MSNBC on Monday repeatedly promoted Barack Obama as a pro-Second Amendment President and chastised gun-rights activists for "worrying" so much over this issue. News Live host Monica Novotny talked to Skip Coryell, the founder of the Second Amendment march on Washington and complained, "What are you guys worried about?
She then touted, "Our political unit today was reminding us in the First Read that President Obama has expanded gun rights more than any other Democratic President when he signed legislation that, among other things, allows people to carry weapons in national parks." Host Tamron Hall repeated the talking point in the 11am hour.
MSNBC colleague Norah O'Donnell condescendingly hit the same idea in a Tweet: "irony [sic] of the men-with-guns protests in DC: Obama has expanded gun rights more than other recent Dem president." Of course, Obama also appointed the extremely anti-gun Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme court. Another nominee hostile to the Second Amendment may be coming soon. Candidate Obama famously chastised "bitter" Americans for "clinging" to their guns.
In 2009, the President's Attorney General, Eric Holder, raised the possibility of reinstating the assault weapons ban. So, to portray Obama as some sort of NRA clone is disingenuous.
Both hosts also tried to link the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to the peaceful rallies in Washington and Virginia. Novotny fretted, "I want to start with the day. You chose the day as the anniversary of the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord. But realizing that this is a seminal day now marking Oklahoma City and Waco, for that matter, did you consider changing it?" She added, "Did you understand how some people are turned off by that?"
Hall talked to Liz Foley, the march's media director. After mentioning Oklahoma City, she derided, "Right now the rhetoric in this country is so intense and the possibility of violence so much of a reality that this is just not the right time when we're honoring Americans who lost their lives 15 years ago."
If MSNBC doesn't want to sound like the mouthpiece for the liberal agenda, perhaps the network's hosts should do a better job of varying their talking points.
A transcript of the first segment and a partial transcript of the second one, both of which aired on April 19, follow:
MONICA NOVOTNY: As we mentioned earlier, gun rights advocates are gathering in the nation's capital today to stand up for their rights to bear arms. But, today's protest are not just about the right to bear arms. Skip Coryell is the founder of the Second Amendment march. And as we mentioned, there are no guns at this rally. Washington D.C. doesn't allow for the carrying firearms. Skip, great to have you. I want to start with the day. You chose the day as the anniversary of the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord. But realizing that this is a seminal day now marking Oklahoma City and Waco, for that matter, did you consider changing it? Did you understand how some people are turned off by that?
SKIP CORYELL (Founder, Second Amendment March): When I chose that day, I really didn't realize it was the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. We thought about that but, in the end, decided to keep it on April 19th primarily because that's a very, very important day. I mean, this is the 235th anniversary of Lexington/Concord. And, you know, I don't think we should stop celebrating patriotism just because some jerk, some murderer, went nuts and started killing some people. So, I decided to keep it on April 19th.
NOVOTNY: Let me ask you this, then, back to what you guys are out there for today. What are you guys worried about? Our political unit today was reminding us in the First Read that President Obama has expanded gun rights more than any other Democratic President when he signed legislation that, among other things, allows people to carry weapons in national parks. So, shouldn't you guys be celebrating today?
CORYELL: Sure, actually we are celebrating today. I've got a lot of people behind me celebrating. I get that question all the time. And the thing is, this event and all the Second Amendment activist movement is not just about protecting the rights we already have, it's about getting back all of the rights we've already lost. We've got over 20,000 gun laws here in the United States and we don't need all those gun laws. A lot of them infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. So, this is about an upgrade. And it's not a Democrat-Republican things. Republican will tyrannize you just as much as Democrats will. So, I'm a non-partisan person. I'm neither Democrat, nor Republican. I'm independent.
NOVOTNY: Let me ask you about some new polling that's out today. Only one in five Americans, it turns out right now, trust the government. And your rally is not one of them. But, we are seeing more open carry rallies spreading across the country. Do you see a link?
CORYELL: Yeah, I really do. I'm sensing a tone, tenor all across the country, and I think it's a healthy thing. Our founding fathers, they told us, they warned us about government. It's not just government, it's big government. When government gets too big, it controls your life. It invades every aspect of your life, along with that the right to keep and bear arms. So, you know, us American people, grassroots ordinary people, doctors, lawyers, farmers everywhere across the country, we need to have a healthy distrust of our government to hold them accountable.
TAMRON HALL: What about those who say- And I know that your organization says the timing is the result of Lexington and Concord. But, you've got people in Oklahoma City mourning the loss of 168 Americans, 600 others who were injured. And they believe that this is just the wrong time. Right now the rhetoric in this country is so intense and the possibility of violence so much of a reality that this is just not the right time when we're honoring Americans who lost their lives 15 years ago.
HALL: Well, let me ask you this. Because, our First Read political team noted it was President Obama who expanded gun rights more than any other Democratic president when he signed legislation into law that among things allows people like yourself to carry a handgun at national parks. What do you say to that, Liz?
LIZ FOLEY (Media Director): I think that was a great thing to do. Proud of that. However, I think you have to be careful for what happens on the forefront that should have already been in place to what's happening behind the scenes. And I think we all need to pay very close attention to any conversations that folks are having with the U.N. I think we need to watch at the state, the local level. I mean, hear in D.C., you know, we've got Dick Heller here from the Supreme Court case. He's back in court because there are still too many restrictions in the nation's capital.