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L. Neil Smith's
Number 804, January 11, 2015

We will Never Give up Our Right to Freedom of Speech

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PBS—Propaganda B*S*
by J. Neil Schulman

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I'm neither a conservative nor a supporter of the Republican Party. I'm a non-party libertarian—and I expect to be a principled non-voter in the 2016 presidential election—either that or vote for any minor-party candidate as a protest vote against the two major parties.

In 2008 I voted for the anti-War candidate Barack Obama to defeat the apparently more pro-war John McCain. My crystal ball was apparently not working well at the time.

So when in this article I identify a PBS program I just saw as Democratic Party liberal propaganda—a question framed by its producers in such a biased way that a preordained conclusion is inescapable for anyone not seeing the method of propaganda being used—it's not because I'm favoring an outcome of Republican or right-wing enhancement.

Frontline logo

In the January 6, 2015 edition of PBS's documentary series Frontline—tonight's episode titled "Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA"—the program graphically and emotionally portrayed a problem of gun violence—dead children and grieving parents at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—plus a severely wounded Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and surrounding fatalities in Tucson, Arizona—and the solution to this problem, increased barriers to civilian access to firearms, being stymied by the lobbying of the National Rifle Association.

Before we proceed, a question. Can you identify the source of this quote, a description of a police agency, as "jack-booted government thugs" who wear "Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms"?

Was it the Reverend Al Sharpton talking in 2014 about the Ferguson, Missouri or New York City police?

Uh-uh. It was the National Rifle Association's Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, writing in 1995 about the federal agents who killed unarmed women and children at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas.

For which the NRA was attacked by liberals.

Suppose PBS's Frontline producers wanted to do a show about the use of automobiles in America, and showed only a Red Asphalt type of gruesome vehicular fatalities—never mentioning even for a second all the times people got where they were going safely, usefully, and conveniently. Suppose there wasn't a single example in this documentary about the use of automobiles in getting to work or going on a family vacation. Further suppose that the documentary juxtaposed these obviously destructive automotive death traps with profiles of the American Automobile Association and their powerful Washington lobbyists? Would one reasonably conclude we were seeing a one-sided propaganda piece?

Or let's imagine PBS's Frontline producers did a program about Alan Turing, and focused only on his conviction for indecency as a homosexual breaking long-established British law, and never mentioned that Turing developed the computer breaking the Nazi Enigma machine code that led to an earlier defeat of Germany, saving about 14 million lives? Would this qualify as propaganda?

Julius Schulman
Julius Schulman

PBS just did a show which showed us victims of gun-related violence and tugged at our heartstrings. But there wasn't a single example such as that of my father, violinist Julius Schulman, who on several occasions saved himself and a Guarnerius violin made 1716 in Cremona, Italy, from Boston and New York City muggers, because he was armed with a handgun that he merely had to display to fend off gang attacks late at night as he returned home after a performance.

My father's case is not mere family anecdote but is supported by criminological statistics finding that Defensive Gun Uses vastly outnumber uses of guns producing tragedy. I've written about this extensively. On the website I maintain, The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock, I support this statement, and provide a link to a free PDF copy of my book, Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns.

Stopping Power
Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns

There is nothing new or special about Frontline's propagandistic approach by which the good guns do in the hands of righteous people is eclipsed by the bad guns do in the hands of criminals, psychos, and terrorists.

But that's because modern liberals on the left, like modern neocons on the right, worship absolute power to promote their totalitarian agendas, and the ability of a well-armed people to shoot back is their nemesis.

If you're interested in a documentary that shows what Paul Harvey used to call "the rest of the story," I strongly recommend the documentary Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire, narrated by Ice-T.

Assaulted: Civil Rghts Under Fire poster

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