Airing hours after the midnight mass murder in Aurora, Colorado, MSNBC's Alex Wagner was bound to devote her program to the tragic breaking news. However, unlike other journalists, Wagner used the event as a platform for extensive commentary on the politics of the gun control debate and America's "culture of violence." Wagner, an alumna of the liberal Center for American Progress, has suggested she would favor repealing the 2nd Amendment. Back in February, after a school shooting, she bemoaned the lack of traction that gun control advocates have in pushing for more gun restrictions.
MSNBC colleague and liberal pundit Chris Hayes was the first to jump on the anti-gun bandwagon, and bizarrely focused on suicide instead of the Aurora tragedy. Hayes argued that, "the availability of a gun makes suicide fatality far more likely" even though, it "doesn't make the impulse to do it more likely," ignoring the fact that suicide has nothing to do with the events of last evening.
The conversation then shifted to the National Rifle Association (NRA), with Patricia Murphy condemning its power and popularity in states "where guns are used recreational," and highlighting that even "Democrats in those states do not vote for gun control measures." Dan Gross, the President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, agreed, saying that "the gun lobby is going to wield far too much power over our politicians" and urged the American people to "do the right thing." The fact that his idea of the "right thing" and the opinion of a majority of Americans is different, appears to of little consequence to Gross, or to Wagner, who failed to bring an explicitly pro-gun rights talking head on the program, even as she gave a platform to a gun control lobbyist.
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell (D) also made an appearance on the program to bash the NRA, which could be seen as strange and offensive to many of his former constituents since Pennsylvania has the second highest number of NRA members in the nation, after Texas. But Rendell strangely offered an explanation for the Keystone State's high number of NRA members, claiming that most people in the NRA don't, "believe everything that the NRA stands for" and instead proposed that "a lot of people" joined the organization "because they want the magazine...they want the discounts."
Rendell then launched into an attack on people who oppose the one-gun-a-month rule, saying that the law stops "the straw purchaser who walks into every gun store in Cleveland and in Pittsburgh and in Erie and buys 15 semi-automatic Smith & Wesson " then sells them "to felons and juveniles who can't buy guns lawfully" to "make 200% profit."
Later, he says that people "should start using common sense" about guns, since "no one would contend that a citizen should be allowed to buy a nuclear rocket launcher."
Yes, he really said "nuclear rocket launcher" although they only exist in Ed Rendell's imagination. That and the idea that someone would pay three times the retail store price for a handgun off the street.
No Second Amendment advocate was featured on the program, and no new facts or evidence about the shooting were uncovered. Instead, Wagner, who is on the record as favoring repealing the 2nd Amendment, decided to turn this tragedy into a opportunity to launch its own liberal agenda.