CBS Spotlights Recall of Pro-Gun Control Politicos in Colorado; NBC Yawns

Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show to devote a full report to Colorado voters recalling two pro-gun control state legislators. Barry Petersen highlighted how "those who oppose gun control have a lot to celebrate" with the recall, and how "those backing the two senators spent seven times more money – $3.2 million" than the gun rights supporters who spearheaded the campaign [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].

By contrast, NBC's Today on Wednesday didn't devote a second of air time to the Colorado recall election. Instead, they set aside 36 seconds of reporting to Hillary Clinton receiving the Liberty Medal. ABC's Good Morning America also minimized their coverage, as they merely broadcasted a 16-second news brief on the story.

Petersen led his report by outlining that "anti-gun control advocates were jubilant at their victory – the recall of two Democratic state senators. Their main target was John Morse, the president of the state senate." He continued by noting that "the NRA gave the largest amount to back the recall $360,000 – mostly for ads against Morse."

After playing a clip of the now former state senate president conceding that the National Rifle Association defeated him, the CBS correspondent pointed out the fact that the gun control supporters had "spent seven times more money – $3.2 million – including outside money, like the $350,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg." He then summarized what Colorado's latest gun measure did: "Both senators were targeted for supporting new Colorado gun control laws that limit magazine size to 15 rounds, and required background checks, even for private sales."

Later in the segment, Petersen played three more soundbites – one from a supporter of the recall effort and two more from Morse. He concluded his report by underlining that this election was unprecedented in Colorado history: "There has never been a recall of a Colorado legislator – so, in truth, no one's quite sure what comes next. In fact, the two senators who lost their seats don't even know how soon they have to go back to the capitol and clean out their desks."

The full transcript of Barry Petersen's report from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: A recall election in Colorado is sending a message in the national debate over gun control. Two state lawmakers, who supported tighter gun control laws, were voted out of office last night.

Barry Petersen is in Colorado Springs. Barry, good morning.

BARRY PETERSEN: Good morning, Charlie. Well, I think you're right. A lot of people across the country saw this as a, kind of, referendum on Colorado's tough new gun laws. If so, those who oppose gun control have a lot to celebrate.

[CBS News Graphic: "Recall Election: CO Voters Oust Gun Control Supporters"]

ANTHONY GARCIA, MORSE RECALL EFFORT ORGANIZER (from political rally): (audience cheers and applauds) Because of all of you, we won.

PETERSEN (voice-over): Anti-gun control advocates were jubilant at their victory – the recall of two Democratic state senators. Their main target was John Morse, the president of the state senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER 1 (from National Rifle Association ad): Paid for by the National Rifle Association Committee to Restore Coloradans' Rights.

PETERSEN: The NRA gave the largest amount to back the recall $360,000 – mostly for ads against Morse.

PETERSEN (off-camera): Did the NRA win?


JOHN MORSE, FMR. COLORADO STATE PRESIDENT: Yes – today.

PETERSEN: They knocked you out?

MORSE: Well, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER 2 (from pro-John Morse ad): John Morse, a police officer for 13 years.

PETERSEN (voice-over): But those backing the two senators spent seven times more money – $3.2 million – including outside money, like the $350,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Both senators were targeted for supporting new Colorado gun control laws that limit magazine size to 15 rounds, and required background checks, even for private sales.

GARCIA: This isn't the end of it. I've got tons of people saying, we want to keep going. And so do I.

PETERSEN (off-camera): What does this mean for gun control in Colorado?

MORSE: Nothing.

PETERSEN: Nothing?

MORSE: Right, because – you know, again, the bills that we passed – 80 percent of the folks think they're a good idea. They're not going to go away. I bet you they never go away.

PETERSEN (voice-over): As for politicians in other states, who might now be afraid to support gun control because they might face a recall, Morse had these words of advice.

MORSE: Stop me after I make Colorado safer from gun violence. Any other legislator in this state – in this country ought to be proud if they get taken out after making their state safer from gun violence.

PETERSEN (live): There has never been a recall of a Colorado legislator – so, in truth, no one's quite sure what comes next. In fact, the two senators who lost their seats don't even know how soon they have to go back to the capitol and clean out their desks. Charlie and Norah?

NORAH O'DONNELL: Barry Petersen, thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center