Globe targets assault rifles, Ayotte in editorial wrap

Printed from:

BOSTON – In a move reminiscent of its one-time parent, the Boston Globe put its editorial opinion front and center Thursday, wrapping the newspaper with a package urging tighter gun controls under a red-letter headline: “Make it stop.”

The paper’s move reflected a Dec. 5 New York Times front page which prominently displayed an editorial calling for a ban on military assault-style weapons like those used both in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack and in the massacre in Orlando this week. The Globe’s more ostentatious display recalled an editorial attack on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in April using a mock front page.

Adjacent to Thursday’s headline, which put “stop” in red ink, a life-sized image of a military-style semi-automatic rifle sprawled across the page and a bullet-hole sized spot. On the back, an outline of an exit wound appears beside an editorial. Inside, the opinion page presents facts and figures, including a timeline since 2004 of mass shootings. It also highlights the positions of six senators – five Republicans and a Democrat – who “could have made the difference.”

An accompanying online multimedia package also includes interactive graphics and an opportunity to “take action,” and buttons that can be used to send email or to tweet at each of the six senators, who include New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, a Republican seeking re-election this year.

On Twitter, the Globe’s account spewed out names and ages of mass shooting victims throughout the day Thursday.

Not everyone agreed with the the gun control sentiments expressed by the trending #MakeItStop, however:

At the Conservative Review, Phil Shiver fact-checked the editorial, suggesting that the data the Globe used contradicted U.S. Justice Department figures, in particular since the federal ban on assault-style weapons ended in 2004.

“The Globe undoubtedly infers that a renewal of the ‘assault weapons’ ban should be passed. But are rifles really the grave danger here? To be short, no,” Shiver wrote for the Kansas City, Missouri-based website. “In fact, annual deaths by rifle have been on a steady decline since 2004 and account for less than 10 percent of all firearm homicides.”

Dan Kennedy, a Northeastern University journalism professor and media critic, took a more balanced view of the Globe’s approach:

“Unfortunately, the problem with such campaigns is that even when they’re effective at making their case, they’re ineffective in changing anyone’s minds,” he wrote on his blog. “Still, we have to try. So kudos.”

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.