With American confidence in mainstream media at an all-time low, it would be difficult to find anything that could further damage the already crumbling credibility of so-called mainstream  journalists.  And yet, Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman has crossed that line. Recently he misleadingly quoted GRNC President and 2nd Amendment activist Paul Valone in an act so beyond the pale that we cannot just stay silent.

Compare the following two quotes:
In the October 5th piece entitled "NRA bans bump stocks at its own firing range," Politico achieves a reasonable approximation of the meaning of Paul Valone’s words based on a direct interview.  Here's the quote in its entirety:

“Firing ranges typically limit the rate at which guns are fired for safety reasons,” said Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun rights organization.

“If someone is not trained to fire rapidly they may miss, frankly, and hit things like the ceiling of the range and other areas which could cause damage and safety issues,” Valone said. Automatic weapons also typically are banned at ranges. The bump-stock system is useless for target practice and not widely used by gun enthusiasts,” he said.

“Because it’s notoriously inaccurate, it’s really not a threat to anybody except in one, and only one, circumstance, and that’s when you’re on the 32nd floor of a building shooting into a mass of people,” Valone said.

However Steve Chapman decided a little word doctoring was necessary.  Here's his take in his October 19th piece on (also picked up by the Akron Beacon Journal) entitled "Another Way to Banish the Bump Stock": 


  The device makes the weapon harder to control, which is why most gun ranges don't allow it. It's useful “in one, and only one, circumstance, and that's when you're on the 32nd floor of a building shooting into a mass of people,” Paul Valone of the gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina told Politico.  

In this carefully concocted quotation, notice that Chapman conjoins the concept of usefulness with the rest of Valone’s quote to imply that GRNC supports a bump stock ban. Paul never used the word useful in this context, and its use in Chapman’s piece, properly but artfully placed outside of the quotation marks, changes the perception of the speaker’s intent.  What’s worse is that the first sentence in the paragraph, “The device makes the weapon harder to control, which is why most gun ranges don't allow it,” would suggest that Valone had also said that, which he certainly did not.

Consider that at no point did Chapman reach out to Paul to conduct his own interview.  Nor did he have the courtesy to ask Paul to review this clever twisting of the original quote. 

At the very least Chapman is practicing manipulative journalism with the purpose of making it sound like GRNC supports the same “solution” that Chapman seems to support: legislation and litigation that would put bump stock makers out of business. Also, Chapman is likely trying to leave ignorant readers with the false impression that all leaders in the 2nd Amendment activist movement support the campaign to strip us of our property rights.

Chapman has ignored all requests to come clean.  When David Vann of challenged him in an exchange on Facebook, Chapman doubled down insisting "There is nothing misleading about the way I quoted [Valone]."

Understand that Paul has been tireless in speaking out against a ban of bump stocks. He and GRNC have been leading the fight against any legislation that would overnight criminalize millions of law-abiding gun-owners for having "politically incorrect" gun accessories.

This is yellow journalism at its worst. The Chicago Tribune needs to fire Steve Chapman, but instead they have covered for him in correspondence with GRNC on this issue. Chapman must be held to account for such gross irresponsible misrepresentation. Below, see how you can easily contact the media corporations involved, and let them know what you think of fake quotes, and also insist that the Chicago Tribune fire Steve Chapman for this artful, but malicious twisting of words.





  • EMAIL THE EXECUTIVES AT THE OFFENDING MEDIA OUTLETS: Use the copy/paste contact information provided below to insist that Chapman be fired for his fallacious misrepresentation of Paul Valone’s words and of GRNC’s true position on gun rights. Use the copy/paste message provided under ‘Deliver This Message.’

  • COMMENT ON THE OFFENDING MEDIA ITEMS: Use the media links provided below to comment on the media items that misleadingly cite GRNC’s president. Be polite, but be firm—explain that the quote they have printed conveys nearly the opposite of the true meaning of GRNC’s position. This is damaging to the GRNC brand, and suggests that GRNC is not the most effective, no-compromise gun rights group in North Carolina (which it is).


Editors/Executives at the Chicago Tribune:
Mr. Bruce Dold and Mr. John McCormick;


Editor/Executive at
Mr. Jonathan Garthwaite;


Editors/Executives at the Akron Beacon Journal:
Mr. Bruce Winges and  Mr. Michael Douglas;




Suggested Subject: "Fire Steve Chapman"  


Dear [Exec/Editor Name(s)]:


I have learned that a recent article by Steve Chapman regarding bump stocks, which appeared in the Chicago Tribune, and the Akron Beacon Journal, contained a purposely misleading quote attributed to the President of Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC), Paul Valone. I am saddened to see the depths to which the media has sunk in this country, and it is yet another disappointment that the Chicago Tribune and others have sunk along with the rest.

In his commentary, Mr. Chapman twists a quote, which was lifted from a third party (Politico) in such a way as to make it seem that GRNC’s President is in agreement with Chapman’s proposed “solution” for the bump stock “problem.” Chapman seeks to legislate and litigate this item out of existence. Valone’s original quote, as published in Politico in no way called for a ban on bump stocks, and yet Chapman was able to conjoin specific words, not uttered by Valone, with portions of the original quote to twist it’s meaning. Notice below, Chapman’s artful use of the phrase that opens the paragraph that may appear to the casual reader to be part of Valone’s quote (it is not), and the insertion of Chapman’s own word, “useful,” conjoining it with the actual quote to make it sound as though GRNC would potentially support a bump stock ban.

The device makes the weapon harder to control, which is why most gun ranges don't allow it. It's useful “in one, and only one, circumstance, and that's when you're on the 32nd floor of a building shooting into a mass of people,” Paul Valone of the gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina told Politico.



In proper context, that is not what Valone said to Politico.

So far, in correspondence on the matter, the Chicago Tribune has done nothing but run cover for Chapman and his misleading quote, which is shameful. This is yellow journalism that media consumers should not have to contend with, and surely this doesn’t help those media outlets seeking to revive and/or maintain a positive reputation. Going forward, I would encourage media outlets in general to avoid publishing works by Chapman, as the accuracy of the information cannot be trusted. Furthermore, regardless of how the Chicago Tribune sees their role in this, I am insisting, for reasons of honesty and decency, that Chapman be fired.

I will continue to monitor the Chicago Tribune’s reaction to this call for Chapman’s firing through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina. I will also be avoiding media outlets that continue to publish Chapman’s unprofessional and untrustworthy work.




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