For ABC's Good Morning America, favoring more guns on the streets is "controversial" but President Obama's plea for gun control is simply news.
"Those who argue that the best way to stop mass killings is to have more guns in the right hands at the right time, even in the classroom. It's a controversial debate," reported co-host George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. In contrast, ABC's Jake Tapper framed the Newtown shooting as a "tipping point" amidst Obama's push for more gun control.
All three networks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning ignored the violent assaults by union protesters in Michigan, instead vaguely insisting that activists were simply "voicing their anger" at the "showdown raging in the heartland." The morning shows on Wednesday allowed little coverage of Michigan at all, a mere 72 seconds out of eight hours of programming. (On Tuesday, the nightly newscasts offered eight minutes out of a possible 90 total.)
On Tuesday, World News reporter Alex Perez put the focus not on out of control violence, but on the fact that Michigan's right-to-work bill actually passed. He began, "The anger boiling over. Officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd at least 10,000 deep. But it wasn't enough." One might think the journalist was speaking of the attack on Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. No. Perez kept the attention on the new law: "Michigan Republican lawmakers approving landmark legislation, lifting the requirement that workers in unionized workplaces pay union dues." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
All three morning shows on Monday covered the massive teachers strike in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago that left 350,000 students in the lurch. However, only CBS This Morning explained that the teachers, through their public sector unions, are already well compensated, making an average salary of $71,000 a year (plus benefits).
Reporter Dean Reynolds informed viewers, "That a dispute involving public sector employees would erupt in Chicago was somewhat surprising, given the generous packages unions here have won in the past." He noted that "Chicago's public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year." Good Morning America and the Today show ignored these facts.
Violent anti-war protesters clashed with Chicago police this weekend, but the network morning shows on Monday avoided attempts at pinning an ideology on them, simply referring to "anti-war" "protesters."
On CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose blandly explained, "Protests turned violent in Chicago...Police battle protesters in Chicago." Reporter Bill Plante added, "And a small group of them clashed with police and 45 were arrested." ABC at least provided mores specifics, including a stabbing and foiled attempts to use Molotov cocktails at the NATO summit.
Is it right to make death threats against George Zimmerman and his family? ABC News isn't sure. In a Good Morning America segment today on the Trayvon Martin case, as an ABC reporter spoke from Sanford, Florida, this graphic was displayed across the bottom of the screen:
"ARE DEATH THREATS GOING TOO FAR?" Video and screencap after the jump.