatchable. We could go through the myriad of evidence that documents CNN’s overwhelming liberal slant, but I’m going to keep this more positive, as difficult as that may be.
CNN ran a particularly interesting article on the surge of memberships for the National African-American Gun Association (NAAGA). If you ignore the bias, CNN ran a balanced journalistic article on 2nd amendment rights and also provided a window for how the right could expand its base.
To be clear, CNN didn’t just have a sudden impulse to practice fair journalism regarding the 2nd amendment issue, but rather it reinforced their narrative. The intention of this article is to propagate the theme that Trump and his supporters are creating a ‘climate of hate’ that causes African-Americans to fear for their safety.
Also, the validity of CNN’s narrative takes a hit when they cite the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the only source, when it was this very organization that put Ben Carson on the ‘Extremist Watch List’. Okay, fine, let’s put the inherent bias that asserts Trump and those on the right are fueling this ‘climate of hate’ to the side, and rather focus on the narrative that I would like to put forward.
CNN not only promoted the 2nd amendment in the article, they also provided conservatives with insight into how to improve their communication with a group normally not receptive to their message. The article really accentuated many of the best pro-2nd amendment arguments. Interestingly, it wasn’t the CNN reporter but rather those he interviewed at the NAAGA gun club that interjected some of the most solid rationales for a pro-2nd amendment stance.
Phrases like ‘I tend to favor the constitution’, or ‘Individuals are guaranteed the right for a firearm’, or ‘You know what, let me get a gun just in case something happens, just to make sure’ positions this CNN article solidly in the pro-2nd amendment camp. With that said, the article also reaffirms a fundamental argument for small government principles.
Our Founders envisioned the right to bear arms as an ultimate recourse in case of a tyrannical government, and according to the CNN, this is largely why African American gun ownership has surged. This notion that government can become a tyrannical one is a primary apprehension among conservatives. If government were to become tyrannical, you would prefer it to be small.
Phillip Smith, the President of NAAGA, alluded to just this on CNN. “I’d be lying to you if I said Donald Trump hasn’t affected our numbers,” he said. “They have jumped off the roof.”
This is an admission that his organization’s newest members exhibit some consternation of a tyrannical government, specifically under Trump’s leadership.
Trump is just a personality (like all politicians), and personalities can be polarizing. However, there is policy behind the personality, and it’s the policy where the rubber meets the road. Personalities can be difficult to discuss, but policy is philosophy, and that’s much less polarizing to debate. Dismiss Trump’s personality and what remains is a win for those in the pro-liberty, pro-constitution camp.
There is undoubtedly a pro-liberty, pro-constitution stance by most gun owners regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity. Those of us on the Right struggle tremendously with the African American community, but as this CNN article illustrates, it’s clear we have ample opportunity among the pro-2nd amendment population. It’s our duty as conservatives not to engage in ‘tribalism’ politics and cater to groups like the Left. Rather, we ought to demonstrate that our message of pro-liberty, pro-constitution and ultimately a philosophy of a ‘big individual’ with a ‘small government’ serves the interest of all our citizens.