It was the shot seen ’round the world, but not everyone saw it quite the same way. The most transparent administration ever today released a photo of President Obama skeet shooting in a blatantly transparent attempt to tamp down ridicule over his claim that he shoots skeet “all the time” at Camp David. Is that important? Media outlets around the world picked up on the story, but the gun-shy fact-checkers at work in the world’s newsrooms couldn’t quite decide what to call that boomstick in the president’s hands. It’s certainly not an assault rifle; those are what bad people use. So what is it?
The Washington Times’ Emily Miller confirmed with the CEO of Browning that the shotgun the president is firing is almost certainly a Browning Citori (and a fancy-schmancy one too, that retails for $4,800). Hey, even Vice President Joe Biden knows a shotgun is what you want if your aim isn’t so great and mobs of earthquake survivors and/or clay pigeons are closing in fast.
— Bill Derrick (@wmderrick) February 2, 2013
White House releases photo of Obama shooting rifle to silence skeet truthers gaw.kr/qKGJKRX
— Gawker (@Gawker) February 2, 2013
— Leslie Salls (@lesliesalls) February 2, 2013
BBC reports Obama was skeet shooting with a rifle. bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-…
— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 2, 2013
The BCC: “Mr Obama standing in jeans, polo shirt, sunglasses and earphones, aiming a rifle …” Uh, it’s a shotgun. bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-…
— David Putney (@putneydm) February 2, 2013
Not to be outdone by the BBC, the Daily Mail decided to call the firearm in the — gasp — “shocking image” both a rifle and a shotgun.
Daily Mail is particularly crap, referring to Obama’s skeet gun as a rifle *and* a shotgun in consecutive paragraphs.
— Angry Exile (@AngryExile) February 2, 2013
As Piers Morgan reminds us nightly, there are no guns in the United Kingdom, so we can’t blame them for not recognizing them. But New Yorkers know their guns, right?
White House releases photo of Obama shooting rifle amid gun-control push nyp.st/Y11C8H
— New York Post (@nypost) February 2, 2013
— Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) February 2, 2013
Direction of smoke from rifle in Obama skeet photo could not blow that way in August given well known trade wind tables. #faked
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) February 2, 2013
@borowitzreport Hey Andy, Obama is firing an over-and-under shotgun in that pic. Not a rifle.
— Robert Longley (@govinfo) February 2, 2013
— Lori Johnson (@radiantbylori) February 2, 2013
#fox news. good corrected the article. Yes a shotgun Obama is shooting not a rifle. Something I would expect from msnbc not fox.
— larry e temple (@larryetemple) February 2, 2013
At least those right-wing nutjobs at Fox corrected their story. But at this point, what difference does it make? Well, as many Second Amendment supporters have pointed out, it makes a lot of difference when legislators and their partners in the press are left to decide which guns will be legal and which won’t, and which are “assault” or “military style” weapons. They say they want a conversation on guns, but can we at least get the basic facts right first?