Closing out a special edition NBC Nightly News on Sunday night, weekday anchor Lester Holt and correspondent Harry Smith irresponsibly framed the Orlando terror attack on a gay nightclub as being an issue of gun control and mass shootings instead of one concerning the ideology of radical Islamists and anyone who wavers from it.
Holt set the tone minutes earlier by teasing Smith’s commentary by lamenting: “When we come back, our final thoughts and the look back at this horrifying trend in the United States.”
Upon returning from break, Holt chose not to reiterate the terrorist’s favoritism to ISIS or the Boston bombers, but complain that “what happened at the Pulse nightclub behind me is the newest and most deadly chapter in what has become a fact of life in this country” as “[m]ass shootings” occur “with no apparent end in sight.”
Smith began by stating that this summer “Sunday morning was shaken by news that has become all too familiar” before parroting two remarks by President Obama earlier in the day and meshing shootings like Aurora, Charleston, Newtown, and Virginia Tech with acts of Islamic terrorism in San Bernardino.
After a brief nod to what the families of those injured and lost are going through and will in the days and weeks ahead, Smith shamefully pinned it not entirely on the actions of the Omar Mateen but “his guns” as well plus his complaint that there’s “no sign that anything will change”: “Lives are forever shattered by one man. His hate and his guns. We have been here too many times before and with no sign that anything will change, we fear this will not be the last.”
The transcript of the tease and segment on June 12's NBC Nightly News can be found below.
NBC Nightly News
June 12, 2016
6:55 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]
LESTER HOLT: When we come back, our final thoughts and the look back at this horrifying trend in the United States.
6:58 p.m. Eastern
HOLT: Finally tonight, what happened at the Pulse nightclub behind me is the newest and most deadly chapter in what has become a fact of life in this country. Mass shootings with no apparent end in sight. Here's Harry Smith.
HARRY SMITH: A Sunday morning was shaken by news that has become all too familiar. Today, it was Orlando. But said President Obama —
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This could have been any one of our communities.
SMITH: — as it has been so many times before. San Bernardino, California, last December. 14 killed in a terrorist attack. Charleston, South Carolina, last June. Nine killed at the Mother Emanuel Church. Newtown, Connecticut, 27 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Most first graders. Blacksburg, Virginia, 32 gunned down on the campus of Virginia Tech. Just some of the attacks America has endured. The President said America has a choice.
OBAMA: We have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be. To do actively nothing is a decision as well.
SMITH: Today in Orlando, violence has left at least 50 more families in mourning.
OBAMA: In the coming hours and days, we'll learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names, their faces, who they were. The joy that they brought to families and to friends and the difference that they made in this world.
SMITH: This evening, some families are clinging to hope that their loved ones, one who survived, will be okay. The families who are learning that their loved ones have been killed are crippled by grief. Lives are forever shattered by one man. His hate and his guns. We have been here too many times before and with no sign that anything will change, we fear this will not be the last. Harry Smith, NBC News, Orlando.
HOLT: And that’ll do it.