NBC Frames Doctor's Call to End Violence as Plea for Gun Control

In an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer for Medstar Washington Hospital Center, co-host Matt Lauer seized on her call for an end to gun violence following Monday's Navy Yard shooting as a demand for gun restrictions: "You say you didn't want to wade into the issue of gun control and yet your comments are resonating with people..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Though Orlowski never specifically mentioned gun control, Lauer fretted: "...but we also heard emotional comments after Newtown and Aurora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Are you worried that your comments will be soon forgotten, as it seems some of those other comments have been forgotten?"

Orlowski replied: "Am I worried? Absolutely. What are we gonna do as an American people to take care of this? Let's stop this now."


Here is a transcript of the September 17 exchange:

(...)

7:35AM ET

LAUER: I want to now ask you, Doctor, about some comments you made during that press conference. You're getting a lot of attention for this. You said something's wrong in this country. "There's something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate." You went on and you said, "We have to work together to get rid of it. I'd like you to put my trauma center out of business. I would like not to be an expert on gunshots." Did you step in front of the cameras planning to say that or was it spontaneous?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Navy Yard Shooting Spree; Victim's Doctor Speaks Out]

JANIS ORLOWSKI: It was completely a spontaneous comment. One of the reporters asked me, she said, "I know, Dr. Orlowski, that Medstar deals with a lot of gunshot victims." She said, "is there something different about this?" And I have to say, my first thought was no, there's nothing different. It's terrible, it's horrific. It's a senseless injury that we deal with. And as I spoke to the camera, I have to say, it was direct from my heart and I mean every word of it and I must have poked the underbelly because I've gotten quite a few comments and phone calls and e-mails and tweets about it and I – it wasn't planned. It wasn't something that I had intended to say. But I'll tell you, I meant it, Matt.

LAUER: And you say you didn't want to wade into the issue of gun control and yet your comments are resonating with people, but we also heard emotional comments after Newtown and Aurora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Are you worried that your comments will be soon forgotten, as it seems some of those other comments have been forgotten?

ORLOWSKI: Am I worried? Absolutely. What are we gonna do as an American people to take care of this? Let's stop this now.

LAUER: Well, again, your comments getting an awful lot of attention.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC