John Hockenberry, host of NPR’s The Takeaway, interviewed Tom Gresham of Gun Talk last Thursday. The interview was polite if a bit contentious. The contentiousness came due to the closed mind of Hockenberry who, by the way, had interviewed Piers Morgan about guns the day before. Tom was asked to be on the show because he has the largest, nationally syndicated radio show devoted to guns in America.
Tom discussed his interview on Sunday’s Gun Talk. He noted that he spoke with Hockenberry for approximately a half hour while what was aired was less than eight minutes.
During the interview the topic of the funding of “gun violence” (sic) research at the Centers for Disease Control came up. Tom said he wasn’t opposed to funding research at the CDC if it wasn’t done with a preconceived outcome. That is when Hockenberry equated guns with ebola. Tom responded, somewhat incredulously, “You are equating guns with ebola?” Hockenberry responded, “Guns kill. Diseases kill. It’s a public health issue.”
You can listen to the whole interview below:
It is interesting to note that some of Hockenberry’s liberal listeners were not impressed with how Hockenberry handled things. There was this comment by “Jenny from Connecticut”:
This is the most disappointing segment of this show I’ve ever heard, and it’s one that will forever change how I feel about The Takeaway and John Hockenberry. He wasn’t interested in having a real conversation with his guest; he treated Mr. Gresham like some ignorant bloodthirsty redneck and refused to engage in a conversation. (By the way. Mr. Hockenberry, studying ebola is NOT just like studying gun violence. Ebola is most definitely deadly and likely to result in one’s death. Guns are not 100% guaranteed deadly; they have to be misused by a person to kill. Comparing gun violence to a highly virulent disease is just plain ignorant. You were so hell-bent on showing how superior you are to Mr. Gresham that you clearly couldn’t think straight.)
I say all this by way of disappointment. I am a good, anti-gun liberal (who also grew up with people who used guns safely and sanely, and I do believe that is possible) but more and more I hear commentary like this: “Oh, I’m such a smart liberal who knows guns kill and you are some dumb hillbilly I can condescend to.” It cheapens the debate and will never get us to a place of safety.
Another listener, “James from Philly” had this to say:
Really sounded like Mr. Hockenberry let too much of Piers “Musket” Morgan rub off on him before interviewing Mr. Gresham. That was an incredibly unprofessional interview on Hockenberry’s part and rather than discuss the points Tom Gresham was making (and he was stating facts) he devolved into some strange passive-aggressive theme where he anthropomorphized firearms and mischaracterized Tom’s statements, demonstrating the Mr. Hockenberry was more interested in peddling gun control laws for their own sake rather than weighing the real merits and seeing why such laws do nothing that they are promised to do. Journalistic integrity is becoming a rarity, even on NPR.
Hockenberry did have his supporters:
Tom LI: How can anyone seriously argue that the presence of a gun doesn’t embolden certain personalities to use the device suddenly and emotionally..?
Mary from Nor Cal: THANK YOU!!!!! You are one of the only honest, forthright and outspoken journalists out there. Thank you for your show! Regarding guns – handguns need to be banned. We are the only covalized county that allows gun ownership and it is long past time to change that.
Moving beyond the show to Hockenberry himself, I find it interesting that for someone confined to a wheelchair since 1976 that he is so anti-gun and anti-self defense. I wonder what he would say to my friend Kurt Hofmann who, like Hockenberry, is a paraplegic confined to wheelchair. Kurt, gun blogger, the former St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner and current S.W.A.T. Magazine columnist, came to gun rights when he found that Illinois would not let him defend himself with a firearm outside the home. That would be an interesting conversation to say the least!