Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed News is demanding something so illiberal that it’s something of a shock even from a nominally liberal outlet. It is demanding in a new piece that the payments system stop handling legal transactions.

The article is quite clear about it, too – it says that some places are making these undesired transactions illegal, but still they demand that before that happens they should be made impossible. What makes this so dangerous is that we can find at least some people who are against absolutely anything. Demanding that the payment infrastructure not handle this one legal thing opens it up to that same pressure from every kook with a complaint.

BuzzFeed News will insist that it is on the side of the angels here. They’re against MasterCard and Visa handling transactions for “ghost guns.” A ghost gun, which is assembled from parts by the end consumer, and accordingly, is not traceable, is a legal purchase that some people think shouldn’t be legal. But here is the demand – the credit card companies should not handle payments for such entirely, wholly, legal transactions.

“MasterCard And Visa Say It’s Totally Fine To Let People Buy Ghost Guns With Their Credit Cards,” according to the headline.

“The credit card giants say they are following the law and don’t have a responsibility to act despite pleas from lawmakers and gun safety advocates,” BuzzFeed reports.

They’re legal transactions, so why shouldn’t the credit card companies handle payments?

We can find groups within America who think that paying for abortion pills should not be allowed. Or pornography. There have been court arguments about whether gay wedding cakes are to be mandatory or refusable. There have certainly been attempted boycotts of Chick-Fil-A, and we can imagine folks arguing that the card system shouldn’t handle payments there. This is why we have rules about such things:

“But 11 states as well as Washington, D.C., have already passed legislation restricting the sale of ghost guns,” the piece continues.

But that isn’t how it works. Gather enough democratic support to make something illegal and it becomes illegal. Do note that we’re not proposing a or our view on ghost guns themselves – just that folk should be allowed to get on with what’s legal until democracy decides that it is no longer legal.

“A chorus of prosecutors, gun legislation advocates, law enforcement officials, and corporate shareholders are calling on global credit card giants Visa and MasterCard to stop facilitating payments for ‘ghost guns,’ or untraceable, easy-to-assemble firearm kits that are often sold over the internet,” according to the piece.

No. If there’s sufficient support then the transactions will become illegal. If there isn’t then they’re legal. And that’s it. That’s actually what the liberal settlement and ideal is.

BuzzFeed News is somewhat less influential than it used to be but still gains some 16 million visits a month. It’s supposedly the serious and adult side of BuzzFeed itself – the part that offsets the listicles by talking real news.

One of the things that continually shocks us is how actually illiberal the supposed liberals themselves are. Trying to ban being able to pay for a legal transaction is such a can of worms we’re astonished that anyone tries to open it. But, well, here we are…..




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