It has become clear where CBS News comes down on the debate over guns in America: on the side of the Obama White House. On Thursday night’s CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley highlighted a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing “an overwhelming number of American approve of the president’s call for universal background checks for gun buyers” but ignored findings in the very same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support having armed guards in public places such as schools, movie theaters and malls. You may recall it was the National Rifle Association (NRA) that proposed armed guards in schools -- much to the derision and even outrage of the liberal media -- last month.
The entire segment was meant to highlight supposed support for President Obama’s gun control measures and comes just one day after CBS’ Bob Schieffer compared President Obama’s gun control effort to the hunt for the Nazi’s during World War II. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
CBS News has consistently featured pro-gun control segments, so it should come as no surprise that they would ignore their own poll which shows wide public support for an NRA-initiated proposal. Instead, Pelley highlighted public support for universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines and 54 percent supporting a ban on semiautomatic weapons.
Pelley did mention that despite the media assault on the NRA, the public’s opinion of the organization broke down roughly into thirds, with 38 percent having a favorable opinion.
CBS is hardly alone in cherry-picking polling data to present the public as strongly favoring the president's gun control plans. Other media outlets have similarly ignored or downplayed inconvenient truths in their polling data, such as numbers showing the public thinks armed guards would do more to prevent another Newtown than more gun control, or the fact that most Americans list the economy or the national debt as higher political priorities than new federal gun restrictions.
See relevant transcript below.
CBS Evening News w/ Scott Pelley
January 17, 2013
6:37 p.m. EST
SCOTT PELLEY: In our new poll out tonight, an overwhelming number of Americans approve of the president's call for universal background checks for gun buyers. The CBS News/New York Times poll shows that background checks on all potential gun buyers are favored by 92%. A ban on high-capacity magazines is favored by 63%. A national ban on semiautomatic weapons is favored by a slim majority of 53%. That's interesting, because our research department found that 65% of all of the guns sold in America are semiautomatics. We asked, also, whether the gun laws should be more strict. 54% said yes. 9% said less strict. And 34% think the laws should remain the same. When we asked the public's opinion of the National Rifle Association, the response broke down in nearly thirds. 38% have a favorable opinion.