NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd feels that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut should give rise to a new “middle ground with the National Rifle Association,” meaning that more gun control is somehow in the middle.
Of course, this is nothing else but a rhetorical trick, as the basis of the phrase assumes that the NRA must come toward more gun control because that is what would make such a compromise “the middle ground.”
Todd did not note that the issue of firearms is a Constitutional question, focusing the debate as if gun control issues were merely a matter of legislation or regulations as opposed to a civil rights issue.
Another of Todd’s rhetorical tricks is to focus on “assault weapons” as the problem, but the truth is there is no such thing as an “assault weapon,” at least not legally. The term is overly general and does not define any particular weapon or type of weaponry. Using the phrase “assault weapon” does not inform the news consumer, as it is practically meaningless and is little but emotionally tinged rhetoric.
Todd employed these rhetorical tricks on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” during the December 17 broadcast.