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By Larry Pratt

January 6, 2006

We are living in a rather unique time. In the past, only the rich and powerful could expect to have lots of leisure time. Generally, the elite with too much time on its hands corroborated the saying that, �Idle hands are the devil�s workshop.�

James Hirsen builds a strong case in Hollywood Nation that what had been a temptation for a relative few in the past is now a problem for whole societies. The devil�s workshop of our time could be characterized as an entertainment culture.

A serious challenge to traditional values comes from our tendency to put our brains in neutral while being entertained. We are not likely to ask ourselves while watching a movie, �How many of the Ten Commandments were broken in an approving fashion in what we just watched?� Nor are we very likely to ask while watching the news, �How many ways did that speech or regulation or law violate the Declaration of Independence and Constitution?�

Now that I have read Hirsen�s book, it is perfectly obvious that there has been a blurring of entertainment and news. Not only is the presentation of the news designed to stretch our thirty-second attention spans, but the talking heads themselves often become celebrities. George Putnam, a Los Angeles TV and radio talk show host, has also appeared in movies. And the celebrity status of evening anchors such as Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather has long been a fact.

Sometimes the mixing of entertainment and news goes over the edge even in our �enlightened� times when some of the heretofore local anchor babes have had rather newsworthy photos of themselves posted on the web. A close runner up to how far the local gals have been willing to go was a very suggestive ad run by CNN to attract viewers for Paula Zahn�s program.

Government and journalism also appear to be joined at the hip. A personification of the non-adversarial relationship between most of the media and most big-government politicians is George Stephanopolous. Stephanopolous went from President Bill Clinton�s personal staff to ABC news. His �reporting� on the Clinton White House seemed to many as perfectly natural.

The leftward tilt of most of the press was put succinctly (how else?) by Ann Coulter: �A higher percentage of the DC press corps voted for Clinton in 1992 than did registered Democrats.�

Gun owners are particularly aware of Michael Moore and his hatchet job on firearms and their owners. His genre looks something like a documentary. Hollywood and Moore certainly want us to think that his films are documentaries. But, as Hirsen shows, Moore could have taught the Nazi propaganda pros a thing or two. If health labeling applied to filmmaking, Moore�s work would be labeled �fact free.�

Sometimes a media celebrity surprises us. Bill O�Reilly of The O�Reilly Factor, may have had an ephiphany after Huricane Katrina. Having been on O�Reilly�s show, I can say with certainty that in the past he has supported gun control. He reiterates this position quite candidly in an interview with Hirsen. But following the decision of San Francisco voters to illegalize possession of handguns, O�Reilly wondered out loud, in view of the horrific scenes during and after Katrina, how could the people of San Francisco vote to leave themselves defenseless against criminals?

The mindless, blindness PC culture of the American campus is deeply rooted in the liberal view of the First Amendment and how it applies in politics. Hirsen illustrates the dictatorial mindset of many liberals with the effort of to silence political speech they don�t like. had a petition to the FCC complaining that it is not fair in a democratic society to present your opinion as fact in a campaign ad! In other words, if you do not agree with me, you are a liar.

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These are the sorts of folks that watch Michael Moore movies as a learning experience. I actually had a TV host base a question to me on information he derived from Moore�s anti-gun docufiction Bowling for Columbine. He did not ask me to refute the factoid. He thought that Moore had thrown me a �gotcha.�

We had better keep our brains engaged while watching the news and the movies. Or we may wake up and see a socialist gun banner in the mirror.

(My Live Fire interview with Jim Hirsen is at His book can be purchased just about anywhere.)

� 2006 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:  


Either Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.








Government and journalism also appear to be joined at the hip. A personification of the non-adversarial relationship between most of the media and most big-government politicians is George Stephanopolous.