On Monday’s the Last Word show, in its new 8:00 p.m. time slot, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell referred to the manufacturers of high-capacity magazines as "merchants of death" who purchase "their political protection from the NRA." As he continued his push for a ban on magazines with 30 bullets in light of the Tucson shootings, O’Donnell dismissed a statement from the NRA which argued that such magazines are useful in self-defense, and went on to make his latest attack on the manufacturers:
So the merchants of death are buying their political protection from the NRA and leave us to stare at our children and wonder: Who among them will be the next nine-year-old their high-capacity magazines unload on? The next Christina Taylor Green.
He went on to plead with President Obama to talk about gun control in the State of the Union Address, or otherwise "become part of the problem." O’Donnell:
If the President follows Republican and Democratic tradition tomorrow night and says not a word about gun and ammunition control, if he does not use this moment of his increasing popularity, if he does not believe he has the communication skills to convey the necessity to control the capacity of automatic weapons, then I, for one, will become disappointed in him for the first time. And he will become part of the problem.
There are times it seems the folks at MSNBC are so driven by their liberal agenda that they're missing their own hypocrisy even when it happens on the same show separated by mere minutes.
Take for example Chris Matthews who moments after a lengthy segment Monday complaining about Glenn Beck and the so-called "violent rhetoric of the Right" ironically tied Tea Party members to "Nazi stuff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
There I was this morning at the New York Times online op-ed page, the scene of so much self-righteous hand-wringing in recent weeks over the violence in our culture and rhetoric. I was deciding whether to subject myself first to Gail Collins or Charles Blow, when my eye was drawn to the ad you see here for something called "Project Blackout." A busty babe wields an assault rifle the Times surely wouldn't want in private hands. And look: the ad is peppered by bullet holes.
Click through to learn more about the violent video game, and you'll see the image [after the jump] of a man . . . in a crosshairs.
Note also the legend under the ad image that appeared on the op-ed page: "Advertise on NYTimes.com".
"[W]hether you think a ban on police-style assault weapons such as the one Jared Lee Loughner used in Tuscon is good policy or not, it is curious to see that Republicans are not even bothering to make legitimate arguments against such proposals," Newsweek's Ben Adler scoffed in a January 18 The Gaggle blog post:
There is simply no precedent to support the claim that laws preventing civilians from obtaining weapons that can fire 30 bullets without reloading would violate the Second Amendment. This does not mean that one cannot have a valid concern that even constitutional laws place an undue burden on one's freedom, but that is a question of values and public policy tradeoffs, not constitutionality.
While it's true that courts have not examined the constitutionality on such a ban, it's completely ludicrous to say there is in no way a constitutional issue at play here. Courts invalidate legislation on the grounds of creating an"undue burden" on constitutional rights all the time, as well they should, seeing that the purpose of the Bill of Rights is, well, securing rights to citizens from the abridgement of the government.
From the files of clippings I've saved over the years, one of my favorite headlines -- "Prison populations, costs climbing: $40b a year spent on inmates despite falling crime rate," as published in The Boston Globe on July 28, 2003.
Yes -- "despite".
Not the only time I've seen a headline along these lines, though less often nowadays, its idiocy becoming too obvious to ignore.
As if to fill the void, a variation on the theme has appeared, especially in the wake of the Tucson shooting. It goes like this -- gun ownership rates climb despite falling crime rates. With any luck, this too will be consigned to the dustbin, but don't hold your breath.
Best recent example -- agitprop filmmaker Michael Moore appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show Monday and saying this --
On Tuesday's John King USA, CNN's John King issued a prompt on-air apology minutes after a guest on his program used the term "crosshairs" during a segment: "We're trying to get away from using that kind of language" (audio available here). This action stands in stark contrast to an incident over a year earlier where former anchor Rick Sanchez took four days to apologize for using a unconfirmed quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh.
The firearms term appeared during a panel discussion about the race for Chicago mayor with CNN contributor Roland Martin and former journalist Andy Shaw, who is currently the executive director of the Better Government Association, a watchdog group involved in Illinois politics. Twenty-four minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour, King asked Shaw about former Senator and mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun's claim that she was the most qualified candidate in the race: "Can she make the case- you can say Rahm Emanuel- you don't want him as mayor, but he's been a congressman. He's been a White House chief of staff. He's been a White House aide. Carol Moseley Braun- have more experience, more credentials?"
Shaw underlined his point that the Braun and the other mayoral candidates were going after Emanuel by using the sniping term:
In a fine example of the new civility at MSNBC, Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday actually yelled at an Arizona Congressman who didn't agree with him about the need for gun control following the shootings in Tucson.
The discussion on "The Last Word" really got heated after the host made the case to Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that additional security at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-Ariz.) Congress on Your Corner event wouldn't have mattered because "The overwhelming majority of bullets fired by police officers always miss their target" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Catching up on an item from the Tuesday, January 11, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host O’Donnell blamed President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress of 2004 for some of the deaths in the Tucson shootings because they did not have the "basic human decency" to renew the assault weapons ban and require Jared Loughner to reload his weapon sooner. O’Donnell talked of learning which victims would be alive if not for Bush and Republicans. O’Donnell:
When the investigation reveals the exact order of the 31 shots fired, we will be able to do the grim accounting and tell you exactly, exactly who would be alive today if the Republican House, the Republican Senate and the Republican President had the basic human decency to do the right thing in 2004.
Later in the show, he quoted the spokesman of the National Rifle Association and tagged him as "soulless" for opposing a rush to pass new gun control laws. He went on to contend that the NRA believes "there should be absolutely no restrictions on access to guns," and suggested that the NRA wants to keep the murder rate in America above that in other countries. O’Donnell:
Quote, "Anything other than prayers for the victims and their families at this time would be inappropriate." So says the soulless spokesman for the National Rifle Association, the most successful special interest lobby in the history of lobbying. Success in lobbying is scored according to how difficult your case is. The NRA has a very difficult case to make, that there should be absolutely no restrictions on access to guns and bullets in this country, and that we must never allow our homicide rate to fall below any other country`s homicide rate.
On Saturday, both ABC and NBC ran stories fretting over the Crossroads of the West Gun Show that was held over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona. On ABC, at one point, correspondent David Wright seemed surprised that the large number of people showing up at the event were customers instead of protesters. After relaying that some members of Congress want more gun control laws and cautioning viewers that they should not "hold your breath for them to pass," he continued: "If you wonder why, just check out the crowd at today's gun show. These aren't protesters, they're customers."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kristen Welker noted that it is legal to carry concealed weapons in Arizona, "just as Loughner did last Saturday," as if a person with homicidal intent would decide to obey a law against carrying concealing weapons:
KRISTEN WELKER: Guns are permissible almost anywhere in the state, including many public buildings, and it is legal for people to conceal those weapons and carry them around, just as Loughner did last Saturday.
PAUL HELMKE, BRADY COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Arizona is only the third state in the country to allow people to carry loaded, hidden guns without any permitting process at all.
“The country is pretty unified behind the idea that President Obama found the right words, the right tone at the right time,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos announced Monday night in touting how a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found “78 percent approve of how he handled” the Tucson shooting, in contrast to Sarah Palin, “not so much, only 30 percent approve of her response.”
When Stephanopoulos noted “the support for stricter gun control has dropped over the last few years,” anchor Diane Sawyer expressed astonishment: “Stricter has dropped?” Instead of detailing that trend, Stephanopoulos concentrated on some specific policies with overwhelming support.
The ABC duo ignored how their poll advanced a false media narrative in asking: “As you may know, a gunman shot a U.S. Congress member and 18 other people in Arizona late last week. Is it your impression that the political discourse in this country did or did not contribute to this incident?” [PDF rundown of the poll]
Yesterday (covered here at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in his report on the arrest of Eric Fuller at an ABC "This Week" taping in Tucson, Arizona, the Associated Press's Bob Christie either failed to perform a basic web search that would have revealed Fuller's Friday "Democracy Now!" rant, or failed to report what he found.
This evening's AP report from Christie and Amanda Lee Myers at least recognizes Fuller's appearance on the far-left program. But that acknowledgment appears at Paragraph 14 of a report that is primarily about Gabrielle Giffords's recovery (headlined "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords condition improves"), instead of in a different AP dispatch this evening ("With shock subsiding, pain sets in for AZ victims") where addressing Fuller's outburst would have made more sense (what would have made the most sense is a separate report on Fuller alone).
The submission by Christie and Myers also fails to go into much of the substance of Fuller's "Democracy Now!" appearance. Readers get the impression that Fuller was fulminating against conservatives in general, when in fact he called out several by name -- including, bizarrely, new House Majority Leader John Boehner.
Like Rahm Emanuel, who wouldn't waste a crisis, Frank Rich doesn't want to let a murderous rampage pass without trying to wring political advantage. By now, even most ardent liberals have had to admit that there was no nexus between conservatives and the manifestly psychotic AZ shooter. But there was Rich, in his New York Times column of this morning, still bitterly clinging to the accusation.
To be sure, Rich recited some disclaimers that by now have become standard. But by unlucky paragraph 13, Rich could restrain himself no more. Fulminated Frank: "Much of last week’s televised bloviation was dishonest, dedicated to the pious, feel-good sentiment that both sides are equally culpable for the rage of the past two years." That is a "false equivalency," he sputtered.
Two paras later, out popped what amounted to a flat-out accusation. After claiming there exists "antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s," Rich argued:
"That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there."
Translation: yeah, Loughner was crazy, but conservatives are still to blame.
Here's the opening paragraph of the Associated Press's 8:16 p.m. ET report on the arrest of Eric Fuller:
One of the Arizona shooting victims was arrested Saturday and then taken for a psychiatric evaluation after authorities said he took a picture of a tea party leader at televised town hall meeting and yelled: "you're dead."
The rest of Bob Christie's dispatch reflects either a failure by "The Essential Global News Network" to do a simple Google search on the guy, or, if such a search was attempted, a failure to report what was found.
Noel Sheppard posted the news about J. Eric Fuller's arrest at NewsBusters earlier this evening:
According to the website of ABC-TV affiliate KGUN, J. Eric Fuller was arrested and charged with threats, intimidation, and disorderly conduct.
Demonstrating impressive prescience, John Hayward at Human Events predicted on Friday that Fuller would attempt to capitalize on his being among the injured in last Saturday's Tucson murders. After the jump, you'll get a sampling of Fuller's full feelings from Hayward:
"The Second Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms is part of America’s founding fabric. So is senseless violence brought about by guns also American?" asked Newsweek's Daniel Stone in a January 13 post at the magazine's website.
Stone noted that his question was inspired by a similar query posed recently by a Russian journalist Andrei Sitov to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.:
Is occasional violent tragedy a distasteful byproduct of a free society? I walked out of the briefing room with Sitov, who appeared to realize the impact that his question had on the roomful of Americans. “It’s an obvious question and nobody asks that question,” he told me through his thick Russian accent. “This is a cost that your country pays for freedom.”
Of course the cost of freedom with any right is that evil and/or deranged people will abuse it to the harm of others, but Stone's piece seems to focus on civilian gun ownership as though it is mostly a societal liability without considering the real benefits private gun ownership have in protecting life, liberty, and property.
For example, since 1958, the National Rifle Association has been collecting news clippings from across America of everyday citizens using a firearm to defend their lives and property.
Former Texas Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, on Thursday's Today show, was cornered by NBC's Matt Lauer on his anti-gun control stance, as Lauer pressed: "In the wake of...that shooting out in Tucson, Arizona, do you today feel the same way about gun control that you did when you were an elected official?" DeLay was invited on to discuss being sentenced in his campaign finance case but Lauer felt the need to shoe-horn in a question about the Gabrielle Giffords shooting as he attempted to guilt DeLay into rethinking his support for overturning the assault weapons ban back in 2004.
First up, Lauer's colleague, Norah O'Donnell, foreshadowed the anti-gun bias turn in the interview, in her set up piece as she reported: " In Congress, DeLay was known for his ruthless ability to make his fellow Republicans tow the line, blocking renewal of the assault weapons ban in 2004, in the news again today because of Saturday's Arizona shooting."
Lauer then advanced that line to DeLay in the subsequent interview segment as seen in the following January 13 Today show exchange:
CNN indicated its sympathy for gun control on Tuesday with two segments on The Situation Room where sound bites from gun control supporters outnumbered gun rights supporters by a three-to-one margin. During the first report, correspondent Dana Bash stated that Senator Patrick Leahy "supports gun rights," even though the Democrat actually has the opposite record on the issue.
The previous evening, during the 9 pm Eastern hour of Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, the network's senior political analyst, David Gergen, indicated that he supported stricter gun control, in the wake of the attempted assassination on Representative Gabrielle Giffords, during a segment with Tea Party activist Dana Loesch.
GERGEN: ...How is it possible that someone who is this unhinged, when so many people understood that he was in mental deterioration, that he could still walk into a gun store and buy- you know, 9 mm semiautomatic Glock handgun, and also, then carry it concealed? I mean that's- if there's some cultural insanity here, it is the fact that we haven't put a stop to the capacity of these deranged young people to buy guns and then spray at people. It's just unbelievable.
Director Spike Lee, along with his wife Tonya, came on Wednesday's Today show to promote their new children's book, but he couldn't leave without blaming the NRA for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and slamming the United States of America for being "the most violent country in the history of civilization."
CNN's Jeffrey Toobin falsely claimed on Tuesday's Parker-Spitzer that Barack Obama is "against gun control." Toobin also seemed to lament that the conservative position on the Second Amendment has become the "conventional wisdom" in politics: "This is how much gun control has fallen off the map politically- that the idea that more guns will mean more protection is widely believed" [audio available here].
The senior legal analyst for the liberal network appeared during a segment at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour to "break down some of the legal issues" related to the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Host Kathleen Parker first asked Toobin about the interview of gun rights advocate Alan Korwin in the previous segment: "You just heard us interview this pro-gun fellow out in Arizona. Are we all going to be safer if we're all packing heat?"
The liberal talking head launched into his take on gun politics:
On Monday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric used the Tucson shooting to go after gun ownership: "As we reported, Jared Loughner purchased his gun legally....Saturday's attack is now putting the state's gun laws under a magnifying glass." In the report that followed, correspondent Dean Reynolds declared: "Arizona has among the most permissive gun laws in the nation."
Reynolds portrayed Arizona's commitment to gun rights as a danger: "The right to keep and bear arms here extends to weapons in cars, restaurants, and even bars....you can literally go on a shopping spree armed from store to store." He seemed aghast at the idea that guns may be allowed on Arizona college campuses: "And now there are proposals pending in the state legislature here that would allow college faculty and even college students, like those here at the University of Arizona, to carry concealed weapons on campus."
Reynolds spoke with former Democratic Mayor of Tucson Tom Volgy, who argued: "I think in the state of Arizona it is easier to purchase a weapon like that [a Glock semiautomatic] than it is to get a driver's license."
Lui was teasing an upcoming segment in which MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing would interview House Intelligence Committee chairman and former FBI agent Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) about what measures Congress could or should take to explore greater security measures for congressmen and/or gun control legislation.
"Every recent gun control law has passed after a high-profile shooting," Jansing noted before starting her interview with Rogers later that hour.
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN treated Arizona's gun laws as a significant contributor to the shootings in Tucson. Correspondent Jessica Yellin prompted the local prosecutor to spout her pro-gun control views. Anchor Brooke Baldwin highlighted a local Republican's gun-toting ad and the infamous clip of an anti-Obama protester carrying a semi-automatic rifle outside a 2009 presidential event in Arizona.
Appearing on Monday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw praised Sheriff Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz. for condemning political vitriol, and wished more officials would follow suit. Dupnik, a Democrat, blamed violent political rhetoric in part for the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), and singled out conservatives Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle for instances of unacceptable hate speech.
Brokaw thought officials have been "timid" in their criticism of violent political speech, in the wake of Saturday's shooting. "The Pima County Sheriff is not," he continued. "He is speaking out, and too few others have because they're worried about retribution."
Brokaw added that officials are hesitant to condemn hate speech because they fear sharp backlash from the public via the internet. The press is partially responsible for that fear mongering, he opined. "They're worried about the internet being lit up against them. And that's something that those of us on this side of the camera also have to be thinking about and not just be feeding that," he preached.
While many liberal media outlets are obsessing over conservative political rhetoric they insist leads to incidents like the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), the Washington Post today has opted instead to exploit the tragic shooting to push for gun control.
"The early evidence raises questions about mental illness and indiscriminate access to guns," the Post complained in the subheadline to its top January 10 editorial, "Carnage in Arizona.":
The temptation will be, as Arizona and the nation mourn the dead and hope for the recovery of the wounded, to infuse the terrible attack with broader political meaning - to blame the actions of the alleged 22-year-old gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, on a vitriolic political culture laced with violent metaphors and ugly attacks on opponents. Maybe. But metaphors don't kill people - guns kill people.
Of course the Post editorial board went on to see a broader political meaning in the tragedy, namely, the "need" for more gun control:
Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Monday provided some balance to the numerous journalists who are attempting to blame the spree shooting in Arizona on Sarah Palin. The ABC journalist said of Jared Loughner, "The shooter's motives remain unclear. One acquaintance from 2007 described him as liberal."
Tapper discussed the "cross hairs" graphic created by Sarah Palin's Political Action Committee in 2010 (which targeted Democrats for political defeat). Unlike other journalists, however, he pointed out that the investigation into Loughner's interest into Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords "ties back to 2007, three years before Palin's map."
As the MRC's Brent Baker reported on Sunday, many network reporters attempted to make a connection between the shooting and Palin, the Tea Partiers and conservatives in general. ABC's graphic on Monday announced, "Politics of Vitriol: Is Rhetoric Getting Too Rough?" Additionally, Tapper played a clip of talk show host Joyce Kaufman asserting, "And if ballots don't work, bullets will."
Appearing as a guest on Saturday’s special edition of Countdown on MSNBC, Washington Post associate editor Eugene Robinson joined host Keith Olbermann in linking the violent attack on Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords to political rhetoric, presumably by conservatives, and suggested that such public figures must be careful to avoid inciting mentally disturbed individuals. Moments after noting comments by Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik complaining about violent rhetoric on radio and television, Olbermann brought aboard Robinson for further discussion.
While Olbermann at one pointed noted that "We don't know enough about the motives of the man they have in custody," he later posed, "I've never been convinced still that most of the people saying these things actually want to see people shot. What, though, does that matter at this point if people are being shot? How straight a line does it have to be from the one to the other?"
Robinson asserted that "intent doesn’t obviate the crime," and linked political rhetoric to violence by the mentally ill with guns:
Well, I think this is a case in which intent doesn't obviate the crime. No, I think most of these people who say these violent sounding things about how evil your government is and what it's doing to you and who quote Thomas Jefferson about democracy needing to be watered by the blood of patriots and that sort of thing, I don't think they actually intend people to take this seriously, but it can and there are people who are unbalanced who have access to guns who do take it seriously, and we should know that by now.
The irresponsible propagandists posing as journalists at the Associated Press are going to a frequently visited well tonight -- the one where any violence committed against a Democrat or liberal must somehow and in some way be due to a climate of hostility created solely by conservatives, Republicans, and more recently, Tea Party activists.
Never mind that the person who allegedly shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and murdered several others, Jared Loughner, is reportedly a marijuana-using loner who lists the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf as among his favorite books, or that the most recent items which could bee seen as potential incitements to violence against Giffords have come from the left, in response to her refusal to back Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader in the House just days ago (roll call vote here).