ABC on Tuesday began a multi-show push to promote the gun control crusade of Gabby Giffords and her husband. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos kicked off the program by trumpeting, " The most famous face affected by gun violence fights back. Gabby Giffords announcing direct action against gun warfare in America." (Gun warfare? As of 2012, crime is at a 20 year low in America. The murder rate has dropped by almost half.)
More of Diane Sawyer's interview with Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly will air on the January 8 World News and January 9 Nightline. Giffords, who was grievously injured in a 2011 shooting in Arizona, only uttered two words during the morning segment. Stephanopoulos narrated, explaining that the couple is starting a "campaign for responsible changes to gun laws." He added that they will be "working with politicians to take high-powered gun lobbyists head-on." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Even though ABC billed the Giffords interview as an "exclusive," the former congresswoman's efforts were touted on CBS This Morning and Today, as well as on CNN.
On Today, Natalie Morales made sure to point out that "a Connecticut lawmaker is apologizing for posting on Facebook that Giffords should, quote, 'stay out of my town!'" (Giffords went to Connecticut to visit victims of the Newtown shooting.)
ABC's aggressive push shouldn't be surprising as the network has long pushed gun control. A 2000 study by the Media Research Center's Geoff Dickens found:
Morning News Shows Favored the Anti-Gun Position by 13 to 1. More than half of morning news gun policy segments (208) tilted away from balance. Of those segments, 93 percent (193) pushed the liberal, anti-gun position, while only six percent (15) promoted the pro-gun position. ABC’s Good Morning America (92 to 1) was the most biased morning show.
A transcript of the January 8 GMA segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And breaking this morning, a new front in the gun battle. The most famous face affected by gun violence fights back. Gabby Giffords announcing direct action against gun warfare in America. She talks to Diane Sawyer in an ABC News exclusive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We begin with breaking news from Gabby Giffords. Two years ago today, she was shot with so many others in a Tucson parking lot. Since then, there have been 11 mass shootings in America, including the tragedy in Newtown so fresh in our minds. After visiting the families, Gabby and her husband Mark Kelly sat down for an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer to announce a new national initiative, to prevent gun violence.
DIANE SAWYER: We saw you in Newtown. How was Newtown?
GABBY GIFFORDS: Tough.
MARK KELLY: It brought back a lot of memories about that was like for us some two years ago today. And you hope that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. But you know what? It does happen again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Gabby Giffords, somber, yet resilient. Opening up for the first time about the horror at Sandy Hook elementary school. She and husband, Mark Kelly, spent a day with some of the victims' families.
MARK KELLY: The first couple we spoke to, the dad took out his cell phone and showed us a picture of his daughter. And I just about lost it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The couple told Diane that Newtown was their turning point.
KELLY: I have a gun. Gabby and I are both gun owners. We are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. But we have to do something to keep the guns from getting in to the wrong hands.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And this morning, on the two-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, they plan to do something about it, announcing their campaign for responsible changes to gun laws. Working with politicians to take high-powered gun lobbyists head-on. They hope to engage the nation in a real discussion about preventing gun violence.
SAWYER: When it can happen to children in a classroom, it's time to say--
STEPHANOPOULOS: And they are taking this nationwide. Also on the cover of USA Today this morning. And, of course, everyone can see more of Diane's exclusive interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on World News and Nightline.