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WTTG (Fox 5) reporter Emily Miller advances gun-rights agenda in Maryland

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WTTG (Fox 5) reporter Emily Miller today gave an expansive speech about the importance of Second Amendment rights at a rally in Annapolis organized by Maryland Shall Issue (MSI), a volunteer gun-rights group. “I feel your pain, I get it,” Miller told the crowd assembled at the Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. That was a reference to Maryland’s gun laws, which MSI is committed to loosening. Miller then proceeded to lambaste the District’s history of restrictive regulations.

After her speech, however, Miller was a bit less open. When approached by the Erik Wemple Blog with questions about whether her employer approved her activities on behalf of gun-rights organizations, she responded, “Yes.” When we attempted to ask follow-up questions, she referred us to her publicist. “That’s our policy,” said Miller.

A bio on the Fox5 site lists Miller as the station’s chief investigative reporter, though a more accurate title would be chief investigative reporter-cum-gun activist. As reported by Media Matters, Miller recently addressed a gun-rights rally in Richmond, where she said, “It’s great to be in Virginia, which is part of America where you recognize the Second Amendment. I came from D.C. this morning, which is not part of America, because they don’t recognize the Second Amendment.”

Ripping the District appears to be a staple of Miller’s pro-gun stump speech. This morning, she spoke of the difficulties she had in obtaining a legally registered handgun in the city, a bureaucratic journey that she outlined in a Washington Times series titled, “Emily Gets Her Gun.” A book under the same title tells the story in long form. The gun itself is a two-toned Sig Sauer P229 9mm.

In her speech, Miller omitted any particular endorsement of the organizations involved in today’s event, which brought together MSI, the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association and the National Rifle Association. “I really don’t call myself pro-gun. That’s not how I refer to myself. And I’m not really a gun nut, although I know all you always want to see me at the range more often. … I call myself pro-Second Amendment. Because a gun is a tool but this fight — this fight is for freedom,” said Miller in conclusion, to applause from the assembled.

In introducing Miller, former Maryland delegate Mike Smigiel said, “We’re very honored and happy to have as our main speaker here today, who is a true investigative reporter who actually goes out there and is one of the people who puts her toes on the line for you and then reports on the kind of things she finds.”

Erica Keane, senior vice president of corporate communications for Fox Television Stations (a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox), tells the Erik Wemple Blog that the group of stations doesn’t release editorial standards — so it’s hard to gauge just how Miller’s advocacy work squares with the company rules. In any case, Miller doesn’t get paid for her appearances, says Keane. “Each speaking engagement is approved on a case-by-case basis,” she says.

In her work for WTTG, Miller frequently reports on the topic of her passion. Here’s an interview with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about gun registration; here’s something on the city’s gun carry rights; here’s a report on gun rules applying to people subject to temporary restraining orders.

Her beat goes beyond gun regulations, however, including coverage of turmoil at the D.C. police department, parking enforcement and her own appearance on the ABC show “The View.

Miller’s appearance puts WTTG in a bind vis-a-vis Maryland politics. Her presence directly assisted several groups in advancing their causes in the statehouse. Attendees were urged to take the message from the morning’s speakers to their representatives in the surrounding buildings. Should the gun-rights proponents prevail in their policy agenda, WTTG anchors may want to beat their chests on air.