All three network newscasts on Friday featured Chicago as an example of Barack Obama's call for more gun control. ABC and NBC ignored the inconvenient fact that the city already has some of the strictest gun control in the country. (It took a Supreme Court ruling to overturn Chicago's ban on handguns.) Only the CBS Evening News mentioned this point.
On the NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt explained that the President traveled to Chicago "where dozens of children are victims of gun violence every year." Chuck Todd highlighted, "For years, it's the NRA that has used emotion to win big political battles. The president hopes the emotions of Newtown change the equation." He also noted that Chicago saw almost "nearly 500 gun shot-related murders in 2012."
On World News, Jon Karl recounted, "In Chicago, [Obama] invoked the memory of Hadiyah Pendleton, the teenager gunned down days after performing at the inauguration."
The Washington Times on February 11 explained:
...Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control mandates in the country. "Assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines are completely banned and, until a 2010 Supreme Court decision, so were handguns.
Residents now can get a permit to own a gun, but the process requires training, background checks and a firearm owner’s identification card.
Yet, ABC and NBC both skipped this important aspect of the city and guns.
On the February 15 CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason at least explained, "Chicago already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country."
ABC's Good Morning America on Monday again noticed crime in Chicago. Paula Faris informed viewers that an 18-year-old girl was killed "on the same day that her little sister sat behind President Obama during a speech on gun violence."
Gun violence in Chicago wasn't always so interesting to the networks. On September 5, 2012, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on all three morning shows. At that time, the city had endured 350 murders. There was no mention of violence. But now that gun control is being pushed by the presidents, the networks are dutifully falling in line.
A transcript of the February 15 Nightly News segment can be found below:
LESTER HOLT: Gun violence was back at the top of the president's agenda today as he awarded posthumous medals to six educators killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings. Then he traveled to his hometown, Chicago, where dozens of children are victims of gun violence every year.
Here's NBC's chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd.
OBAMA: And that's what we honor today.
CHUCK TODD: The president today, wiping a tear as he posthumously honored those six teachers and administrators who lost their lives that fateful day in December.
OBAMA: When they showed up December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other. So they had no idea that evil was about to strike. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us.
TODD: An emotional president, hugging the mothers, fathers, daughters, husbands of those lost in the shooting tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Presidential Citizens Medal is awarded to Rachel D'Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto.
TODD: The president has been using the emotion of Newtown to build public support for new gun control law. He did it Tuesday in an unusual ending at the State of the Union.
OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
OBAMA: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
TODD: This afternoon, in Chicago, a city that saw nearly 500 gunshot- related murders last year, the president noted nearly 70 of those victims were under 18.
OBAMA: So that's the equivalent of a Newtown every four months.
TODD (on camera): For years, it's the NRA that has used emotion to win big political battles. The president hopes the emotions of Newtown change the equation.