ABC Hypes Obama on Guns: ‘America’s Parent-in-Chief’

According to Nightline co-anchor Byron Pitts, Barack Obama is “America’s parent-in-chief” when it comes to guns. The ABC journalist on Tuesday night hyped the President’s White House speech: “Camera clicks the only sound in the White House east room as the normally stoic President Obama openly wept and paused to compose himself.” 

Pitts declared, “It was a rare glimpse at America's parent-in-chief.” Co-anchor Dan Harris also touted the emotional Obama: “President Obama, who can sometimes seem cool and distant, broke into tears today at the White House talking about the victims of gun violence.” 

Overall, the segment included some balance. Ted Cruz can be seen denouncing the President’s gun plan as unconstitutional. Later, he included this statement from the NRA: 

PITTS: The NRA going a step further, calling his plans unconstitutional, saying, “The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse from the Obama administration which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment.” 

However, more time was devoted to those calling for more gun control. 

A partial transcript is below: 

NL
1/6/16 
12:40am ET

DAN HARRIS: President Obama, who can sometimes seem cool and distant, broke into tears today at the White House talking about the victims of gun violence. Not just talking, in fact, taking action on gun control. The reaction was fast and fierce, from survivors, to the streets of Chicago, to the NRA. My Nightline co-anchor Byron Pitts was tracking it all. 

BYRON PITTS: It was a rare glimpse at America's parent-in-chief. 

BARACK OBAMA: And from every family who never imagined their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. 

PITTS: Camera clicks the only sound in the White House east room as the normally stoic President Obama openly wept and paused to compose himself. 

OBAMA: Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. 

PITTS: Surrounded by families of gun victims today the President remembering the children shot to death at Sandy Hook elementary and all the times he had to respond to a mass shooting. 

OBAMA: Ft. Hood, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Charleston, San Bernardino. Too many. 

PITTS: But today it was the same subject but different words. Announcing new executive actions aimed at tightening gun laws, curbing gun sales at the heart of his new plan to side step Congress and close a loophole that allows weapons to be purchased without a background check at gun shows and online. 

OBAMA: The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now but they cannot hold America hostage. The folks in this room will not rest until Congress does. 

PITTS: His words echoing the victims turned advocate around him. 

COLIN GODDARD: On a Monday morning, gunman burst in and started opening fire. 

PITTS: Like Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. 

GODDARD: Thirty two of my classmates and teachers that day were killed in what has become the worst mass shooting in American history so far. 

PITTS: Leading him to become an advocate for EveryTown.org. 

GODDARD: I kept seeing mass shootings happen in this country repeatedly. And seeing elected officials, some of them, say that, you know, there's nothing we can do about this. Thoughts and prayers and that was it. Just became, you know, unacceptable. 

PITTS: For the last six years, he's been raising awareness in what he calls gun sale loopholes, going undercover to show how easy it can be to purchase firearms at gun shows. And today's announcement, he says, was a watershed moment, a sign that grassroots advocates like him were cutting through to lawmakers. 

GODDARD: It was incredibly moving and emotional in that regard. Encouraging to hear that the hard work we've done over the years cut through to the person holding the highest office in this country. 

PITTS: And the reaction from some running for that office has been swift and fierce. 

TED CRUZ: These orders today I believe are not worth the piper they are written on. 

MARCO RUBIO: President Obama's executive actions limiting gun rights will restrict our law abiding citizen citizens. 

PITTS: The NRA going a step further, calling his plans unconstitutional, saying, “The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse from the Obama administration which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment.” 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think everybody should be concerned but I don't think it will ever happen. But just to make sure we want to get our permits right now. 

PITTS: And today, fears of losing the right to bear arms sent this father and daughter to apply for gun permits in New York. 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think it's better to be safe than sorry, to get it and so that you have it. 

PITTS: The expected high sales sent gun stocks, like Smith & Wesson, on a upwards tear. Gun control remains one of the country's most divisive issue. In a recent poll, he public split almost even between protecting gun ownership rights and enacting new gun control laws. 

...

OBAMA: Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Our unalienable right to life and liberty and pursuit to happiness, those rights were taken from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, from  high schoolers in Columbine and first graders in Newtown. 

PITTS: He also spoke of gun violence becoming ingrained in daily life like in his hometown. 

OBAMA: And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day. 

PAM BOSLEY: This is my son, my baby. 

PITTS: Pam Bosley knows the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. Her oldest son Terrell would have turned 28 today. The last time they talked, guess where he was. 

BOSLEY: He was at church. I was like, “baby, be careful. He was like, “Ma, come on, you always worry, you always worry. I'm good. I'm good. I don't know why you're trippin. Ain't nothing going to happen to me.” The next call was my baby had been shot. 

PITTS: He was 18, a college freshman, gunned down on his way into to choir practice on Chicago’s south side. Terrell collapsed at the pastor's feet. The songs that once soothed Pam's soul now only add to her suffering. 

BOSLEY: I can't watch no more. That's my baby. I really don't watch the videos because he's supposed to still be here singing. 

PITTS: Pam's son just one of the thousands who have died here in the last ten years. Chicago has one of the nation's highest murder rates. A city known to some as Chi-raq because there are more deaths than casualties during the Iraq war. So afraid of the danger outside their front door, Pam and her husband built in backyard patio. 

BOSLEY: This is the safe haven spot that I put together for Terrell. 

PITTS: It didn't protect Terrell. So now she keeps an even tighter grip on her two remaining sons. 
As lovely as your home is, it seems like a prison. 

BOSLEY: Yeah, it is. My middle son told me one day, ma, you got me living inside this box. Come on, can you let me outside.” I try to let him out a little bit but it is a prison. 

PITTS: Sense her son's death, Pam found Purpose Over Pain, a grass roots anti-gun violence organization in the hopes other parents won't have to suffer a similar tragedy. You going to be okay? 

BOSLEY: You know what, I'm going to be okay when I die and go to heaven with my son Terrell and with God. 

PITTS: Today as the nation refocuses attention on gun control, Pam visits the grave of her son, taking the social media to post his photo next to her son's headstone with a message, “thank you, President Obama for using your power to save lives.” But with many in this country saying tonight the President is abusing his power, and his proposed gun control plan won't save lives but will trample them, the right to citizens. Even the President says there's a long road ahead to any resolution. For Nightline, I'm Byron Pitts in New York. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.