If we're going to have our tax dollars spent on NPR covering political news, can't we at least insist that they report the news accurately?
On Friday's All Things Considered, co-Host Audie Cornish opened an eight-minute segment by saying, “the gay marriage debate arrived at the Supreme Court, and White House efforts to tighten the nation's gun laws ran into serious Republican opposition.” Granted, the Tea Party caucus in the Senate is planning on a filibuster of the anti-gun bill that’s making its way to the floor, but the “serious” opposition comes from within the Democratic Party, as no less a partisan Democrat than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid noted a few weeks ago.
On March 19, Ed O’Keefe and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post reported that Sen. Feinstein’s assault weapons ban amendment to the gun control bill had, in the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes.”
That means at least sixteen Democratic senators weren’t on board. That’s serious opposition. Jennifer Rubin, also of the Post, blogged last week:
The actual problem for the president is the Democrats in the Senate who want no part of his most extreme measures. The worst kept secret in D.C. is that Republicans would love to see votes on all these items and watch Democrats squirm. It is Reid who is trying his best to shield his members from hard votes and/or prevent a humiliating loss for the gun-control crowd.
So, given the Democrats’’ complicity in sabotaging their own agenda, you would think that would be mentioned during this interview. That wasn’t the case.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Less than 100 days ago that happened, and the entire country was shocked, and the entire country pledged we would do something about it, and this time would be different. Shame on us if we've forgotten.
AUDIE CORNISH: Now this week, this is part of a big push by the White House to make this feel like a front-burner issue. But just the fact that they had to do it, that it's not necessarily front-burner. I mean, what does it say about the momentum on this issue?
CYNTHIA TUCKER, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Well, I think the momentum is lost. You know, I am sorry, I am just deeply disappointed that it looks like there will be no substantial gun control legislation out of Newtown. As recently as February, when the debate began in earnest, it looked as though some Republicans might at least sign onto a ban on high-capacity magazines. That has been tossed by the wayside. Even Harry Reid said he's not going to bring up a vote on that. And Republicans seem prepared to filibuster any new law. And I am just deeply, deeply disappointed in that.
Harry’s blame goes deeper than magazine limitations, Ms. Tucker. In fact, the inaction – and constant political shielding by Reid – have allowed the facts to seep through what Rubin aptly called the “histrionics” of the debate, which was encapsulated by the president’s news conference last Thursday. It’s true that the first assault weapons ban in 1994 was dubious in reducing crime, and did little to impact gun violence.
Republicans didn’t do much, in terms of Senate tactics and strategy, to botch this bill. It’s all on Harry Reid, and the Democratic Party. It should also be noted that Reid’s hesitancy isn’t shocking. In fact, in 2004, when the ban was set to expire, Reid voted against renewing the ‘94 assault weapons ban, but since he's a Democrat, he's given political cover by the news media.