On Thursday night, ABC, CBS, NBC went all out in their refusal to critique or fact-check President Joe Biden’s erroneous gun control speech from hours earlier, instead siding with the President’s attempts to hurt law-abiding citizens, pass off stabilizing braces as some menacing feature, and lament the lack of wider anti-gun measures.
And when it came to offering an opposing opinion, ABC and CBS couldn’t even be bothered to spend a precious few seconds offering a soundbite from those that support the Second Amendment.
ABC’s senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce was ready to go on World News Tonight, fresh off her infrastructure field trip that came off like a piece produced by Jen Psaki and a series of questions hitting Psaki from the left on guns during Thursday’s press briefing.
Anchor David Muir was ready too, huffing in an opening tease about how Biden “urg[ed] Congress to do something about the shootings in America, calling it an epidemic, saying he will use his executive authority to create new restrictions on so-called ghost guns.”
As all three networks would, Muir both tied Biden’s actions to mass shootings in South Carolina and Texas and made the measures seem benign.
Bruce played the reliable role of stenographer, listing off the orders on ghost guns, red flag laws, and warned that a stabilizing brace “effectively turn[s] pistols into short-barrel rifles, like the brace used in the Boulder rampage that left ten dead.”
Bruce insisted polling was on Biden’s side to ensure his full agenda becomes law, but lamented “there is very little appetite from Republicans and even some Democrats on Capitol Hill to act on the kinds of changes that the President wants.”
CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell flaunted Biden’s moves as “several major executive actions to curb what he calls an epidemic of gun violence nationwide,” but provided no evidence to argue that any of the executive actions would have changed the minds of criminals.
White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe said Biden was “voicing frustration over the frequency of mass shootings” and cited two supporters of the measures in Baltimore’s police commissioner and the father of a student killed in a shooting using a ghost gun.
With no opposing view, O’Keefe concluded that while Biden “wants sweeping changes in gun policy,” he knows that it’s up to Congress even though it’s “long” been “reluctant to debate the issue.”
NBC Nightly News presented more of the same with anchor Lester Holt following the lead of Muir and O’Donnell by not only teasing Biden’s speech in tandem with the mass shootings but also at the top of the newscast.
Before chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker’s piece, however, Holt acknowledged Republicans exist: “And as you heard, those mass shootings coming as President Biden signed executive actions on guns. He's now facing backlash from Republicans for moves they say takes away Americans' Second Amendment rights.”
Welker cited the same father as O’Keefe in listing off the measures without any sort of analysis or Biden’s aversion to the facts, but she worked in a soundbite from Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) on Fox News and the uphill climb for ATF nominee David Chipman (click “expand”):
WELKER: Still, some gun control advocates fault the President for breaking his campaign promise to submit gun legislation on day one. Today, the President calling on Congress to act.
BIDEN: Enough prayers. Time for some action.
WELKER: But many Republicans slamming the President for going around Congress with executive actions, which they say undermine the gun rights of law-abiding citizens.
SENATOR STEVE DAINES (R-MT): It's no surprise that a liberal President would start looking at more gun control. But I can tell you it's not going to make us any safer. It just infringes on our Second Amendment rights. It infringes on law-abiding Americans who exercise that right lawfully every day.
HOLT: Kristen, what specifically is the President asking Congress to do on guns?
WELKER: He wants the Senate to pass two bills that expand background checks. Meanwhile, the President nominated David Chipman to be the first permanent director of the ATF in six years. Chipman will likely face criticism from Republicans for his support of tougher gun measures.
With all that said, the networks saw zero reason to note that Biden made what Washington Free Beacon writer (and former MRCTV editor) Stephen Gutowski said were “numerous false and misleading statements.”
Gutowski said that Biden peddled a common lie about gun shows by claiming that attendees can “buy whatever you want and no background check” even though, as Gutowski explained, “[f]ederal law does not regulate gun sales based on where they occur,” so gun show sales by “licensed dealers” would still involve a background check (though not for sales between private individuals).
Gutowski also debunked three more Biden lies (click “expand”):
Biden also falsely claimed the gun industry is uniquely protected from all liability while advocating for the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
"People don't realize the only industry in America, a billion-dollar industry, that can't be sued, that are exempt from being sued, are gun manufacturers," Biden said. "This is the only outfit that is exempt from being sued."
That claim is also false. Gun manufacturers can be sued and sometimes are sued over claims of negligence. Remington settled a lawsuit over an alleged design flaw with the trigger on its popular Model 700 rifle, and Sig Sauer has been sued multiple times over an alleged safety defect with its P320 handgun. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which Biden hopes to repeal, provides immunity to the industry over lawsuits stemming from the criminal misuse of guns by third parties.
[Biden] argued on behalf of H.R. 1446, which would extend the amount of time the FBI can delay a gun sale, with more misleading information. Biden said the existing three-day limit for conducting a background check allowed Dylann Roof to carry out the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
While the shooter in the Charleston case did get his gun after a three-day delay, extending the delay period would not have changed the outcome in that case. The shooting happened two months after the purchase and the FBI did not find the records that should have prohibited him from buying a gun. Then-FBI director James Comey said the records were not found because of a mistake made by the FBI when reviewing the shooter's criminal records.
And over at Bearing Arms, Tom Knighton also had an excellent piece looking at these claims (as well as Biden’s misleading claim about yelling “fire in a crowded theater”) and analysis on what the executive orders mean for law-abiding gun owners.
These segments in support of gun control were made possible thanks to supportive advertisers such as Crest (on NBC), Olay (on CBS), and Progressive (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.