ABC has aggressively pushed Barack Obama's gun control scheme in recent weeks. But on Sunday and Monday, the network resorted to playing clips of a rival channel's comedy show, Saturday Night Live. Sunday's World News and Monday's Good Morning America both touted Democratic talking points, lamenting how hard it is to get such legislation passed. On Monday morning, Jon Karl hyped, "Congress is just not eager to enact new gun laws. A fact lampooned on Saturday Night Live."
He then featured a clip of comedian Jay Pharoah impersonating Obama. Pharoah mocked, "This week, the Senate voted 68-31 to begin debating the idea of discussing gun control. Let me say that again. They have agreed to think about talking about gun control." On Sunday's World News, reporter Rena Ninan didn't even bother coming up with much of a justification. She simply introduced, "Saturday Night Live, overnight."
Ninan then proceeded to play two clips of SNL. The first was of Pharoah as Obama. The second featured a comic stand-in for Republican Senator Pat Toomey. He helplessly asserted, "No individual can purchase a handgun from private dealer without being asked, are you a good person? Seriously. Are you?"
NBC and MSNBC often push SNL's political humor, but this was ABC promoting rival network NBC, all in the service of gun control.
On Sunday's Meet the Press, anchor David Gregory used the comedy to make a typically liberal political point: "Isn’t that really the problem? Despite all the emotion, despite the push, despite the public opinion polls, not a lot is about to be accomplished here."
Last week, ABC insisted Obama's gun bill was "significant," even as NBC admitted it was "watered down."
A transcript of the April 15 GMA segment, which aired at 7:10, follows:
ABC GRAPHIC: Not Backing Down on Gun Control: Newtown Families Return for Push
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's stay in Washington for more on the debate on gun control. With a decisive vote on background checks coming as soon as tomorrow, supporters are scrambling from behind and the Newtown families are keeping the pressure on. ABCs Jon Karl covers it all from the White House.
JON KARL: It was something the President had never done before.
FRANCINE WHEELER: I'm just a citizen.
KARL: He turned over his address to Francine Wheeler, whose six-year-old son, Ben, was killed in the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
WHEELER: Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.
KARL: Victim of gun violence have been putting pressure on gun makers to enact new gun laws.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I'm a parent. I can do something.
KARL: That raw emotion helped bring about the odd couple pairing of conservative, Republican Pat Toomey and moderate Democrat Joe Manchin, both members of the NRA. The two are proposing a bill that would expand background checks, requiring them for all guns bought at gun shows and online. But even proponents are concerned it may not have the support to pass the senate.
SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: It will be a tough fight to even get the 60 votes we need.
KARL: And opponents say these new measures wouldn't prevent mass shootings like Newtown from happening.
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Criminals don't care about the laws we pass with regard to g
KARL: A fact that Senator Manchin says the Newtown families acknowledge.
MANCHIN: They're even saying that "We know that this bill you're working on would not have saved our children."
KARL: The background check plan has a better chance of passing than any gun control proposal in the last two decades. Congress is just not eager to enact new gun laws. A fact lampooned on Saturday Night Live.
"BARACK OBAMA": This week, the Senate voted 68-31 to begin debating the idea of discussing gun control. Let me say that again. They have agreed to think about talking about gun control.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon, that bipartisan deal was supposed to break the log jam in the Senate. But still a real uphill fight?
KARL: Yeah, it's not there yet. The bill's advocates acknowledge they don't have the votes yet to get the bill passed. That's why the Newtown families have abruptly cancelled their personal plans are returning to Washington this week to lobby for those remaining votes they feed.