ABC reporters over the weekend huffed that the National Rifle Association took a "victory lap" and sneered that the gun group was "using" the Boston bombing at their recent convention. Reporter Reena Ninan on Sunday chided, "NRA leaders found a way to use the recent bombings in Boston, even shooting tragedies, to expand support for their organization."
On Monday's Good Morning America, correspondent Jon Karl worried, "When it comes to guns, don't expect this crowd to give in on anything." He then parroted Ninan, insisting that the NRA "even invoked the manhunt for the Boston bombers." What Vice President Wayne LaPierre actually said in reference to Boston was this:
"How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago? How many other Americans now ponder that life-or-death question?" Is it really that odd for a gun rights group to suggest that owning a gun, when your city is locked down and terrorists are on the loose, might be a good idea?
In a nasty move, an ABC graphic on Sunday's GMA read, "NRA & 'VICTIMS' Clash." Ninan didn't explain the use of quote marks over the word "victims," implying that the NRA is slamming Newtown victims. Ninan only offered: "So a new tactic was used this weekend by victims of gun violence and their survivors. They confronted NRA members at their own convention."
On Saturday's GMA, Dan Harris opened a segment by opining, "It has been described as part political rally, part trade show, part victory lap."
ABC, to its credit, often included a number of pro-gun talking heads in its coverage. For example, Jeff Zeleny featured LaPierre announcing, "We will never back away from our resolve to defend our rights and the rights of all law-abiding American gun owners."
But he also buried important information. On Saturday's GMA, Zeleny noted that Senate Democrats are considering bringing gun control back up for another votes. It wasn't until the end of his segment that he allowed, "It's an open question if any votes have changed or the outcome will be any different."
A transcript of the May 5 GMA segment is below:
NRA & 'VICTIMS' Clash: John Wayne Used for Gun Lobby
BIANA GOLODRYGA: We're going to turn back home now to new ammunition in the red-hot gun control debate. The head of the NRA saying the gun lobby is ready for a long war. At the convention in Houston, the question was asked, how many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago? ABC's Reena Ninan has more on this story from Washington. Good morning, Reena.
REENA NINAN: Good morning to you, Bianna. NRA leaders found a way to use the recent bombings in Boston, even shooting tragedies, to expand support for their organization. They say their membership has increased by one million since the Newtown shooting in December, rising to a total of 5 million members, a number they want to double. (Voiceover) It was an attempt to recast the gun control debate.
GLENN BECK: Let us now start the conversation about responsibility.
NINAN: And explain the importance of owning a firearm.
BECK: Guns save lives. Guns protect our mothers, our wives, our daughters, our children.
NINAN: Sentiments matched with a bit more color by NRA members in attendance.
JOHN FAFOUTAKIS, NRA member: To all those gun-grabbers in Washington, fill your hand you son of a [ bleep ].
NINAN: Borrowing from Hollywood.
JOHN WAYNE: Fill your hand you son of a [ bleep ].
NINAN: Targeting criticism at President Obama's efforts to reform gun control laws.
JIM PORTER (NRA President-elect): You know Obama is meeting and plotting with the who's who of the gun ban movement.
NINAN: And New York Mayor Bloomberg's over $10 million investment to help keep illegal guns off the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And we will never be scared of a billionaire.
NINAN: For the White House, using the innocent children of Newtown, even the voices of their grieving parents--
NEWTOWN PARENT: And all I can remember is that awful day.
NINAN: --was a strategy that failed in the fight for background checks.
JOE BIDEN: The amendment is not agreed to.
NINAN: So a new tactic was used this weekend by victims of gun violence and their survivors. They confronted NRA members at their own convention. Despite the defeat in the Senate, White House officials insist gun control legislation will happen, citing that a majority of Americans support it. The White House is even looking into how President Obama might be able to order action without congressional approval. Dan and Bianna?
DAN HARRIS: The rhetoric this weekend quite striking. Reena, thank you. For more on all of this, let's bring in George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hey, guys.
HARRIS: George, good morning. Wayne LaPierre told the NRA, quote, we are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation fight for everything we care about. Are NRA members really right to be scared? Are there more battles brewing, or is this sort of red meat?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they're winning right now. They’re winning – they've won all the battles they’ve fought this year so far. But as Reena pointed out, I think the president is committed to trying to get this background check bill back before the Senate this year. Vice President Biden is committed to it. And the lead proponent in the Senate, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, says there might be some tweaks to the bill that can get some more support. And we've seen it, as well. Some of those senators who voted against the background checks are under tremendous pressure right now, including Democrats, who could face a primary. So I think you're going to see another vote in the Senate this year. But in the House, NRA still very strong. I do not see this becoming law this year.