CNN's Costello Bemoans 'Bizarre' Focus on 'Text Rage' Instead of Concealed Carry in Florida Shooting Aftermath

Carol Costello hinted at her liberal slant on the gun issue on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom as she discussed the recent movie theater shooting in Florida. Costello lamented the "bizarre conversation now taking place in America: instead of talking about whether loaded guns ought to be allowed in movie theaters, many people are talking about 'text rage.'"

An on-screen graphic during the segment also suggested that a lack of strict gun control was partially to blame for the incident: "Which Is To Blame: Gun Laws Or 'Text Rage'?" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

The anchor brought on psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere and CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara to discuss the case. Costello repeated her "bizarre" labeling in her first question to Dr. Gardere: "First off, I'm not blaming the victim. It is not his fault. I just find it bizarre that someone can become so enraged over texting. Dr. Jeff, some psychologists have suggested that being trapped in a movie theater with a texting person is a volatile mix. I mean, seriously?"

Moments later, the CNN on-air personality further hinted at her leaning on the issue in a question to O'Mara: "Let me ask you this question: like, this guy becomes enraged over texting, and according to prosecutors, he's done this before. Yet, he chooses to bring his loaded gun into a movie theater. Is that really responsible?"

The analyst answered, in part, by underlining the controversy over concealed carry:

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think what happens is most people have concealed permits – and I'm sure he did – carry a gun as a matter of course, so they carry it everywhere except for those places that are forbidden by law. Should most guns be left at home? A lot of people would say yes.

I'm sure – particularly as a police officer – he was used to carrying it with him. But in the same sense, if you're going to carry a gun, you have a heightened level of responsibility of how to use it – and, most importantly, how to not use it, unless the ultimate faces you – which is your own life or someone else's life in immediate peril. And he overreacted to virtually nothing of an attack – if it was like popcorn or some other event. It was just an overreaction.

Near the end of the segment, Costello noted that "the sheriff investigating this case says it's not about the gun, but the guy who pulled the trigger." She then asked Dr. Jeff Gardere, "In your opinion, is it about the gun, or the man who pulled the trigger, or what is it?" The psychologist replied, "Well, I think it's a combination of both. Certainly, if you have someone who is an unstable personality, as I believe this individual is, a gun simply enables the person to do something much worse. If he didn't have the gun, then it might have stopped at a verbal argument...but certainly, not pulling out a gun and shooting someone."


Back in April 2013, the CNN anchor bewailed Senate Republicans' threat to filibuster a gun control bill: "Republicans, including [Rand] Paul, have vowed to filibuster away any debate on guns, as in we don't want to talk about guns, period.... let's say a mother who lost her child, knocks on Rand Paul's door and says please don't do this, what will Rand Paul say? Will he even meet with her and answer the door?"

[Update: the transcript of the relevant portions of the segment from Wednesday's CNN Newsroom can be read on MRC.org.]

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