December 23, 2012
NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre
National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre appeared this morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to continue pressing for his organization’s insistence that armed guards are the most effective way to protect schools across the country. Picking up on a talking point from his Friday news conference, LaPierre said that armed protection is a critical factor in protecting all kinds of folks, including the media: “Most of the media, when I go around this country, they’re protected by armed guards,” said LaPierre to David Gregory.

That draws a giant huh? from this blog.

As it does from Matthew Rosenberg, a foreign correspondent from the New York Times based in Afghanistan. Via Twitter:

“Did LaPierre really say ‘most of the media’ protected by armed guards? Even in Kabul – yes, Kabul – the NYT has no armed guards.”

When asked whether the New York Times provides armed protection for its reporters, spokeswoman Eileen Murphy responded, “No.”

Media organizations indeed shelled out piles of money to protect their reporters during the years-long hostilities following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But LaPierre appeared to be referencing neither Iraq nor Afghanistan nor any other overseas war zone. He was talking about “this country.”

A suitable expert regarding media expenditures on armed protection is Martin Baron. He’s the outgoing top editor of the Boston Globe, the incoming top editor of The Washington Post and the former executive editor of the Miami Herald, among other editing jobs. So what about this armed-protection thing? Writes Baron via e-mail: “Never once heard of this, never authorized it, never paid for it and don’t for a second believe it. The only exception I can recall is, at times, for some security in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
More such sentiment comes from a CBS News source: “I can tell you definitively that the bureau and the CBS Broadcast Center guards are NOT armed. (Trust me, you wouldn’t want guns in the hands of some of those folks!) … I can’t speak for the correspondents who travel in dangerous areas internationally, but my guess is even they aren’t accompanied by armed guards.”

ABC News declined to comment on security. A no-comment may just have to serve as a win for LaPierre on this contention.

Consider this, too: In the same session that he used to contend that most of the media gets armed protection, he criticized politicians (and apparently the media) for getting a bunch of things wrong:

They say these guns are more powerful. Not true. They say they make bigger holes. Not true. They say they use larger bullets. Not true. They say they’re weapons of war. Not true. I mean everything they’re saying, they say they’re military guns like our soldiers use. That’s not true. I mean assault weapons –

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.