DELIVER A MESSAGE TO WRAL-TV
On Thursday, WRAL-TV published an article on its site entitled “Rural areas lead in concealed weapons permit rates.” Unfortunately, within the article a section entitled “Find concealed carry permit-holders in your area” contained a database of permit-holders searchable by address, potentially revealing to criminals the homes from which firearms may be stolen.
WRAL web editor Kelly Hinchcliffe responded to complaints by insisting that permit information is public record, ignoring the fact that obtaining it requires a written request to the State Bureau of Investigation. Moreover, although the names of permit-holders were not disclosed, the partial address information (including apartment numbers), particularly on small streets, makes it possible for criminals to target specific homes for theft.
A lengthy conversation with WRAL General Manager Steve Hammel, while pleasant, produced no significant movement on the part of the station. Their position is that they have sufficiently de-identified the address information. When it was noted that street numbers had appeared initially for some records, he noted that it had been corrected by Friday. He also said they would “look at” trailing apartment numbers which are still part of the addresses. But the bottom line is that the station refuses to pull the link.
TIME FOR ACTION
It has been longstanding policy at GRNC that any media attempt to invade the privacy of either handgun purchase permit-holders or concealed handgun permit-holders would be met with economic action against the media outlet and its advertisers. It is now time for you to act: Help GRNC make an example that will leave an impression on media outlets to discourage them from further acts of journalistic irresponsibility!
In an apparent attempt to shame gun owners, some media outlets have a history of publishing the names of gun purchasers. But that was many years ago, before the advent of the Internet. Things are now far more reciprocal. So let’s talk a bit about reporter Mark Binker, the apparent engineer of the piece to reveal concealed handgun permit-holders.
But first, an admonition: DO NOT THREATEN OR HARASS MARK BINKER.
If you contact him to express your disappointment with the article …
BE POLITE, DO NOT THREATEN, and CALL OR EMAIL ONLY ONCE!
MEET MARK BINKER
Mark Gerald Binker is an up-and-coming reporter. After making an excellent career move in leaving the Greensboro News & Record just three months ago, he landed a job with WRAL-TV. Mark and his lovely wife, Marla J. Binker, reside at 17XX Chadstone Ct., Raleigh, NC 27615-7403. His cell number is 919-621-0970 and his work email is email@example.com.
Mark has exceptional media experience, including:
1987-1991, 1997: Interim Reporter, Capital News Service, College Park, MD.
1996-1997: Associate Editor, CD Publications, Silver Springs, MD.
1998-2000: Suburban Staff Writer, Philadelphia Enquirer, Philadelphia, PA
2000-2005: Business/ local/ government Reporter, News & Record, Greensboro, NC
2005-March 2012: State Government & Politics Reporter, News & Record, Greensboro, NC
March 2012- Present: Multimedia Investigative Reporter, WRAL TV, Raleigh, NC
Mr. Binker is also very well educated, having received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (1995) at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; and his Masters of Arts in Journalism (1997 University of Maryland, College Park, MD).
Happily, Mark is one of the few reporters who is not a registered Democrat. According to the State Board of Elections, he is registered as Unaffiliated, with a gender of male, a race of white, and an ethnicity of “undesignated.” His voter registration number is 000099949361, his registration date is 08/29/2005, and his precinct is 01-42. For better or worse, he is, in fact, eligible to vote.
But it is Mark’s family for which he truly deserves commendation. In addition to his lovely wife Marla, whom he married slightly less than twelve years ago, Mark enjoys two fine sons, Mason and Max. (Mark, Marla, Mason and Max. Cute, no?)
Marla herself seems quite talented, with photo credits to her name, plus what appears to be a fascinating history of her family, from which it appears her maiden name was Smith and her family, perhaps, originally Jewish Russian. She keeps extensive photo albums of the family’s activities, including a Portland vacation, Christmases, birthday parties, pony rides and sailing expeditions in Washington state’s Gig Harbor.
In deference to the fact that Mark’s article didn’t QUITE reveal the most personal information of concealed handgun permit-holders, we have withheld Mark’s exact address and additional information about his family even though they are available on the Internet as what WRAL apologist Kelly Hinchcliffe calls “public information.”
Immediate Action Required
We need you to do three things:
1. CONTACT WRAL GENERAL MANAGER STEVE HAMMEL and let him know that you will shun both the station and its advertisers until such time that the concealed handgun permit-holder search engine is removed and an apology is made to NC permit-holders;
2. CONTACT WRAL ADVERTISER CHRIS LEITH DODGE and let them know they are advertising with a media outlet bent on attacking gun rights, and that they should withdraw their advertising immediately.
3. CONTACT WRAL REPORTER MARK BINKER and politely let him know you don’t appreciate the invasion of the privacy of concealed handgun permit-holders.
WRAL-TV General Manager STEVE HAMMEL: Email firstname.lastname@example.org AND call him personally in his office at: 919-821-8520
Contact WRAL reporter MARK BINKER at: Aw, heck, you probably saw that in the article above.
Again: DO NOT BE RUDE OR THREATENING
To Chris Leith Dodge:
Dear Mr. Leith:
Unfortunately, your advertising dollars are being used to attack my rights. I’m sorry you have been caught up in this, but one of your major advertising venues, WRAL-TV, has attacked the rights of lawful North Carolina gun owners, subjecting them to criminal predation by releasing nearly complete addresses of concealed handgun permit-holders.
As you are probably aware, NC concealed handgun permit-holders are overwhelmingly law-abiding, politically conservative and fiscally responsible, making us your best customers.
Although I’m sure you have no intent to attack the right to keep and bear arms, your advertising dollars are being used to do precisely that. As such, I am asking you to contact WRAL and tell them to stop attacking law-abiding citizens and apologize for the attacks they have so far made.
If they fail to respond to your entreaties, I further ask that you withdraw all advertising expenditures from the station and let me know so that I can tout your Dodge truck dealership to lawful gun owners statewide as one who supports the rights of lawful Americans.
I look forward to patronizing your dealerships as supporters of the United States Constitution.
To WRAL & Mark Binker:
I find it difficult to fathom that you would be so journalistically irresponsible as to publish even partial addresses of concealed handgun permit-holders. Ignoring the fact that this group is overwhelmingly responsible, with a rate of criminal prosecutions just a fraction of the general population; ignoring the fact that permit-holders are threats to no one, making their location irrelevant to your readership, it amazes me that your legal department would allow you to print what may be tantamount to an invitation to burglarize unoccupied homes.
Your claims that the information is already public ring hollow: In truth, getting it requires a written inquiry from the State Bureau of Investigation. In truth, you are compromising the personal information of law-abiding North Carolinians not for public benefit, but instead as part of your effort to undermine the right to keep and bear arms.
Remove the information from your site immediately and make apologies to the concealed handgun permit-holders you have threatened. If you fail to do so, I will not only stop patronizing your station and website, I will actively work to deny you advertising revenue.
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