CBS Lines Up Pro-Gun Control Liberals; Lets Only One Gun Rights Advocate Speak

Bill Plante slanted four-to-one in favor of gun control on Monday's CBS This Morning as he reported on congressional Democrats' efforts to introduce new firearms regulations. Plante played soundbites from Senator Dianne Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, and President Barack Obama. His sole pro-gun rights talking head was Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who came only after the clips from the liberals were played in succession.

Despite Obama's recent hint towards supporting more gun control laws, in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Plante's clip of Obama came from a 2008 campaign rally where the then-senator tried to reassure gun owners.

Anchor Norah O'Donnell introduced the CBS correspondent's report by spotlighting how "there have been several high-profile mass shootings just this year, and none of them have led to any changes in the nation's gun laws." She added that the President stated that "'we surely have an obligation to try and prevent future tragedies.' Some Democrats on Capitol Hill are saying that means stronger gun laws."

Bill Plante, CBS News Correspondent; Screen Cap From 17 December 2012 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgPlante first outlined that "there was a federal assault ban on assault weapons, and that expired in 2004. Congress has resisted any moves to bring it back, or to put any other kind of curbs on firearms." His pro-gun control bias then quickly emerged: "But today, the question, obviously, is posed very starkly: does this tragedy, with the deaths of 20 children, spur some action? Could this time be different?"

The journalist let Rep. McCarthy, a staunch gun control supporter, answer his question, after playing a clip of Senator Feinstein announcing her intent to reintroduce an assault weapons ban. Plante failed to explicitly point out this political stance from the Democrat. Instead, he merely identified her as a "New York congresswoman who lost her husband in a mass shooting in 1993":

PLANTE (voice-over): For some Democrats, Friday's shooting has inspired a new push to bring back the ban on assault weapons - a bill that would restrict the sale of guns, like the one used in the Newtown massacre.

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY, (D), NEW YORK: I do believe this is a different time. I'm not going to say it's easy. It will not be easy.

The CBS correspondent continued by highlighting that President Obama "said last night he would use all the power of his office to prevent a repeat of the tragedies like the Newtown massacre. The President supports renewing the ban on assault weapons, but he ignored the gun control issue in his first term. And when he ran for president...he tried to reassure gun owners."

After playing the 2008 clip from the chief executive, Plante set up the Gohmert soundbite by lamenting that "gun control advocates are outnumbered in Congress. Texas Representative Louie Gohmert argued Sunday that more guns are needed to prevent such tragedies - even inside a school principal's office." He soon added that "the politics of gun control are toxic. Gun rights groups, like the National Rifle Association, wield tremendous influence."

The journalist ended the report with two clips from Paul Barrett of Bloomberg Business. Barrett exposed his liberal bias on the debate over man-made climate change in a November 2012 article, but his position on guns is more nuanced. In a July 2012 interview with the far-left Democracy Now program, the author stated, "I think you have just to come at it from a completely different angle...[which] has to be crime control...not allowing the discussion to be immediately hijacked and sent off into a Second Amendment debate....stop talking about the guns. Talk about crime. Talk about people getting shot and how you stop that."

Over two weeks earlier, on November 30, 2012, CBS This Morning promoted liberal comedian Stephen Colbert's stereotyping of gun owners as he made fun of a proposed gun dorm at the University of Colorado.

The full transcript of Bill Plante's report on Monday's CBS This Morning:


NORAH O'DONNELL: There have been several high-profile mass shootings just this year, and none of them have led to any changes in the nation's gun laws. Last night, here in Newtown, President Obama said – quote, 'We surely have an obligation to try and prevent future tragedies.' Some Democrats on Capitol Hill are saying that means stronger gun laws.

Bill Plante is at the White House this morning. Bill, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Politics Of Gun Control: Massacre Renews Calls For Stronger Laws"]

BILL PLANTE: Good morning to you, Norah. Well, there was a federal assault ban on weapons – on assault weapons, and that expired in 2004. Congress has resisted any moves to bring it back, or to put any other kind of curbs on firearms. But today, the question, obviously, is posed very starkly: does this tragedy, with the deaths of 20 children, spur some action? Could this time be different?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D), CALIFORNIA (from NBC's "Meet the Press"): I'm going to introduce in the Senate - and the same bill will be introduced in the House - a bill to ban assault weapons.

PLANTE (voice-over): For some Democrats, Friday's shooting has inspired a new push to bring back the ban on assault weapons - a bill that would restrict the sale of guns, like the one used in the Newtown massacre.

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY, (D), NEW YORK: I do believe this is a different time. I'm not going to say it's easy. It will not be easy.

PLANTE: Carolyn McCarthy is a New York congresswoman who lost her husband in a mass shooting in 1993.

MCCARTHY: This is where the American people are going to have to be outraged again.

PLANTE: President Obama said last night he would use all the power of his office to prevent a repeat of the tragedies like the Newtown massacre. The President supports renewing the ban on assault weapons, but he ignored the gun control issue in his first term. And when he ran for president in 2008, he tried to reassure gun owners.

BARACK OBAMA (from September 9, 2008 campaign rally): I am not going to take your guns away. So, if you want to find an excuse not to vote for me, don't use that one, because that's just ain't true. (audience applauds)

PLANTE: Gun control advocates are outnumbered in Congress. Texas Representative Louie Gohmert argued Sunday that more guns are needed to prevent such tragedies - even inside a school principal's office.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R), TEXAS (from Fox's "Fox News Sunday"): I wish to God she had had a M-4 in her office locked up, so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands.

PLANTE: The politics of gun control are toxic. Gun rights groups, like the National Rifle Association, wield tremendous influence.

PAUL BARRETT, AUTHOR, "GLOCK: THE RISE OF AMERICA'S GUN": It's a very skillful lobbying organization.

PLANTE: Paul Barrett has reported on Washington's powerful gun lobby in his book, 'Glock: The Rise of America's Gun'. He says that despite the fact that Americans are about equally divided on gun rights versus gun control, this massacre is no more likely to put limits on firearms than any previous one.

BARRETT: It's almost impossible to imagine them taking on the NRA and defying the NRA. And that being the case, I just think that it's very, very unlikely, as a pragmatic political matter, for – for anything to be enacted.

PLANTE (on-camera): But there is going to be a push for action in Congress. Tomorrow, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, named for President Reagan's press secretary who was shot in the assassination attempt on the President – the Brady Campaign plans to bring survivors and victim families from the shootings in Aurora, Colorado; Virginia Tech; and Columbine to Capitol Hill. Charlie?

CHARLIE ROSE: Bill Plante, thanks.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center