pearl clutchThe editors of the Arizona Republic today had their Washington Bureau reporter, Erin Kelly,  file a report in support of their manufactured scandal over the allegedly Vile ad by Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC regarding Martha McSally’s opposition to closing any loopholes in federal gun laws, a fact that The Republic’s own AZ Fact Check rated four stars “True.” The purpose of Kelly’s report, Giffords’ group pulls TV ad attacking McSally, is summed up in one graph:

The ad appeared to backfire on Giffords’ group, leading to headlines like one in Politico on Sunday declaring “Gabby Giffords gets mean.” The ad also was denounced Friday by the Arizona Republic Editorial Board, which said the ad “exploits a family’s tragedy to score cheap political points.”


The Republic’s editorial on Friday was cited by the kidz at POLITICO Tiger Beat on the Potomac on Sunday, and now The Republic is citing Tiger Beat in this report on Wednesday. This is the purest example of how the “Closed Conservative Information Feedback Loop” works in action: The Republic is effectively citing its own editorial opinion.

It is the manufactured scandal by The Republic editors that has backfired. Dan Gibson, editor of the Tucson Weekly, destroyed The Republic’s editorial opinion in “Gabby Giffords Gets Mean”? No, Not Really. Jim Nintzel, the political reporter for the Tucson Weekly who was just named ‘Journalist of the Year’ and deservedly so (congratulations Jim!), demonstrates to the hacks at The Republic how real journalism is done. McSally Says She Wants To Close “Stalker Gap,” Giffords’ Gun-Safety Group Takes Down Ad:

After Republican congressional candidate Martha McSally announced today that she supported changing federal gun laws to include those who are convicted of misdemeanor stalking on the list of prohibited possessors, Gabby Giffords’ political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, said it would be ending the run of a controversial TV ad one day early.

Pia Carusone, a senior adviser to Americans for Responsible Solutions, said she was pleased that McSally was moving away from her blanket opposition to expanding background checks.

“We’re happy to see Martha McSally has changed her position on making it illegal for convicted stalkers to legally acquire firearms,” Carusone said. “We hope her evolution on this issue continues.”

But McSally spokesman Patrick Ptak said that McSally has always supported closing the so-called “stalker gap,” although she had never addressed the issue before.

A position never expressed is not a position. McSally just flip-flopped from her previously stated position of opposing closing any loopholes in federal gun laws, to supporting closing the “stalker gap” directly as a result of this ad. As Nintzel reports:

flip-flopsMcSally has previously said that she opposes changes in the law that would put more people on the list of prohibited possessors. In April, Team McSally deputy campaign manager Kristen Douglas told ABC News that McSally is “pro Second Amendment and believes our focus for preventing shootings should be on strengthening our mental health system and enforcing background check laws already on the books, not expanding those laws that will do little to prevent violence and infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens.

When asked how much she supported the goals of the National Rifle Association on a scale from one to 10, McSally told a crowd of Republican supporters earlier this year that she saw herself as a 10.

* * *

But today, Ptak told the Weekly that McSally makes an exception to her previous opposition in the case of the stalker gap. McSally, said Ptak, does support expanding gun laws by “adding misdemeanor stalking to the list of criminal offenses that would keep dangerous individuals from obtaining guns in other states where stalking can also be a misdemeanor. Martha strongly believes we need to place a greater emphasis on the cause of gun violence by addressing our broken mental health care system and enhancing our ability to recognize and treat signs of mental illness.”

Nintzel provides the necessary context that The Republic reporting never does:

There is a gap in the law that allows people who are convicted of stalking to buy firearms. As it now stands, those convicted of felony stalking at the state level have their names added to the federal “prohibited possessor” list that is used for background checks when licensed firearm dealers sell guns.

But those convicted of misdemeanor stalking do not have their names added to the list.

Stalking laws vary from state to state (and federal law only addresses stalking if someone a state line while harassing a victim). In Arizona, stalking is a felony and anyone convicted of the crime is prohibited from buying a gun from a licensed dealer until their rights are restored, although they can still purchase a firearm from a second-hand dealer. But many other states treat stalking as a misdemeanor, which means those convicted of the crime do not have their names added to the list of prohibited possessors.

Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.) last year introduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013, which would add the names of those convicted of misdemeanor stalking or of abusing someone they are dating to the list of those who are prohibited from possessing a firearm, but the legislation went nowhere.

[Ptak has not responded to a question as to whether McSally would support the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013, which is opposed by the NRA.]

McSally spokesman Patrick Ptak declined to discuss the details of McSally’s stalking episode, so it’s unclear whether police were involved or if her stalker was convicted of any crime.

Did you catch that reporter boys and girls? Jim Nintzel actually asked Team McSally about the details of her alleged stalking incident and for police records to verify her claim. Of course, “the candidate” declined to provide any statement, nor any evidence to verify her claim.

Nor would McSally take a position on Sen. Klobucher’s Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013. I’m sure McSally would have responded with her previous lame excuse: “I’m not in Congress, so I’m not running a shadow congressional staff that’s sitting there and getting all the briefings that they have the privilege of having there, and I usually don’t like to weigh in on legislation I haven’t read.”

Team McSally is used to the GOP-friendly media of Arizona being good little stenographers who simply report whatever Team McSally says without questioning or verifying her claims. Jim Nintzel was having none of it.

And Nintzel dismissed the “pearl clutching” editorial by The Republic: “’Stalker Gap’ was condemned by the Arizona Republic editorial page, which called it “base and vile” for linking McSally to the killing of Daniel and Kara Walker. But other publications—including the Tucson Weekly and Slate—noted that the ad accurately portrayed the statements that McSally had made prior to today.” Something Erin Kelly of The Republic glaringly left out of her “Closed Conservative Information Feedback Loop” reporting today.

The editors of The Republic should be ashamed of their manufactured scandal.

UPDATE: Erik Wemple, the media critic for the Washington Post, smacks down the kidz at POLITICO Tiger Beat on the Potomac. Politico: Gabby Giffords ‘gets mean.’ Really?