It seems apparent that NBC is following orders from The White House to continue to argue for stricter gun control in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Appearing on Thursday morning's Today, NBC’s White House Correspondent Kristen Welker continued to peddle The White House message to “pledge action to prevent such a massacre from every happening again.”
Welker provided a one-sided segment in favor of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s new gun control task force. The segment was peppered with gun control advocates and White House talking points, with only one pro-gun quote sited throughout the entire segment.
Welker pushed for greater gun control by going into great detail the specifics of the President’s task force, commenting that:
Some of the ideas Mr. Obama mentioned Wednesday, making it easier to access mental health services, changing this country's culture of violence and possibly new legislation, like stopping private gun sales without background checks, limiting high capacity clips, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons which expired in 2004.
Welker concluded the White House narrative, arguing that:
Right now, Mr. Obama has public opinion on his side even with some pro gun Democratic Senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner signaling a new openness to stiffer laws. Still, there is opposition spelled out in an internet webcast hosted by the National Rifle Association.
See relevant transcript below.
December 20, 2012
7:09 a.m. EST
DAVID GREGORY: And the political response to the Newtown massacre is ramping up as well. Vice President Joe Biden now tasked by the president with finding ways to curb gun violence in the wake of that shooting. He begins his work today. NBC’s White House Correspondent Kristen Welker has more from The White House this morning. Good morning to you Kristen.
KRISTEN WELKER: David good morning to you. That’s right Vice President Biden will meet with law enforcement officials from all across the country to get their input. In the coming days he will meet with education officials, mental health professionals as well as mayors and governors. In the meantime, Newtown, Connecticut prepares for yet another day of mourning. As Newtown says good-bye to six more victims today, President Obama has pledged action to prevent such a massacre from ever happening again.
BARACK OBAMA: It won't be easy but that can't be an excuse not to try.
WELKER: On Wednesday, Mr. Obama announced Vice President Biden will lead a task force aimed at formulating concrete proposals by January to crack down on gun violence. Now a central focus of his second term.
OBAMA: That conversation has to continue but this time, the words need to lead to action.
WELKER: But action has been elusive. During President Obama's first term, he has visited four communities devastated by mass shootings and has called for stiffer gun laws in the past but never pushed for new legislation.
JAKE TAPPER: Where have you been?
OBAMA: I've been President of the United States dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." I don't think I've been on vacation.
WELKER: Some of the ideas Mr. Obama mentioned Wednesday, making it easier to access mental health services, changing this country's culture of violence and possibly new legislation, like stopping private gun sales without background checks, limiting high capacity clips, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons which expired in 2004.
OBAMA: I asked Joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 crime bill.
WELKER: A long time advocate of stiffer gun laws, the Vice President was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and helped pass the initial ban on assault weapons nearly two decades ago.
JOE BIDEN: We must address this problem now.
WELKER: Right now, Mr. Obama has public opinion on his side even with some pro gun Democratic Senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner signaling a new openness to stiffer laws. Still, there is opposition spelled out in an internet webcast hosted by the National Rifle Association.
GINNY SIMONE: These gun-free zones are not the answer.
WELKER: Gun policy experts says enacting tougher laws will still be a challenge but if there is quick action not impossible.
DANIEL WEBSTER: It certainly will be an uphill battle. You never underestimate the power of the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby. But I think we're at a different moment in time now.
WELKER: Now President Obama has vowed to address the ideas during his State of the Union address. White House officials tell me they will likely include a series of both executive actions as well as legislative proposals. Gun advocates say that part of the solution is just better enforcing the laws that are already on the books. The National Rifle Association plans to hold its first news conference on this tragedy tomorrow.