If budding journalists out there are looking for examples of honest reporting, don’t look to the Associated Press. The wire service ran a story yesterday in which the least its editors could be accused of is burying the lede.
Here’s the headline: “Ex-California state senator sentenced in racketeering case,” And here’s the opening paragraph:
A federal judge sentenced former California state senator Leland Yee on Wednesday to five years in prison after he acknowledged in a plea deal that he accepted thousands of dollars in bribes and discussed helping an undercover FBI agent buy automatic weapons from the Philippines.
But it’s not until you read the next paragraph that you learn the irony in the case:
Senior District Court Judge Charles Breyer called the weapons allegations against Yee — a gun control advocate—unfathomable and said it was frightening that Yee would be willing to go entirely against his public position on guns in exchange for money. [Emphasis added]
How dedicated an anti-gun advocate was Lee? According to the Huffington Post, in 2012 he authored Senate Bill 249, the purpose of which was to close a loophole that allowed gun sellers to sidestep an earlier law prohibiting the sale of detachable magazines.
In a press release at the time, Yee said:
While most gun owners are law-abiding, it is a fact that such weapons are more likely to be used to kill an innocent person than used in self-defense. One only needs to look at England, Japan, and other nations with strict gun access to see that these types of gun control laws are effective in preventing gun-related homicides.
Even more effective in preventing gun-related homicides is not abetting the illegal purchase of firearms from another country in exchange for cash.
Lee Yee was first arrested on charges of gun running in 2014, The Free Thought Project accused him of “large scale hypocrisy.” The AP in its reporting on this latest chapter of Lee’s Yee’s saga is pretty hypocritical itself.