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Gun Laws in Florida

by on February 27, 2013

An article featured on the CBS website talked about how the “Stand your Ground” law may have been the reason for a teen’s death in Florida. The article began with an emotional quote from the teen’s father. The other quotes were from the Florida state representative, Dennis Baxley,  who approves of the Stand you Ground law, and helped to create the law in the first place. I think this article portrays a false balance. It got the two opposite sides of the argument, much like our in-class example of an NRA president, and a woman whose son got shot.

The article stated that Florida, along with four other States, are looking to change the Stand your Ground law, but the article does not go into much detail regarding that topic. The article also does not get quotes from officials, or citizens who are against that law (or who else is for the law).

Is this a fair article at all since it only addresses those two viewpoints? Who else should have been interviewed to make this article more balanced?

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3 Comments
  1. Kristina Kulyabina permalink

    It is important to take into consideration that this is a T.V. version article, making it relatively short in length and therefore leaving out vital in-depth details. The article fails to state what exactly the Stand your Ground law entails – I should not have to google what it is. I agree that this piece could have used perhaps one more voice who opposes the law. If the article was solely focusing on the case of the Florida teen’s death and not on the law, then it would be fine to keep the article the way it currently reads. It seems like it is almost justifying why Dunn shot the teen and making it seem okay just because of this law. But what do other people think? This article in fact does not convey a fair balance because it fails to include a fair distribution of viewpoints pertaining to the topic of gun laws. What does the father think about the law?

  2. I agree that this article seems to have a false balance, especially when talking to the official who helped write the bill. His quote says the law is helping to stop a violent act, when it seemed to have done just the opposite. I think the journalist could have used a different quote here and is trying to create some sort of balance when it is obvious the outcome of the situation and the law did just the opposite of what Baxley is saying. This may be an attempt to seem objective and have “a view from nowhere”, but I think the person who wrote the story is just giving the representative an easy out.

  3. This is a T.V version article, like Kristina said, but still, even if the video is of short length, journalists need to be able to create balanced stories. A balanced story doesn’t mean having opposite sides of an argument as sources, it means covering all sides of a story. I think the story would have been much more affective if it explained what it was talking about (the Stand Your Ground Law), then identified the sources as having opposing views, then telling all the views in the middle. If anything, the article seems to be favoring gun control as it explains why Dunn shot the Florida teen, and that the law justifies this. Do you guys think that the story is trying to sway the opinions on gun control, or is it just the presentation of the article that makes it seem like this? If so, do you think journalists need to be aware of the presentation of their writing to avoid cases like this?

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