While introducing the lead story on Thursday’s Nightline, Ted Koppel confessed near confusion as to how the media missed attacking the NRA in July, when the Senate passed the latest gun bill. He described the media as "clearly on the side of stricter gun laws," then complained that the "press even missed it or overlooked" the bill which he described as "Christmas in July" for the NRA. To justify coming to the story late, Koppel concluded, "And while we are late in reporting it, this, we felt, is truly a case of better late than never." (read the full transcript...)
Ted Koppel: "Tonight, Outgunned. How the National Rifle Association got everything it wanted and then some, while no one was looking. There is, on the one hand, public opinion. We all know how devoted politicians are to polling, how they can calibrate their own position on controversial issues to resonate with public opinion.
"Well, the Gallup poll in January asked whether Americans would like to see gun laws in this country made more strict, less strict or remain as they are. And these were the results: 52 percent said more strict, 35 percent said remain the same, and only 12 percent said less strict. One percent didn't know or wouldn't answer. Basically, that's 87 percent saying leave gun laws the way they are or make them even stricter.
"Then, of course, there's the ever-present, all-powerful mainstream media, made up, one would think, of nothing but gun control advocates. So, with public opinion and the mainstream media clearly on the side of stricter gun laws or, at least, leaving them as they are, you wouldn't think that the U.S. Senate would turn around and make our gun laws significantly less strict than they have been. But they would. And they did.
"They did it several weeks ago in the dog days of summer. And, apparently, the heat got to many of us, because for the most part, your ever-vigilant watchdogs in the press even missed it or overlooked it or underplayed it. But it's an enormously important piece of legislation. And for the National Rifle Association and its allies, it was Christmas in July. ABC News correspondent John Cochran recognized the importance of the legislation for what it is. And while we are late in reporting it, this, we felt, is truly a case of better late than never."