Recently Dayan Edwards posted a comment on this blog that contained a link to a 60 Minutes segment on trigger problems associated with a certain Remington rifle, Model 700. A federal class action suit involving Remington’s rifle was filed here in Missouri, and the parties are awaiting final court approval of an agreement to settle the case. The 60 Minutes segment was broadcast on February 19 and I have posted it below. It’s hard to watch because of the tragedies involved and because we all know how much power the gun industry has over our politics and our culture. But other than displaying the outrageous behavior of a gun manufacturer, I have another reason to post the video, and it begins with Remington’s lengthy and defensive response to the 60 Minute piece.
Remington concludes, naturally, that it stands “behind the safety and reliability of its firearms,” saying the Model 700 “has earned its reputation among millions of satisfied users as America’s most popular, reliable and trusted bolt-action rifle.” That a manufacturer, nearly culturally immune to any liability for what it does, would conclude such a thing is to be expected. But Remington uses a Tr-mpian tactic in trying to publicly defend itself against blame for manufacturing an apparently (and to most people, obviously) defective product. Keep in mind the fact that Remington refused to be interviewed on camera for the 60 Minutes report, as you read the following introduction to Remington’s public response, which I include in full. And see if the response doesn’t sound familiar:
Remington was first contacted by a 60 Minutes producer in October 2016 advising that CBS was “working on a [60 Minutes segment] in regards to the XMP recall and the pending Pollard Class Action Settlement.” The 60 Minutes producers, representing that CBS was interested in airing “a complete, well-rounded, and accurate report,” asked Remington to provide background information about Model 700 rifles and about two independent incidents involving Model 700 rifles. Given this representation and with the hope that 60 Minutes was truly interested in producing a balanced and accurate report, Remington sent 60 Minutes numerous records and information on those topics, and it also directed CBS to specific, readily available public records related to the topics chosen as the focus by 60 Minutes.
It is distressing that most of the information Remington provided to 60 Minutes was not included or ever referenced in its February 19, 2017 Remington segment. To set the record straight and to provide Remington’s valued customers and viewers of the 60 Minutes segment with a complete and accurate understanding of several of the matters presented in the segment, Remington provides below a listing of information either in 60 Minutes’ possession or readily available to it in public records before it aired its segment. This material puts the 60 Minutes’ segment in context and exposes 60 Minutes’ pre-determined viewpoint and intentional omission of key facts that would have reflected balanced reporting of the circumstances of those tragic incidents.
That last sentence is crucial to understanding why it is that Tr-mp and his loyalists, including those in the gun industry, go to so much trouble to discredit mainstream journalism. Remington says the material it provides “exposes 60 Minutes pre-determined viewpoint.” Remington says 60 Minutes intentionally omitted “key facts.” Substitute Tr-mp for Remington in the statement above and you see the blueprint of the next four years, in terms of how Tr-mp intends to avoid liability for his grifting and his malfeasance.
The point of all this, which can’t be emphasized enough, is that we need to support good journalism. We need to fiercely resist the effort to trash mainstream journalism as “fake news” and to fiercely resist the effort to transform trashy outlets like Breitbart into mainstream news sites. That is why, even though I understand how hard it is for Democrats to win in places like West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin should be utterly condemned for the following:
On Wednesday Feb 8, West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin welcomed the Breitbart News editorial team to his Capitol Hill office for an hourlong off-the-record “get to know you” session. It was part of a behind-the-scenes process — kicked off post-election and led by Manchin’s communications director Jonathan Kott — to establish warmer relations with the right-wing news outlet.
Joe Manchin is a very conservative Democrat in a state Tr-mp won by 42 points. He is up for relection in two years. He is trying to win. But if the price of winning is the legitimization of outlets like Breitbart, if the price of winning is to make alt-right media normal, then that price is too high. Keeping a very right-wing Manchin in office as a Democrat is not worth it, if it means Breitbart and outlets like it come to be seen in the same light as CBS’s 60 Minutes.
Speaking of which, here is that 60 Minutes segment, an example of real, first-rate journalism: