On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes falsely characterized the weapon used in the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Cordes noted that former astronaut Mark Kelly, "whose wife...Gabrielle Giffords was badly injured in the Tucson shooting," would call for a ban on "assault weapons like the one that was used to wound his wife and kill six others."
However, Jared Loughner, the perpetrator of the massacre, used a Glock 19 handgun with a 33-round magazine, not the military-style, semi-automatic rifles that are often labeled "assault weapons" by gun control supporters. The journalist even showed a photo of the firearm in question as she misrepresented its type. [audio available here; video below the jump]
During her report, Cordes zeroed-in on how both sides of the gun rights issue would "face off today...Some of the most prominent figures from both camps will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee – the first of a series of hearings being called for by Democrats who are eager to enact new gun control legislation."
It should be pointed out that in contrast to the "eager" term that she used to describe gun control supporters in Congress, the CBS correspondent outlined that "any move to restrict gun ownership will be met with fierce opposition from the right", and used a clip of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley as her example of a "fierce" gun rights supporter.
Cordes previously used similar slanted language about conservatives in a December 7, 2012 report about former Senator Jim DeMint's departure from Congress. She labeled DeMint "one of the most conservative members of the Senate", and added that the South Carolina Republican was a "Tea Party hero, who has raised more than $15 million...to help elect Tea Party senators...But he has also backed a series of losing far-right candidates."
Near the end of her report, the CBS journalist noted that "gun laws here in the District of Columbia are pretty strict, but a pair of Republican senators, who are on the committee, are pushing for the committee to work with law enforcement, so that at the next hearing, they can bring in some semi-automatic weapons." One might guess that is to avoid falling into the same quandary that caught NBC's David Gregory after he brought a high-capacity magazine that is illegal inside the District onto Meet the Press.
The full transcript of Nancy Cordes's report from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:
CHARLIE ROSE: The gun control debate comes to a head today on Capitol Hill. Two of the biggest names from opposing sides of the battle will testify.
Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill. Nancy, good morning.
[CBS News Graphic: "Sticking To Their Guns: NRA To Make Its Case On Capitol Hill"]
NANCY CORDES: Charlie, good morning to you, and Norah as well. Well, the two sides will face off today in this fierce debate. Some of the most prominent figures from both camps will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee – the first of a series of hearings being called for by Democrats who are eager to enact new gun control legislation.
CORDES (voice-over): Hoping to head off new restrictions on guns, the CEO of the National Rifle Association will testify before Congress today. Wayne LaPierre will argue, according to prepared statements, that the federal government should not 'dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families'. LaPierre made waves with a provocative speech after the Newtown massacre, arguing that the answer to gun violence is more guns, not fewer.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION CEO (from December 21, 2012 press conference): The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
CORDES: He'll also come out against beefing up background checks for gun buyers, an idea that's gaining bipartisan support. 'Let's be honest', says LaPierre, 'background checks will never be universal, because criminals will never submit to them'.
On the other side of the debate, astronaut Mark Kelly, whose wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was badly injured in the Tucson shooting in 2011. A gun owner himself, Kelly will argue today that assault weapons, like the one that was used to wound his wife and kill six others, don't belong on the streets.
The politics of gun safety are complicated on Capitol Hill. Even some of the most liberal senators are supporters of gun rights, including Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who will be chairing today's hearing. The Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, was noncommittal when asked what he thought of an assault weapons ban introduced by his colleague, Dianne Feinstein.
SEN. HARRY REID, (D), NEVADA (from press conference): She believes in it fervently, and I admire her for that. I'll take a look at that.
CORDES: And any move to restrict gun ownership will be met with fierce opposition from the right.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R), IOWA (from speech on Senate floor): Gun violence is not a disease. And lawful gun ownership is not a disease. It is a constitutionally-protected individual right.
CORDES (on-camera): Gun laws here in the District of Columbia are pretty strict, but a pair of Republican senators, who are on the committee, are pushing for the committee to work with law enforcement, so that at the next hearing, they can bring in some semi-automatic weapons. The point they want to make, they say, is that these weapons, in the hands of law-abiding citizens, are perfectly safe. Charlie and Norah?
ROSE: Nancy Cordes, thank you.