CBS Maintains Blackout on Bloomberg's Gun Control Stance; ABC Covers

Monday's CBS Evening News followed the example of CBS This Morning earlier in the day in failing to mention Michael Bloomberg's outspoken gun control stance in their coverage of the former New York City mayor's potential presidential run. By contrast, Jonathan Karl gave ABC's first mention of this liberal political position on Monday's World News Tonight: "He [Bloomberg] is a socially-liberal New Yorker, who just ran a big campaign in favor of gun control." [video below]

Anchor Scott Pelley turned to CBS News political director John Dickerson for his take on Bloomberg's possible campaign. Dickerson highlighted that the billionaire "believes those representatives of the wings of the two parties would create an appetite for a candidate in the middle, who's fiscally conservative and socially liberal." However, he didn't give an example of an issue where Bloomberg is socially liberal. Near the end of the segment, the journalist noted that the former mayor is "more known for his policy ideas than his stirring speeches."

During the Karl segment on World News Tonight, anchor David Muir asked the correspondent, "We've heard Hillary Clinton say she believes that means only if doesn't get the nomination; but bottom line here, which side does he hurt the most?" The ABC journalist replied, "Most political pros would say he'd draw support from Democrats," and continued with his "big campaign in favor of gun control" line. He added that "Bloomberg is also an economic conservative; he brought crime down as mayor of New York; and Bloomberg believes that he can get the support of Republicans who just won't vote for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz."

Moments earlier, correspondent Cecilia Vega mentioned Bloomberg during her report on the Democratic presidential candidates making their final push in Iowa. She disclosed that "sources close to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tell ABC News if Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump win their party's nominations, Bloomberg may run as an independent and spend one billion dollars on his campaign."

Tell the Truth 2016

On NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell also referenced the former New York City mayor during her segment on the Democratic contenders: "And in an unpredictable year, now the threat of a third-party challenge from multi-billionaire Mike Bloomberg. The former New York mayor might run if Sanders is the Democratic nominee, and if Trump or Cruz gets the Republican nomination — a decision Bloomberg won't make until March." Mitchell omitted Bloomberg's pro-gun control position, hours after Peter Alexander reported on Today that the media tycoon is "one of the nation's leading voices for strict gun control."

The transcripts of the Jonathan Karl segment from ABC's World News Tonight; and John Dickerson's segment from CBS Evening News, both of which aired on January 25, 2016:

01/25/2016
06:42 pm EST
CBS Evening News
Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

SCOTT PELLEY: Another New York billionaire flirting with a presidential run is former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned independent. So we will turn to our CBS News political director, and the anchor of Face the Nation, John Dickerson. John, what do we know about Bloomberg's plans?

[CBS News Graphic: "Blooming Campaign?"]

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, he's seriously considering jumping — jumping into the race. He's long wanted to run for president. And he would run if it looks like it's going to be a general election race between Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders. He believes those representatives of the wings of the two parties would create an appetite for a candidate in the middle, who's fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The challenge is that to collect the signatures to get on the ballot, that process starts March 1. There may not be a clear signal about either party by that date.

PELLEY: What are some of the obstacles he would face?

DICKERSON: Well, he has no party, and he has no organization; and he'd have to build all of that from scratch. Democrats and Republicans start with a huge lead in electoral college votes in a lot of the states that traditionally vote for those parties. Bloomberg would have to compete on a much bigger playing field than Democrats or Republicans, because he starts with no states in his column. And that kind of a campaign would require a brush fire tended by a charismatic politician, who could rouse people and keep them excited for months. That's not the kind of politician he is. He's more known for his policy ideas than his stirring speeches.

PELLEY: John Dickerson, anchor of Face the Nation, we'll be watching you Sunday. Thank you, John.


01/25/2016
06:43 pm EST
ABC — World News Tonight
Duration: 50 seconds

DAVID MUIR: And lets bring ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl tonight. Jon, I want to get back to the Michael Bloomberg headline considering getting into the race. We've heard Hillary Clinton say she believes that means only if doesn't get the nomination; but bottom line here, which side does he hurt the most?

JONATHAN KARL (live): Well, at this point, David, most political pros would say he'd draw support from Democrats. After all, he is a socially-liberal New Yorker, who just ran a big campaign in favor of gun control. But Bloomberg is also an economic conservative; he brought crime down as mayor of New York; and Bloomberg believes that he can get the support of Republicans who just won't vote for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. He will make his decision by the first week in March.

MUIR: And Donald Trump tonight saying he welcomes Bloomberg?

KARL: He sure does, but he doesn’t think he’s going to run.

MUIR: Alright, Jon Karl, live at the White House — Jon, as always, thanks.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center