On Friday's CBS This Morning, Bill Plante refreshingly spotlighted how firearms are used to protect the lives of ordinary Americans. Plante noted how the National Rifle Association "Tweeted a story...about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet....She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun."
The two other Big Three morning shows failed to mention this story during their coverage of the current gun control debate. ABC's GMA actually minimized the air time they devoted to the issue. News anchor Dan Harris gave just one news brief to the next meeting of Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force:
DAN HARRIS: Vice President Biden will be talking about gun violence today with executives from the video game industry. This comes after a day of a seemingly unsuccessful meeting with the National Rifle Association. NRA executives left the White House and declared Biden's task force is – quote, "talking about feel-good measures that won't stop gun violence but would violate the Second Amendment."
NBC's Today did bring on NRA President David Keene, but anchor Matt Lauer wondered if his organization's influence was on the wane after the Connecticut mass shooting: "People talk about the power of the NRA. They look at it almost, you know, in monumental terms. Do you think in the wake of these shootings that power has been eroded at all, Mr. Keene?"
CBS anchor Charlie Rose introduced Plante's report by hyping how "the National Rifle Association is furious with the White House this morning. NRA officials met with Vice President Joe Biden's gun control task force yesterday, and they say no one wanted to listen to them."
The veteran correspondent then noted that the "task force, until now, has been hearing from people who want more gun controls. And yesterday, it reached out to gun owners and to the National Rifle Association...The head of the [NRA] described his group's meeting with Vice President Biden as disappointing, saying that most of the talk focused on restricting the rights of legal gun owners."
Plante's reporting on Melissa Herman's act of self-defense against a burglar came later in the segment:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1 (from 9-1-1 call): Just remember everything that I showed you – everything that I taught you, all right?
BILL PLANTE: In an effort to counter the backlash from Newtown, the NRA Tweeted a story this week about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet. Her husband coached her on the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: If he opens that door, you shoot – you shoot him, you understand?
PLANTE: She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Shoot him again! Shoot him!
PLANTE: The intruder was not hospitalized. The woman and her two children were not harmed. The NRA accuses the White House of targeting people like the Hermans. The group says it will now turn to Congress to fight every item of the President's agenda.
Though the CBS correspondent earlier pointed out how Biden's "task force, until now, has been hearing from people who want more gun controls" and how the Vice President "said there's growing consensus from his meetings to require universal background checks and ban high-capacity magazine clips", he failed to mention that the major players in the administration on this issue – President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Biden himself – all have staunch pro-gun control records.
Plante's Friday segment is a vast improvement from his December 19, 2012 report on CBS This Morning. The journalist aired three straight soundbites from liberals/gun control supporters, versus only one from a conservative/Republican.
[Update, Friday, 5:50 pm Eastern: The full transcript of Bill Plante's report from Friday's CBS This Morning is available at MRC.org.]