CNN's Piers Morgan had a fiery debate with controversial State Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday.
At one point, Campfield said, "Now that gun control has failed, Piers, I'm wondering when are you going to move back to England. Because everyone in Tennessee is dying to know" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Despite CNN pushing Congress to enact new gun laws, a new poll shows less than half of Americans are "angry" or "disappointed" that last week's gun bill failed in the Senate. In its advocacy, CNN had touted 90 percent of Americans supporting universal background checks.
CNN wanted action taken on guns. Host Piers Morgan led a one-man crusade for gun control since the Newtown shooting, and that the rest of the network had been so friendly to the cause that the gun bill's co-author Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) actually thanked them for their "support."
Last week, before the Senate voted on the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill, Tavis Smiley declared that the idea that expanded background checks might not pass made him want to throw up. Well, the Senate has voted down the measure, and Smiley didn’t throw up on-camera. But he did hack up an angry rant on his PBS talk show Monday night.
The host focused on the idea that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor expanded background checks: "If there are polls and studies and surveys that show – and I’ve seen them, so I know this is true. If there are polls and studies and surveys that show that 90 percent of the American people want – or would have wanted, still want – some sort of background check, it raises the question how the president lost on this issue." [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, during a round-up of news stories that were eclipsed by coverage of the Boston bombing, anchor Brian Williams highlighted the failure of gun control legislation, noting that it "broke through last week but otherwise would have dominated our coverage..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the brief item, Williams recalled how President Obama labeled the political defeat "a shameful day in Washington" and lamented: "Upwards of 90% of the American people support it, but not enough members of the U.S. Senate." Williams then declared: "The President showed a rare flash of anger. The Newtown families went home still grieving."
On Monday's Charlie Rose show David Remnick exploited the Boston Marathon bombing to push for more gun control as he told the PBS host: "We see yet another act which might have been a Hell of a lot more difficult to pull off with effective gun control."
In a discussion about the Tsarnaevs terrorist plot the editor of The New Yorker and former Washington Post reporter pondered where they got their "pistols from?" and said that while he didn't "want to politicize" the tragedy proceeded to do just that, as he complained: "Within a week's time a very, very, very weak gun control bill gets defeated." (video after the jump)
**UPDATE** MSNBC’s Chris Jansing and Thomas Roberts did mention the new USA Today poll on their MSNBC shows at 10:10 a.m. and 11:18 a.m respectively. However, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning did not mention the new poll.
For conservatives out there, this probably will come as no surprise; support for additional federal gun control legislation has fallen below 50 percent. In a new USA Today poll released on April 23, only 49 percent of Americans support Congress passing a new gun-control law, with 45 percent opposing.
This new poll marks a six percentage point drop from an early April NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing 55 percent support for stricter gun laws. That number was even lower than the 61 percent of Americans who favored stricter gun-control laws in February. Keep in mind as well that in early April in a Gallup poll, only 4 percent thought gun control was the "most important problem" on the country's plate.
Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men. With all our warts, we have built a unique society -- a country where a black man, whose middle name is Hussein, whose grandfather was a Muslim, can run for president and first defeat a woman in his own party and then four years later a Mormon from the opposition, and no one thinks twice about it. With so many societies around the world being torn apart, especially in the Middle East, it is vital that America survives and flourishes as a beacon of pluralism.
Sunday's NBC Meet the Press panel decried gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate, with liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin lamenting: "Maybe the problem is also the structure of the Senate....given the 60 votes that are needed, given who they listen to, given the power of special interests, public sentiment cannot penetrate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan pleaded: "Something's not working there....we got a thing like Newtown, 90 percent, move it. Small, discrete parts of a bill, push it through, call it a victory, keep going." Special correspondent Tom Brokaw replied: "Well, kill the filibuster bill. I mean – or change it." Goodwin eagerly agreed: "Kill it. Definitely. Definitely. They've got to do that."
I wonder why President Obama feels he has the right to be outraged when legislators don't automatically roll over to his policy demands. I suspect that his moral indignation is more about personally losing than it is about policy issues themselves.
For indeed, President Obama was obviously furious when his gun control bill failed to muster sufficient votes to pass the Senate. Politico reported, "More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill."
Leave it to Thomas Roberts to not let a tragedy go to waste. Appearing on his daily MSNBC show on April 22, Roberts felt it appropriate to use last Monday's deadly terrorist bombing in Boston to push for federal gun control legislation.
Speaking with Patricia Maisch, survivor of the Tucson shooting which critically wounded former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), Roberts noted that the brothers Tsarnaev, residents of Massachusetts, did NOT legally own the firearms they used in a shootout with police last Thursday.
Four out of five liberal journalists, on Sunday's edition of The Chris Matthews Show, dourly predicted that gun control was "doomed" for the "foreseeable future." When Matthews asked his panel if the NRA would "block wider background checks forever" and if it was a "permanent victory for these guys?" most of the liberal panel begrudgingly agreed.
The lone holdout was CNN's Gloria Borger who predicted the defeated bill is "framing the 2014 midterm elections," and that the Democrats would "eventually" win on the gun issue.
The other panelists were gloomy in their forecasts. (video after jump)
On April 18, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll that showed 51% of Americans feel that guns in the home make it safer, compared to 29% who think otherwise. More telling is that fact that 51% of white middle class women agree with the sentiment about firearms making homes safer. Additionally, a Nexis search detailed that ABC News has yet to report this poll, and, with the exception of the Fix blog online, thePost's print edition avoided the “guns make a home safer” findings.
So, will there a correction to Jill Filipovic, Amanda Marcotte, and Co. for trying to smear the NRA as the “domestic abuse lobby? The article by New York Times’ Michael Luo that set off this meretricious commentary on guns looks like to have been a smear too far. After all, it wasn’t “intense pressure” the gun lobby that killed Obama’s anti-gun agenda. It was white middle-class women, who liked their Second Amendment rights to be left untouched by big government.
Normally, the people who cover the media industry try studiously to avoid mentioning the very obvious fact that America's elite journalists are overwhelmingly liberal and that one can discern this by reviewing their output. This is a logical response considering that said reporters probably do not wish to antagonize potential sources. It's hard to report on the media if no one in the media will speak to you.
In the case of the recent journalist meltdown over gun control, the bias was so overwhelming, even Politico's cautious media reporter Dylan Byers had to admit the obvious:
National Public Radio’s brand is soothing and civil news and interviews. That certainly didn’t fit when Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy was interviewed Thursday on All Things Considered after the gun-control measures were rejected in the Senate.
Anchor Melissa Block read back to Malloy his comments that gun makers don’t care if mentally deranged people buy their guns. He not only doubled down on that, calling the NRA a “monster,” but when asked what it will take to pass gun control, he suggested Sen. Chuck Grassley might need a mass-shooting in Iowa, or one in Alabama or Mississippi. Civility went out the window on the evening commute.
President Obama suffered a large, embarrassing loss in the Senate on a slew of gun-control bills. If this were a Republican president, they’d be sounding the lame-duck alarms on the nightly newscasts. But most media outlets can’t do this. They were fully invested in this campaign alongside Obama, and to underscore his weakness is to acknowledge their own.
Since mid-December, the broadcast networks and cable news hosts like Piers Morgan and Joe Scarborough have relentlessly lobbied for gun control. On how many occasions did they completely shred the notion of objectivity -- of journalism itself -- and boldly engage in lobbying for gun control, using their networks as megaphones? Let’s consider a few recent moments.
While discussing the ongoing manhunt for the second suspect behind the bombing of the Boston Marathon, Chris Wallace -- the host of Fox News Sunday -- linked the Monday terrorist attack with the debate on gun rights currently going on across the country.
Pointing to the fact that most of the region is in a tight lockdown due to the search for 26-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Wallace asked how many people in the area “do you think, might like a gun to be able to protect themselves and defend their homes?”
For President Obama, this week delivered a painful double blow, with the Senate defeating his emotional campaign to pass tougher gun legislation and a pair of crude bombs at the Boston Marathon bringing terrorism back to American soil.
It was more painful to the victims of the blast in Boston, but Landler focused solely on how it made the president feel for the Senate to refuse to "break from the past on gun laws."
As NewsBusters reported last week, the CEO and editor-at-large of Foreign Policy magazine claimed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as a result of his position on gun control legislation, is "more dangerous to America" than North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
On Thursday, Daniel Altman, a Foreign Policycontributor as well as an adjunct associate professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, tweeted, "This is in no way an incitement to violence, but, given Rob Portman's example, does Mitch McConnell have to get shot to support gun control?"
Brian Stelter, media reporter for the New York Times, foisted his peculiar news judgment on Fox News, weighing President Obama's petulant remarks after the defeat of his gun control plans as more newsworthy than a fire at a Texas fertilizer plant that has killed at least 12 people and injured up to 200.
When it comes to the failure of the Democratic gun control package in the U.S. Senate earlier this week, "[t]he media [have been] amplifying... with less subtlety" President Obama's gripes about the power of the NRA and a minority in the Senate supposedly scuttling the will of the American people on background checks, the Wall Street Journal editorial board noted today. But the truth of the matter, the board explained, is that Democrats have only themselves, and more specifically President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to blame.
The Journal editorial board explained how "[t]he White House demanded, and Mr. Reid agreed, that Congress should try to pass the [Manchin-Toomey background check] amendment without" the benefit of 30 hours of floor debate which "would have meant inspecting the details" of the legislation and "opened up the bill to pro-gun amendments that were likely to pass." A simple majority was needed for such a debate, the Journal notes, a threshold they could have cleared as Reid had 54 votes for his cloture motion. So why did Reid not go that route? Because it would "have boxed Mr. Reid into the embarrassing spectacle of having to later scotch a final bill because it also contained provisions that the White House loathes," the Journal argued, adding (emphases mine):
Proving once again that MSNBC is less of a cable news channel and more of a platform for liberal activism, the “Morning Joe” crew today lashed out at members of the U.S. Senate who decided to vote against a gun bill backed by President Obama.
Taking his cue from the fiery and petulant speech the president delivered yesterday, self-described conservative Republican Joe Scarborough lashed out at the “pathetic” vote. His co-host Mika Brzezinski was even more hateful, repeatedly denouncing the senators who voted to support the NRA’s position on the bill as “cowards.” She then ordered producers for the show to put the names and faces of these senators on wanted-style posters in attempt to anger viewers against them.
With the monumental collapse of the president’s anti-gun agenda, many are wondering if both sides will “go back into their corners” on gun control. Every single measure in this new bill failed, which elicited the wrath of the president yesterday in the Rose Garden. During the April 17 broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill asked why these measures failed to pass, mentioned the popularity of background checks, and failed to press Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on past statements about how this bill really wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook ergo more mass shootings.
In fairness, Ifill also had Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Conneticut, on the program to discuss the failed bill. While he said his organization supported some of the amendments in the bill, they couldn’t back it due to the background check provision, noting it would have harmed gun sellers who rely heavily on weekend sales, when most customers come to their stores [emphasis mine]:
This week, the Senate voted down the proposed Manchin-Toomey gun control bill that would have expanded background checks for potential gun buyers. Somewhere in Los Angeles, Tavis Smiley is cleaning up the mess he made.
On his PBS talk show two days before the Senate vote, Smiley was grilling socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about the likelihood that gun control legislation would pass. Sanders told Smiley, “I think we stand a reasonable chance to at least pass legislation greatly expanding background checks.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes devoting a segment to fretting over what he viewed as a "bizarre and perverse mismatch" at the country's willingness to act aggressively in response to deaths from terrorist acts, but the difficulty to get a response to the many gun deaths. He also described the 30,000 people who die from gun shots each year as "martyrs on the altar of the Second Amendment," as he complained of a double standard.
The MSNBC host teased the segment at about 8:11 p.m.:
Following gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News that evening by proclaiming: "There are cries of 'shame' from victims of gun violence watching from the Senate gallery and the President reacts with anger." Williams later touted how Obama "called it 'a pretty shameful day for Washington'" when ranting about the loss from the Rose Garden that afternoon. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell portrayed opponents of gun restrictions as unsympathetic to shooting victims: "...many of those Newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks....Patricia Maisch, [a] Tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, 'Shame on you!'" A sound bite was included of Maisch condemning senators who voted against the bill: "They have no souls. They have no compassion."
CBS lined up gun control supporters on Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's CBS This Morning. Chip Reid and Major Garrett played 11 soundbites from President Obama and other Democrats, as well as family members of the Newtown massacre victims. The only gun rights supporter that the two correspondents could find was Chuck Grassley. Reid played two clips from the Republican senator during his reports.
Reid led his second report by hyping how "forces opposed to gun control proved that they are still in control here in Washington". Garrett sounded like a stenographer for the White House as he reported on the "somber and frustrated" President's press conference after the Senate votes.
The New York Times led Thursday's edition with the Senate defeat of President Obama's gun control proposals in a series of procedural votes, including one on expanding background checks that Democrats had hoped would pass. The front page featured a photo of an angry Obama in the Rose Garden after his quest for more gun control laws in the wake of Sandy Hook came up short: "Gun Control Drive Blocked In Senate; Obama, In Defeat, Sees 'Shameful Day.'"
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday parroted Barack Obama's anger over the failure of his gun control bill, touting the President's rage over this "shameful day." On World News and Good Morning America, reporter Jon Karl featured no pro-Second Amendment voices. Diane Sawyer trumpeted, "Tonight, outrage from the families of the victims of gun violence."
On Thursday, Good Morning America's Amy Robach reminded, "[Obama] called it a shameful day in Washington and vowed to keep fighting." Karl even misrepresented the legislation: "It would have expand background checks to all purchases at gun shows and online. They're now only required for guns bought at gun dealers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] But most guns bought at a gun show are from dealers– dealers who require a background check. Additionally, the notion promoted by liberals that 40 percent of gun purchases are done privately is based on a 1997 phone survey. It's a "grossly exaggerated statistic," according to the Heritage Foundation.
Oh irony, oh hypocrisy! Joe Scarborough opened today's Morning Joe by singing the praises of NBC's Pete Williams for not jumping onto the story that other news outlets were reporting yesterday that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing. Scarborough condemned journalists "far more interested in getting it first than getting it right."
But mere minutes later, Scarborough rushed to accuse former Republican congressman Chris Cox of "lying" in his role as NRA spokesman, and said he was ashamed of him. If Scarborough had taken a moment to research the matter and get it right, he would have realized he had the wrong Chris Cox. The NRA spokesman is not the former congressman. Scarborough grudgingly admitted his mistake about an hour later in the show. View the video after the jump.