CBS Mentions Colo. Shooter’s Anti-GOP Facebook Post, But Fails to Label Him 'Socialist'

Of the three major broadcast networks’ Saturday morning shows, CBS This Morning: Saturday gave the most background information on Colorado high school shooter Karl Pierson. To their credit, CBS reported on one particular Facebook post that gives us a window into Pierson’s ideological leanings.

Correspondent Barry Petersen mentioned it at the top of the second hour of the show:


[Pierson] wrote on his Facebook page, "The Republican Party: health care - let them die. Gun violence - let them die. Is this really the side you want to be on?" Said to be very opinionated.
 

Very opinionated, indeed. It sounds like Pierson had the views of a typical MSNBC host.

Kudos to CBS for pointing out that post, which the NBC and ABC Saturday morning shows failed to do. However, CBS could have gone further and said that Pierson held socialist, or even communist, views. Some students at Pierson’s school claimed he had socialist leanings. This was reported by Real Clear Politics and The Denver Post – at least before the Post removed the word ‘socialist’ from its description of the shooter.

In fact, some outlets have even quoted students as saying Pierson held communist views. These outlets include CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and – wait for it – CBS, which used the C-word in a Saturday article on CBSNews.com. Why couldn’t they mention that on the broadcast?

Below is a transcript of the CBS This Morning: Saturday segment, which aired on December 14:


ANTHONY MASON: But first our top story this half-hour. Colorado investigators are piecing together the latest school shooting attack.

VANITA NAIR: It happened Friday at a high school in suburban Denver less than ten miles from Columbine High School where 13 people died in a 1999 massacre. Barry Petersen is in Centennial, Colorado, with the latest. Barry, good morning.

BARRY PETERSEN: Good morning. Well, the headline on the Denver Post really says it all for Colorado –  "Again." As you point out, this school is about eight miles from Columbine, the massacre there. About 16 miles from Aurora and the theater massacre there. Again, we see students fleeing a high school, their hands held up in the air. Now, this is standard procedure so police can check and make sure that none of them are a shooter. And how sad to say that there is a standard procedure for something like this. Now the shooter, who killed himself, has been identified as 18-year-old Karl Pierson. He’s said to be a gifted debater from a religious family that did Bible studies. Apparently had some kind of a dispute with a teacher, came in with a shotgun in hands looking for the teacher. He wrote on his Facebook page, ‘The Republican Party: health care - let them die. Gun violence - let them die. Is this really the side you want to be on?’ Said to be very opinionated. Some students said he was kind of bullied for his opinions, and others said that he was just a kid who was well-liked by everybody, making it all the more mysterious why a bright young kid from an apparently normal middle-class family could do something like this. Anthony, Vanita?

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.