Networks Promote President Obama Saying America ‘Should Be Ashamed’ Following School Shooting

On Tuesday morning a high school student in Oregon open fire in a high school killing another student before taking his own life. Following the tragedy, all three morning network news shows played up President Obama’s reaction and promoted his call for action. 

While ABC, CBS, and NBC all promoted Obama’s statement, NBC’s Today was the most enthusiastic with Savannah Guthrie noting the president “had some pretty strong words” and hyping “pretty extraordinary moment” following the shooting. [See video below.] 

After Guthrie cheered the “extraordinary moment” Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, followed a similar tone: “I thought he was very blunt. It was very cogent political analysis. But boy, Savannah, you and I covered this campaign together. You and I covered him in '08. That's not yes, we can, President Obama. It is suddenly yes, I tried and the guy who’s thrown up his hands.” 

Later on, Natalie Morales pushed how “President Obama lamented that unless there is a shift in public opinion on gun laws, not that much is going to change, as he said.” During the “Today’s Take” segment, the Obama promotion continued with Willie Geist playing up “The President of the United States had some very harsh words after this latest shooting.” NBC’s Tamron Hall, who also hosts NewsNation on MSNBC lamented that President Obama’s gun control agenda hadn’t passed through Congress:

The president makes a point about soul searching. As I’ve said, I'm from Texas. Red part of this country. And I heard a political analyst on Morning Joe say perhaps the people in the middle need to speak up more. We talk a lot about the extreme so-called right, the extreme so-called left. But when you look at polling, overwhelmingly, there is support for some kind of quote unquote common sense legislation. 

So we look at these extremes of our country right now and the divisiveness, but when you look at it by the numbers, there's support overwhelmingly from the middle, and so you have some out there who say it is time for those people to speak up more, and perhaps come up with a compromise. 

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Robin Roberts played up the “National crisis. Another school shooting” before noting “President Obama saying the country should be ashamed by the growing epidemic.” During the 8:00 a.m. hour, ABC’s Cecilia Vega once again hyped Obama’s comments: “An angry President Obama said the nation should be ashamed at the rise in school shootings. There have been 74 since the tragedy at Sandy Hook in Connecticut.  

On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell opened the show: “President Obama loses his patience after another deadly school shooting before Charlie Rose played up President Obama reacting to the shooting: There have been at least 74 school shootings in the United States since Newtown, Connecticut 18 months ago. One gun control group is keeping count. During an online chat, after the Oregon shooting President Obama said “we should be ashamed of that.”' 

See relevant transcripts below.


CBS

CBS This Morning

June 11, 2014

7:00 a.m. Eastern 

NORAH O’DONNELL: And President Obama loses his patience after another deadly school shooting. 

7:13 a.m. Eastern 

CHARLIE ROSE: There have been at least 74 school shootings in the United States since Newtown, Connecticut 18 months ago. One gun control group is keeping count. During an online chat, after the Oregon shooting President Obama said “we should be ashamed of that.” 

BARACK OBAMA: We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens, and it happens now once a week. The country has to do some soul-searching about this. This is becoming the norm and we take it for granted in ways that as a parent are terrifying to me. 

ROSE: The president also admitted his effort to pass stronger gun laws had failed. He said change will only be possible when the public demands it. 

 

NBC

Today 

June 11, 2014

7:09 a.m. Eastern 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Meantime, President Obama spoke out following that school shooting. This is the 74th school shooting since Sandy Hook. He had some pretty strong words. Take a look. 

BARACK OBAMA: We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this. The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. 

GUTHRIE: Chuck, pretty extraordinary moment. What's your take on it? 

CHUCK TODD: It was. And he talked about the limits of what he could get done. You know he’s saying we he tried but this is really about Congress. And what was amazing is I thought he was very blunt. It was very cogent political analysis. But boy, Savannah, you and I covered this campaign together. You and I covered him in '08. That's not yes, we can, President Obama. It is suddenly yes, I tried and the guy who’s thrown up his hands. He is a guy that I’ve noticed, has been noticing the limits of his power lately, rather than having the audacity or the ambition to just try even when it's hard.

8:03 a.m. Eastern 

NATALIE MORALES: Vigils were held Tuesday night for an Oregon teen killed in the nation's latest school shooting. Police say a fellow student with a rifle shot 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman and injured a phys-ed teacher at Reynolds High School near Portland. The shooter was later found dead. During the evacuation, officers discovered that yet another student not connected to the shooting was armed with a handgun. President Obama lamented that unless there is a shift in public opinion on gun laws, not that much is going to change, as he said. 

Today’s Take 

9:00 a.m. Eastern 

WILLIE GEIST: Let's talk about, my gosh, another day, another school shooting. This time it's Reynolds High School outside Portland, Oregon. Troutdale, Oregon, to be specific. A law enforcement source says the shooter was believed to be a student armed with a high-powered rifle. There's no known motive at this time. One other student was killed, 14-year-old freshman Emilio Hoffman, described as a very popular young man. Physical education teacher Todd Rispler was wounded. We're told he will recover. There were vigils with students shouting "We love you, Emilio." 

AL ROKER: This next statistic is mind boggling. 

GEIST: 74 school shootings now since Newtown, that's December of 2012. 74. That's just more than one a week on average. The President of the United States had some very harsh words after this latest shooting.

BARACK OBAMA: A lot of people will say, well, it's a mental health problem. It's not a gun problem. The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. The country has to do some soul searching about this. This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted. In ways that as a parent are terrifying to me. 

GEIST: And that's the scary part right there. This becomes commonplace. 

ROKER: Now when I go into a mall, I'm looking at how am I getting out. I really do think about that. When you get into a movie theater, I do now look, where are the exits. And I don't think it's paranoia. I really don't. 

TAMRON HALL: The president makes a point about soul searching. As I’ve said, I'm from Texas. Red part of this country. And I heard a political analyst on "Morning Joe" say perhaps the people in the middle need to speak up more. We talk a lot about the extreme so-called right, the extreme so-called left. But when you look at polling, overwhelmingly, there is support for some kind of quote unquote common sense legislation. So we look at these extremes of our country right now and the divisiveness, but when you look at it by the numbers, there's support overwhelmingly from the middle, and so you have some out there who say it is time for those people to speak up more, and perhaps come up with a compromise. So we're not doing the story 74 times in a year since Newtown. 

ROKER: Which then leads to something like this, this bodyguard blanket. The idea that -- to help protect school kids. 

HALL: What is it? Explain it. 

ROKER: It's a bullet resistant pad that's designed for kids and teachers in the event of school protection. The company that makes all also says you use it for tornado protection. It's been on sale for 11 days. It's about a thousand bucks from this company called Protect. They have not sold any yet. They claim it passes the National Institute of Justice level three classification for body armor. 

HALL: Your sides are exposed. And the fear factor of running. They market it as something to protect your 5-year-old or middle schooler or high school kid. Someone starts shooting, you're not going to go in the corner and put this over. You're going to likely run, which is what I would want my child to do, or any child, or whatever the teacher has told them that we've seen in other tragedies like Newtown where the teachers were composed enough to save lives. But that’s a strange thing.  

GEIST: The company does go out of its way to point out this is not a solution. This is not the 100% perfect way to treat this. 

ROKER: It's just another layer to try to help in the worst case scenario. 

HALL: It speaks to the desperation that people, but the larger conversation is not a blanket. It's what we're going to do to save our kids. 

 

ABC

Good Morning America

June 11, 2014

ROBIN ROBERTS: National crisis. Another school shooting. This time, a 14-year-old freshman dead in a high school locker room. A teacher injured by a teen gunman with a rifle and body armor. President Obama saying the country should be ashamed by the growing epidemic. 

7:05 a.m. Eastern 

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to the latest fatal school shooting, leaving one student dead and a teacher injured. This is the 74th school shooting since the tragedy at Sandy Hook. You see the map there, showing the locations of each incident. An unthinkable nationwide epidemic. President Obama, visibly angry, calling for national soul-searching about gun violence. ABC's David Wright is in Troutdale, outside of Portland, Oregon, for us, this morning. Good morning, David. 

DAVID WRIGHT: Good morning, Robin. This was supposed to have been the last day of classes today before summer vacation. But now, instead of celebrating the start of summer, this community finds itself in the midst of a much more tragic American tradition, grief. And yet one more fatal campus shooting. 8:05. A high school's urgent call for help. 

UNKNOWN PERSON: Got a report of shots fired in the locker room. 

WRIGHT: Within two minutes, police arrive on campus. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 2: I was really scared. I was like -- this is happening, like this is real. 

WRIGHT: Eyewitnesses say the gunman, armed with a rifle and body armor, walked into the locker room and took aim at a 14-year-old freshman on the soccer team. Emilio Hoffman, killed instantly. 

ANNIE LUNA: He was such a sweet and genuine, and caring guy. 

WRIGHT: Inside those locked rooms, they heard it unfold. In horror. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 3: Our friend, Tate, was banging on the door, saying, there’s a guy with a gun, there's a guy with a gun. Let us in so we let him in. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 4: I'm just in shock. 

WRIGHT: Witnesses say the gunman also shot football coach Todd Ripsler. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 5: He was carring a gun running after one of our teachers, our P.E. teacher Mr. Ripsler. 

WRIGHT: Who, despite a bullet wound, stil managed to run to the office and initiate the lockdown. You can see his shirt is ripped from one of the bullets. Meanwhile parents gathering by the hundreds at a nearby parking lot, anxiously waited for news. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 6: It scared me to death. I wanted to get here as fast as I could. 

WRIGHT: 9:15, the coast finally cleared, police lead students to safety, hands up. This mountain of backpacks left behind. Then, tearful reunions. Except for one family, whose son won't be coming home. Emilio's family, surrounded by students at a vigil overnight. President Obama shared the community's grief and outrage. 

BARACK OBAMA: We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. We should be ashamed of that. 

WRIGHT: Police at this point not identifying the shooter who was also killed. Authorities found him slumped in a bathroom stall in the locker room. His wounds, apparently self-inflicted. George? 

 

8:02 a.m. Eastern 

CECILIA VEGA: And no word on a motive in Tuesday's high school shooting in Oregon. A 14-year-old freshman was killed. And a teacher was grazed by a bullet, before the shooter was found dead. An angry President Obama said the nation should be ashamed at the rise in school shootings. There have been 74 since the tragedy at Sandy Hook in Connecticut. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.