On Thursday, several MSNBC anchors at various times of day were fixated on how NRA spending had benefited a number of prominent Republican political figures who had tweeted out sentiments regarding "thoughts and prayers" after the Florida shootings.
After MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle first raised the issue Thursday morning and spent almost three minutes listing and showing images of nine Republicans who had benefited from NRA spending, fellow hosts Katy Tur, Ali Velshi and Brian Williams followed her lead later in the day anchoring their regular shows.
Shortly before 3:00 p.m. ET, while doing a segment with Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, Tur declared:
Lots of lawmakers tweet their thoughts and prayers are with the victims of any given shooting. Lots of lawmakers that tweet those things are also being supported -- getting a lot of big money from the NRA -- from the gun lobby.
After showing the images of several Republicans and informing viewers of how much the NRA had spent supporting them, Tur ended up discussing President Donald Trump's campaign speech before the NRA as the MSNBC host fretted:
I was with the President when he visited the NRA and spoke at their convention in 2016, and the images around it were all very, very scary, Senator -- people were coming to get you, you need to protect yourself, America is a dangerous place, and the government, if you allow Democrats to be in power, want to take your guns away. How do you combat that sort of apocalyptic messaging?
About an hour later, Velshi also showed images of several Republicans paired with NRA contributions. Similar to what his colleague Ruhle had done earlier in the morning, when he got to mentioning Vice President Mike Pence, he fretted over his history of supporting gun rights as governor of Indiana:
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted about heartache and prayers in the wake of the shooting. He has an A plus rating with the NRA and enacted a number of laws as governor of Indiana, including legislation allowing firearms to be kept in vehicles on school property.
At the end of the list, Velshi added: "The thoughts and prayers are with the victims -- the dollars and sense are another story."
Shortly before midnight, The 11th Hour host Williams used the same NRA spending data as he began a commentary to end the show:
This phrase "thoughts and prayers" -- even if said in all sincerity -- is falling short as a comfort mechanism after these repeated mass shootings -- these mass casualty events. So many of the sentiments posted on social media by our elected officials now read differently in light of the facts provided that we're about to share with you by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics and put together by our morning team on the broadcast Velshi and Ruhle.
After gong through the entire list as it ran earlier in the day, ending with President Trump, Williams concluded: "So you see the distinction there between 'thoughts and prayers' and campaign donations and attack ads."