Grammar aside, this front page — featuring photos of presidential contenders Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina, plus House Speaker Paul Ryan (what, no Chris Christie?) — is over-the-top. Obviously. Plenty of people disagree with Republicans’ opposition to new gun control measures, but do they really think these Second Amendment defenders are actually in favor of letting innocent people die from gun violence?
It’s only one cover, and the Daily News’s liberal bent is well-known, so don’t expect Cruz, Rubio and company to get too worked up about it. They tend to save their complaints for media outlets that try — and, in their minds, fail — to cover both sides of issues fairly.
The trouble is that Wednesday’s Daily News cover adds one more drop of poison to an already-toxic political environment full of extremely divisive rhetoric. It’s not enough, apparently, to present a reasoned argument in favor of gun safety measures; you have to cast opponents as “pro-death.” In a lot of ways, that's symptomatic of the presidential debate on guns, as we've re-learned over the last couple days as President Obama has announced new executive actions on guns.
When the press engages in this kind of demagoguery, it gives politicians a license to do the same. We could protest that they started it and note that unilateral disarmament (so to speak) is a bad strategy, but we’d be missing the point. The media can’t credibly push presidential candidates to engage in thoughtful discourse unless it’s willing to do the same first.