For the third day in a row, ABC's Good Morning America used the horrific Newtown tragedy to push its gun control agenda. On Wednesday morning, both ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas and Pierre Thomas hyped that now is a "watershed moment" and a "tipping point" as stores halted sales of some guns and Democratic NRA member Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) considered changing his views on gun laws.
"Big-city mayors and one of the nation’s biggest police unions have called for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity clips. And for some long-time allies of the gun lobby, this week was a tipping point," Thomas touted voices favoring gun control. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
He also began his segment with soundbites of liberal comedians ranting against gun violence. In contrast, the lone gun rights advocate that Thomas featured was shown getting smeared by liberal CNN host Piers Morgan as an "idiot."
Following President Obama’s announcement that he is forming an inter-agency task force to deal with gun violence, Thomas hyped "Are we in a precipice of a sea change? About how this nation deals with guns?"
And Thomas continued the anti-gun march as he hyped two major retail stores, Wal Mart and Dicks Sporting Goods, that have temporarily suspended sales of certain assault rifles.
"The fierce debate continues. Still, the killing of children in cold blood is gripping the nation as few events can. And it's forcing a hunt for solutions," Thomas dramatically concluded.
The segment ended with Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper highlighting President Obama’s proposals on guns:
"Already The White House has signaled that they are ready to support a ban on certain types of semi-automatic rifles. They are ready to support a ban, on certain types of high-capacity clips. And of course, closing the gun show loophole. But this will produce even more suggested remedies."
See relevant transcript below.
Good Morning America
December 19, 2012
7:04 a.m. EST
ELIZABETH VARGAS: And now, to the debate over gun control. And what many are calling in this country a watershed moment in the wake of the massacre in Newtown. Some stores are pulling certain guns off their shelves. And President Obama is set to make a major announcement this morning. ABC’s Pierre Thomas joins us now this morning with the very latest on this story. Good morning, Pierre.
PIERRE THOMAS: Good morning, Elizabeth. In just a few hours, President Obama takes the first steps to make good on his vow to respond to the massacre at Newtown. He will announce that he is directing major federal agencies to come up with answers to address the scourge of gun violence. This morning, after days of silence, the NRA, the nation's most powerful gun lobby, announced that it will hold a press conference on Friday. And they say they're prepared to make meaningful contributions so tragedies like sandy hook never happen again. Are we in a precipice of a sea change? About how this nation deals with guns?
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Why the hell can you buy a weapon of mass destruction? That's what it is. That's the first thing that should be gone.
DAVID LETTERMAN: There’ve been 70, 70 episodes of school shootings in the United States, since 1994. Good lord. Really? I mean, should there be that many?
THOMAS: Big-city mayors and one of the nation’s biggest police unions have called for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity clips. And for some long-time allies of the gun lobby, this week was a tipping point.
JOE MANCHIN: Never in my life did I think that we would have 20 children slaughtered. So, it changed everything.
THOMAS: There are signs this morning that everyone, including those who sell guns, are reassessing. At least for now. Walmart has stopped online sales of the bushmaster rifle used in Newtown. Dick's Sporting Goods has suspended the sale of certain assault rifles. And a major investor in Bushmuster said it's pulling money out. But change on such a divisive issue never comes easy.
LARRY PRATT: The second amendment means what it says. You're really blind to the role that that plays in enabling murderers to operate with impunity.
PIERS MORGAN: Yeah. I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It's down to idiots like you.
THOMAS: The fierce debate continues. Still, the killing of children in cold blood is gripping the nation as few events can. And it's forcing a hunt for solutions. George?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It certainly is, Pierre. Let's get more on this now from ABC’s Jake Tapper at The White House. The President's big announcement. We know he's going to put the Vice President in charge. And he wants this task force to move quickly.
JAKE TAPPER: That's right George. We expect an answer to what they come up with, this inter-agency task force some time in the next few weeks, probably in January some time. President Obama will come to the Brady Press Briefing Room at 11:45 today. Brady, of course that Presidential Press Secretary who was shot in the attempted assassination on Ronald Reagan. And he will appoint Joe Biden in charge. The four agencies that we’re talking about are Homeland Security, the Justice Department, Health and Human Services for that mental health component, and the Education Department. Already The White House has signaled that they are ready to support a man on certain types of semiautomatic rifles. They are ready to support a ban, on certain types of high-capacity clips. And of course, closing the gun show loophole. But this will produce even more suggested remedies, George.