The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: "Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not."
But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood's culture of violence.
Anderson Cooper's lone guest to talk guns on Thursday night was the anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), echoing CNN's ridiculous disparity of pro-gun control guests and gun rights advocates on its newscasts.
Cooper pitched him a fairly easy interview, first asking, "your impressions of the President's proposals on gun control. Are you happy with them?" He later teed up Bloomberg to bash the NRA. "What do you think of the NRA, of how they have been fighting this?" he questioned.
The New York Times's Michael Cooper reported from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, capturing the effusive reaction to President Obama's gun-control proposals. In his report, "Recalling Pain Of Guns' Toll, Mayors Urge Bills' Passage – Heartened After Years Of Pushing for Laws," Cooper came off less a hard-bitten reporter than an emotionally over-involved storyteller, pushing for someone to do something about gun violence. (No matter that none of the mayoral anecdotes he relayed included mass shootings like the one in Newtown).
The Mayors Conference is perhaps best known for its grossly exaggerated hunger in America reports, cynically timed for the holiday season when people are tucking into turkey. Times Watch examined the reports from 1987 to 2002 several years ago, and found the Mayors' group was claiming an implausible 1240% increase of hunger in America during that period, which sounds more like North Korea than the most prosperous and democratic nation on earth.
A perplexed Andrea Mitchell on Thursday highlighted a new NBC poll finding high favorability numbers for the National Rifle Association, results she deemed "surprising." The veteran journalist proclaimed: "The NRA brand has been fairly toxic in many of the debates, the gun debates especially since Newtown, but their membership base is broad and deep." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] One reason the brand has been "toxic" is because of relentlessly negative coverage from reporters.
Yet, NBC political editor Mark Murray explained, "Despite a lot of the criticism the NRA has received in the month after the Newtown shootings, the NRA has a 41 percent favorable rating, compared to just 34 percent unfavorable." Contributor Chris Cillizza added that "inside the Beltway and in big cities in this country," the NRA may be "akin to a curse word. It is not in the vast majority of the country."
In an interview with media reporter Dylan Byers, Piers Morgan has admitted what has become painfully obvious to observers of his program: the CNN host is desperate to save his job by ginning up any sort of controversy he can to attract attention to himself.
Even though he freely admits he’s seeking ratings, it appears that pointing out Morgan’s pathetic ploy is very irritating to him. In the interview, he lashed out at his predecessor Larry King who said that Morgan has made his show more about himself more than his guests: “I think he just slightly needs to button it, because he’s talking nonsense. The reason we’re different is, I’m a journalist and he’s not. Larry isn’t a journalist, never has been.”
It has become clear where CBS News comes down on the debate over guns in America: on the side of the Obama White House. On Thursday night’s CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley highlighted a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing “an overwhelming number of American approve of the president’s call for universal background checks for gun buyers” but ignored findings in the very same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support having armed guards in public places such as schools, movie theaters and malls. You may recall it was the National Rifle Association (NRA) that proposed armed guards in schools -- much to the derision and even outrage of the liberal media -- last month.
The entire segment was meant to highlight supposed support for President Obama’s gun control measures and comes just one day after CBS’ Bob Schieffer compared President Obama’s gun control effort to the hunt for the Nazi’s during World War II. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
"The far left is making [the average American gun owner and NRA member] a villain for abiding by your Second Amendment rights," and they're finding willing accomplices in supposedly objective journalists like Bob Schieffer, Brent Bozell argued on the January 17 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity. The Media Research Center president was reacting to a soundbite in which the CBS anchor compared the political challenge of President Obama taking on the NRA to defeating the Third Reich in World War II.
"Surely passing civil rights legislation as Lyndon Johnson was able to do, and before that, surely defeating the Nazis was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby," Schieffer noted on January 16 shortly after President Obama's press conference on gun control. "This is a turning point in this country.," Schieffer insisted, concluding, "Unless we figure out a way to make sure that something like Newtown never happens again, we're not the country that we once were." [watch the full Hannity "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
Another home included in an interactive map of gun permit holders published by the Lower Hudson Valley’s Journal News shortly before Christmas has been burglarized. This time, according to the related report at Newsday, "The thieves ransacked the house Wednesday night, breaking into two safes on the home's third floor and stealing a third safe." The third safe, in what was either an amazing coincidence or yet another direct result of the interactive map’s publication, is the one which contained the homeowners' guns. Imagine that.
More details from Timothy O'Connor's Newsday report, wherein officials compete to distance the crime from the map, follow the jump.
As NewsBusters reported Thursday, Tom Brokaw appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe said that not supporting gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre is akin to those that didn't back the Civil Rights movement in the '60s.
Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin took issue with this hours later and asked, "Have you lost your mind Tom Brokaw? Do you realize what an idiot you are?" (transcript follows without any need for additional commentary, audio available at Right Scoop):
Despite constant hammering by the national news media, the National Rifle Association has a favorability rating of 54 percent in the latest Gallup survey, slightly higher than President Obama's rating of 53 percent.
While those figures are within the poll's margin of error, they show that the NRA's popularity is in the same range as that of the Democratic president who issued 23 executive orders to accomplish goals the gun-rights group has promised to combat in “the fight of the century.”
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell granted staunch gun rights supporter Michael Bloomberg a platform to blast the NRA as "stupid", and brush aside gun-owning Americans as a radical minority. O'Donnell set up the New York City mayor to accuse the gun rights group of being under the thumb of gun manufacturers.
The CBS anchors also took a more subdued approach to the Bloomberg segment, compared to their contentious interview of NRA President David Keene just minutes earlier. Co-anchor Charlie Rose led the segment with a softball question to the billionaire politician [audio clips from the Bloomberg interview are available here; video below the jump]:
Perhaps, it would be easier to ask Chris Matthews what isn't like being an old segregationist? Two weeks ago, the Hardball host compared anti-tax conservatives to "being the most segregationist guy in the south." On Thursday, Matthews suggested it was pro-Second Amendment conservatives who fit the description.
The cable anchor opened his show by blasting, "It used to be that the only way to get elected in the old Dixiecrat south was to be the farthest out there in backing segregation. Anyone who showed moderation was seen as soft." Making his comparison clear, Matthews sneered, "Well, to win in today's Republican Party, which began displacing the Dixiecrats a half century ago, you have to be the farthest out there backing guns." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When it comes to the Washington press corps, it seems journalists have two modes: garden variety liberal bias and rah-rah, fist-pumping Obama boosterism. The cover of today's Express tabloid exhibits both.
"Obama Draws the Line on Guns," exults the headline on the front of the January 17 Washington Post-published tabloid. The photoshopped image accompanying the headline is an upturned fountain pen from which a wisp of smoke is curling. [view the image below the page break]
This from a man who loves to fish, so presumably he knows the purpose of "bait".
Liberals are reacting with predictable histrionics to a new National Rifle Association ad slamming President Obama as an "elitist hypocrite" for dismissing the NRA's suggestion of armed security in every school while he sends his children to a school with armed guards. (audio, video clips after page break)
Norah O'Donnell barely contained her contempt for NRA president David Keene during an interview on Thursday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell confronted Keene over a new ad that ripped President Obama's support of gun control and referenced the armed Secret Service protection for Sasha and Malia Obama: "The NRA put out this ad in which you mentioned the President's kids....Why is it not off-bounds to use the President's kids or anybody's kids in a political ad?"
Keene tried to explain the intent behind the ad, but the anchor interrupted him mid-answer. The outrage in her voice was unmistakable [audio available here; video below the jump]:
In a report for Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell smeared the National Rifle Association as a group benefitting from tragedy: "Even as America was shaken by the horror of Newtown, the NRA escalated its rhetoric, claiming to add more than 100,000 new members, and taking a no-compromise stand....the NRA is raising money, e-mailing supporters to upgrade their membership for what it calls, 'the fight of the century.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the middle of the segment, a brief exchange was shown between Mitchell and NRA president David Keene. Mitchell quoted a fundraising email from the gun rights organization warning of President Obama's pursuit of gun restrictions and wondered: "Are they trying to scare gun owners?" Keene replied: "We're not scaring them. We're not saying that your rights are at risk. The President of the United States is saying that."
After spending the first half of the week acting as a stenographer for Barack Obama, Jon Karl on Wednesday night and Thursday morning finally featured some dissenting voices on the rush to promote gun control. The ABC White House correspondent sought out attendees at a gun show and leaders of the NRA. Yet, he still managed to hype the opposition as "ferocious," a word not often used for liberal resistance.
On Wednesday's World News, anchor Diane Sawyer used the President's preferred language, insisting that Obama "made his move" to "curb gun violence in America." (As opposed to his plan to restrict gun rights?) Sawyer touted, "The powerful NRA responded to him immediately, saying they would fight the President hard." Yet, at least ABC sought out opposition to the proposed legislation.
Despite CNN waging a crusade for gun control over the past month, and host Piers Morgan drawing attention with his incessant activism and bullying of his opponents on the gun issue, CNN’s own poll shows that support for some gun control measures has dropped over the past month.
CNN.com reported on its poll Wednesday: "According to the survey, 56% support a ban on semi-automatic guns, but that's down from 62% in a CNN poll taken in the days after the shooting at Sandy Hook. The same is true for a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips - 62% in December, down to 58% now - as well as a requirement for all gun owners to register their firearms with the local government - 78% last month, down to 69% now."
Despite Piers Morgan's consistentadvocacy, CNN's own polls show support for certain gun laws down from a month ago. That didn't stop Morgan from targeting two female gun rights advocates on his Wednesday night show, asking absurd questions, constantly interrupting them, and throwing a juvenile hissy fit.
"Where does it say you can have an assault weapon that can fire 100 bullets in a minute in your Constitution?" Morgan posed to Tea Party News guest Scottie Hughes. " Do you want the right to have a tank?" he followed up. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthusiastically touted President Obama playing offense on gun regulations: "Fighting back. President Obama is out with his plan on gun control, the most sweeping in generations. As the NRA uses the President's own daughters in an attack ad."
Moments later, Williams framed the debate this way: "President Obama came out with his proposals for the most sweeping gun control measures in many years. The National Rifle Association launched a preemptive strike against it. It involved the President's family, in part. But this time they may have some formidable opposition to their position."
It's one thing for a journalist to promote stricter gun control but quite another to put that belief into practice. That's the message of a video produced by conservative activist James O'Keefe, who visited the homes of anti-gun reporters -- including Touré Neblett, the co-host of MSNBC's “The Cycle” -- and offered to give them a yard sign that read: “This Home Is Proudly Gun Free.”
Neblett apparently is offended that his hypocrisy and fear at admitting he does not own a gun was exposed to the general public.
New York Times reporter Peter Baker explored the metaphorical challenges of the gun debate: "In Debate Over Curbing Gun Violence, Even Language Can Be Loaded." It was a politically balanced, if perhaps oversensitive, analysis, until an unfair reference tying Sarah Palin, the former GOP vice presidential candidate, to the shooting by schizophrenic Jared Loughner of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It's a false tie the Times has exploited before. An excerpt:
As former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw appeared as a guest on Wednesday's The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, he and host Stephen Colbert poked fun at former President Bill Clinton as the two discussed what a second term of President Barack Obama would likely involve.
While Obama's media predictably gush and fawn over the President's anti-gun initiatives Wednesday, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer not surprisingly had a different take.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "The things he signed today, the executive orders are useless" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Weird stuff. Then again, we are talking about Jim Moran. Appearing on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show this evening, the Dem Congressman from Virginia declared that "older white guys" were "the most insecure component of our society." Added Moran, possibly alluding to the difficulties in adopting additional gun control measures, "we're much the problem with these kind of things."
Joan Walsh was there to support the self-doubting Moran. "There are a lot of terrific older white guys out there," reassured Walsh, naming Moran and Vice-President Biden among them. View the video after the jump.
Instead of holding the White House accountable, CNN's White House correspondent is helping the President make his case for gun control.
Jessica Yellin touted Obama's "persuasive advocates," young children who wrote letters to the White House pushing for stricter gun laws whom the President featured behind him as he pushed for more gun control on Wednesday. Yellin teed them up to explain why they wrote their letters. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a contentious exchange with Eric Pratt of Gun Owners of America on her Wednesday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell declared that Constitutional rights, like the right to bear arms, were more like suggestions: "Well, they can be infringed, because the First Amendment is infringed, I have to obey all sorts of regulations from the FCC, there are things we can't say in a crowded theater, so every right also carries with it responsibilities and obligations." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That was in response to Pratt explaining: "...a very important concept of inalienable rights, because whether it's the right to vote, right to sit behind a microphone, or the right to choose how I'm going to protect myself, all those rights cannot be infringed, as the Second Amendment says."
Liberal Daily Beast writer Michael Tomasky joined the gang of other liberal journalists expressing their overwrought, melodramatic outrage this morning at the NRA's latest Web ad which calls President Obama to task for dismissing their call for armed guards in the nation's schools.
But, being Tomasky, he had to crank the amp up to 11, suggesting that the ad was darkly coded in a way that might inspire violence against the president's daughters (emphasis mine):
The gun industry can’t do anything right … at least, that’s what the average citizen would think if they paid attention to the media. On Jan. 15, the Associated Press even attacked a gun industry trade show.
That same day, the annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show opened in Las Vegas. Only a limited number of media credentials were allowed in the show – if you consider 2,000 credentials to be “limited.” According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the show expects one in 30 attendees to be press. Yet the AP complained the “show was closed to the public and was covered by a limited number of reporters and photographers.”