CNN continues to dig their own grave when it comes to credibility, this time making a news story out of a photo of a US Army general in Afghanistan wielding a so-called “assault weapon.”
The photo was considered newsworthy enough that it made its rounds on TV over the holiday weekend, showing Army General Scott Miller sporting dark sunglasses and an M4 Carbine as he walked among Afghan officials in the city of Ghazni.
The title card for the TV segment read “U.S. General Appears With Assault Weapon In Afghanistan,” and resulted in the CNN anchorwoman asking CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr why the four-star was armed with an M4.
“Keep that picture up and take a close look at General Scott Miller’s left hand,” Starr said. “He is holding an M4 Carbine assault rifle fully loaded.”
A rifle-like long arm with a barrel length under twenty inches is generally considered a carbine, not an “assault rifle,” with the later term applying to the weapon’s ability to fire in either “full auto” or “burst” modes.
For Starr, it was an unusual sight.
“[It’s] very unusual to see a four-star, the most senior commander in the US and NATO and Afghanistan feeling the need to carry an assault rifle,” she said.
Starr went on to explain that Miller was in the not-so-secure area of Ghazni, and was “sending a message” to those who wished to do him harm.
“He will go where he needs to go,” she said. “He will not be held back because of potential security issues.”
Miller’s so-called “need” to carry a standard-issue carbine after he was targeted by an enemy agent in Kandahar last month, which left several dead and multiple wounded. During the attack, Brigadier General Jeff Smiley was injured.
CNN’s referring to the rifle as an “assault weapon” drew criticism from the public, as the term itself is a purely political term, made up to encompass a wide variety of firearms. The term has even become unpopular with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, whose Associate Deputy Director released a paper last year dismissing the term altogether.
On Facebook, several military social groups, such as Infantry Follow Me, mocked a screenshot of the segment.
“The army needs to ban assault weapons now!” an admin posted sarcastically, mocking the media’s coverage of the growing gun control movement in the US, which has proven unpopular with active and former military.
“This is CNN trying to capitalize on the term “assault weapon” to feed BS to the American public that “assault weapons” are only for military,” Jay West Ham commented. “It works with the gullible.”
“Not gonna lie though,” Guillermo, Nunez Rubi replied, “He [General Miller] looks like an OG with his popped collar and everything.”
Despite the gaffe made by CNN, Starr seemingly praised Miller in a November 22 Twitter post.
“Why is General Miller carrying an M-4 carbine assault rifle walking in Ghazni?” she began. “Because as a leader he won’t ask his troops to do anything he is not willing to do AND he is sending a message he will protect the US AND Afghans with him. (as they say, THIS is how its done.)”
Barbara Starr’s defense reporting has been under scrutiny in the past, most notably when she exposed the locations of special operations troops overseas.
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