On Friday, all three network morning shows promoted CNN’s Thursday night gun control town hall event with President Obama and highlighted the commander-in-chief smearing gun rights supporters as conspiracy theorists.
In a news brief on ABC’s Good Morning America, anchor Amy Robach declared: “President Obama is defending his executive actions on gun control. During a town hall meeting in Virginia, he denied any suggestion of a conspiracy against gun owners' rights and he said he's willing to meet with the NRA.”
As a soundbite ran of Obama slamming the National Rifle Assocation, the headline on-screen read: “Obama Denies Gun Conspiracy; Says No Effort to ‘Grab Your Guns.’”
Robach concluded: “The President said he will not support any congressional candidate who opposes gun reform.”
On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell noted: “In a town hall last night on CNN, the President said his position on firearms has been misrepresented.” A clip followed of Obama complaining: “Our position is consistently mischaracterized and, by the way, there's a reason why the NRA is not here....you'd think that they’d be prepared to have a debate with the President.... But if you listen to the rhetoric, it is so over the top and so overheated.”
Like Robach, O’Donnell touted: “The President promises to take his position on gun reform to the ballot box. He wrote in a New York Times opinion piece, quote, ‘I will not campaign for, vote for, or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.’”
On NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie parroted the presidential talking point: “The President emphasized that he is, quote, ‘not coming for your guns.’”
However, unlike ABC and CBS, NBC actually showed viewers how the President was challenged by gun rights supporters during the event. At the top of Today, fellow co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: “President Obama holds a controversial town hall on guns and faces tough questions from the widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle.”
In the report that followed, Guthrie emphasized: “Also during that event, the widow of American sniper Chris Kyle confronted the President. Taya Kyle challenged him on the...effectiveness of gun control legislation.”
A sounbite was featured of Kyle telling Obama: “We're at the lowest murder rate in our country. All-time low of murders. We're at an all-time high of gun ownership, right? I'm not necessarily saying that the two are correlated, but what I'm saying is that we're at an all-time low for murder rate. That's a big deal.”
Guthrie wrapped up the segment: “The President acknowledged his latest executive actions will not stop all attacks, but said the goal was to make a little progress.”
Here is a full transcript of the January 8 report on Today:
7:00 AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: While in Virginia, President Obama holds a controversial town hall on guns and faces tough questions from the widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle.
TAYA KYLE: The laws that we create don't stop these horrific things from happening, right? And that's a very tough pill to swallow.
BARACK OBAMA: Right.
7:11 AM ET SEGMENT:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Meantime, President Obama took on the hot-button issue of gun control again last night. The town hall meeting on CNN came just days after he unveiled executive actions to help combat gun violence. The President emphasized that he is, quote, “not coming for your guns.”
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: President Takes on Gun Control; Obama Answers Questions in Town Hall Meeting]
BARACK OBAMA: I respect people who want a gun for self-protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship, but all of us can agree that it makes sense to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of people who would try to do others harm.
GUTHRIE: Also during that event, the widow of American sniper Chris Kyle confronted the President. Taya Kyle challenged him on the – excuse me – effectiveness of gun control legislation.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “American Sniper” Widow Speaks Out; Taya Kyle Questions Effectiveness of Legislation]
TAYA KYLE: We're at the lowest murder rate in our country. All-time low...
KYLE: ...of murders. We're at an all-time high of gun ownership, right? I'm not necessarily saying that the two are correlated, but what I'm saying is that we're at an all-time low for murder rate. That's a big deal.
OBAMA: If you look at where are the areas with the highest gun ownership, those are the places in some cases where the crime rate hasn't dropped down that much and the places where there's pretty stiff restrictions on gun ownership, in some of those places the crimes dropped real quickly. So I'm not sure that there's a one-to-one correlation there.
GUTHRIE: The President acknowledged his latest executive actions will not stop all attacks, but said the goal was to make a little progress.
And as a reminder, we are taking our entire show to the White House on Tuesday, the day of President Obama's last State of the Union address. We'll talk to him and Vice President Biden will join us live. We're also gonna bring you some special access inside the nation's most famous home. Tuesday morning on Today.