It's been a while since I've decided to compare how various papers cover the same story, but when I saw the TV coverage of the tasering of a pro gun protester on the State House lawn, I thought...boy, what fun we'll have putting the Union Leader and Concord Monitor side by side to see how this was covered.
Sure enough, there was a world of difference.
Both papers ran the story, an embarrassment to gun toters for sure, on the front page, but guess what?
The Union Leader ran it as a one column story, headlined "1 arrested as rally gets rowdy", and with only a few inches on the front page before the story was jumped to page A8. Tim Buckland was the reporter. The story's subhead was "Gun rights: Feelings ran high at 'No More Names' event outside State House."
The Monitor devoted more than a third of its front page to the story including a three column extra bold headline "Mayhem at gun rally" and not one but two color pictures including one of tasee Daniel Musso, 52, of Brentwood. Jeremy Blackman was the reporter.
The Monitor also went with a second story, also on page one, headlined "Witnesses say police Tasered arrested activist".
Let me know if you've seen how the Nashua Telegraph or any other paper covered this story.
How would I have covered it, you might ask (my first career was in the newspaper business, and I made such decisions on a weekly basis for eight years or so albeit admittedly the decision at times was whether to highlight Santa’s Village or Six Gun City on page one…a bit of self deprecating humor never hurts).
Keep in mind that yesteday was a fairly big news day with numerous committees of conference meeting on everything from the capital budget to the regular budget with the contentious Medicaid posturing by House and Senate conferees.
Even with all the other big stories, I would have opted for a Monitor-type big bold headline although the one good picture of the tasing would probably have sufficed.
Only a cynic would think that the Union Leader downplayed this story because it made pro gun people look bad and the Monitor played it up big for the very same reason.
Lest you think that the gun person didn't look all that bad, consider that even Jack Kimball, former GOP Chair and the biggest of all big gun people, could not defend Musso's antics on Channel 9.
Also, I happened to catch Bulldog (107.9 FM), another big gun supporter, on the radio this morning (10 am-ish) and while he had good things to say about those protesting their second amendment rights, he was quick to add (and he was on the scene personally) that Musso deserved the tasing, that he in fact put not one but both hands on a policeman, never a smart thing to do.
I support both your right to carry a gun and your right to free speech...although it certainly gives one pause to think that someone as reckless as Mssr. Musso might have been packing heat. Talk about a black eye for gun rights proponents. That eye now has a name, and it's Musso.
Also while I support free speech, Musso proved especially boorish in moving right up to one of the anti gun speakers and attempting to shout him down during the rally. This isn't free speech but rather something we would have seen on the streets of Wedding, a district of Berlin, Germany where reds and brown shirts faced off on a regular basis in the late 20s and early 30s.
Civilized people don't act as Mssr. Musso did.
Game, set, and match.
On this battle of the papers, score one for the Monitor...in my humble opinion.
Here's the photo from the Monitor web site (concordmonitor.com).
The man arrested at yesterday’s gun control rally outside the State House was hit with a Taser, the Concord police confirmed this morning. Daniel Musso, 52, a gun-rights advocate who …