Advocacy, Not Journalism: 13 CNN Guests Want More Gun Control, Only 2 Argue to the Contrary

Commemorating the one month anniversary of the Newtown shooting, CNN stacked its Monday line-up with gun control advocates and Democratic politicians.

Over the course of the entire day, CNN interviewed guests about the gun issue. 13 guests were gun control advocates, including five Democratic politicians. Only two Republican guests went on to oppose further gun control measures or defend the NRA's proposal for armed guards in schools.

And CNN host Piers Morgan himself pushed for stricter gun laws. "I'm in favor of a nationwide ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. I want to close the gun show loopholes and require private dealers to run background checks on all buyers at gun shows," he announced at the beginning of his show.

As NewsBusters reported yesterday, eight of the nine guests CNN hosted to talk about guns between the 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. news hours were in favor of more gun control.

Then, beginning with the 4 p.m. hour of The Situation Room and continuing through the 9 p.m. hour of Piers Morgan Tonight, fiveof the eight guests interviewed about guns wanted stricter gun laws. Only one guest stood by the gun lobby; former GOP congressman Asa Hutchinson defended the NRA's proposal for armed guards in schools.

Of the five pro-gun control guests, one was the father of a Newtown shooting victim, another was the host of America's Most Wanted, another was the husband of former Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the other two were Democratic politicians.

For instance, Neil Heslin, whose son died in the Newtown shooting, told CNN's Piers Morgan:

"I think there should be stricter gun control. I'm not in favor of banning weapons or guns, but I'm definitely in favor of much more stricter background checks, regulations for gun owners. As for the assault rifles or the Bushmaster military-style rifle, I really can't see why somebody would need to own a weapon like that."

John Walsh, host of the show America's Most Wanted, told Morgan: "No one is ever going to take my guns away. There is no dictator. There is no foreign country that is going to take over America and take our guns away. This is reasonable, thoughtful – the ban on assault weapons is a reasonable start."

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy (D) pushed for an assault weapons ban on Anderson Cooper 360: "[W]e have to have an assault weapons ban that works, and has a broad definition so manufacturers don't sneak things by them."

He added that "Almost everybody in their right mind agrees that you should have a background check to buy a firearm. Almost everybody in this country within their right minds agrees that we shouldn't have 30-magazine clips."

Mark Kelly, husband of former Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, wanted a "universal background check" and pushed against access to "high-capacity magazines" and "assault weapons."

When Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D) appeared on The Situation Room, co-anchor Kate Bolduan described his list of proposals: "It almost looks like a wish list for a national change to gun laws. As Joe was listing out, background checks, tightening background checks, an assault weapons ban, ban on high capacity magazines."

Two other guests did not openly make the case for gun control, including Hollywood actor Rob Lowe who personally approved of an assault weapons ban but added that "I do think that the last thing viewers want is another Hollywood actor telling them anything about guns pro or con."

In addition, CNN hosted two roundtable segments on guns or the state of gun laws. Erin Burnett OutFront included conservative Erick Erickson of RedState.com, former Obama administration official Rosa Brooks, and CNN legal contributor Paul Callan. A 10 a.m. EST CNN Newsroom panel featured Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and GOP strategist Alex Castellanos.

CNN also cut in to anti-gun Mayor Bloomberg's address at a summit on gun violence at Johns Hopkins University on Monday. CNN aired over two minutes of his speech.

Other guests were brought on to talk about multiple issues and were asked about gun control. For instance, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) told CNN that "we need an assault weapons ban. We need to ban high-capacity magazines. We need universal background checks."

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014