On Monday's New Day, CNN host Alisyn Camerota finally conducted an interview with liberal gun control activists in a manner that didn't simply give them a forum to push their agenda and make incendiary comments about the NRA and Republicans, but actually spent several questions challenging them for demonizing their opponents. And, over the weekend during live coverage of the March for Our Lives rally, Camerota admitted that she had "mischaracterized" Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio's response to the Parkland school shootings.
As Parkland student David Hogg and his sister, Lauren, appeared as guests just past 8:30 a.m. Eastern, Camerota began by simply asking them what they thought the anti-gun March for Our Lives rally from the weekend had accomplished. She then spent the rest of the segment posing questions that were more sympathetic toward conservatives. In her second question, the CNN host defended Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio as she posed:
You know, I want to talk to you about Senator Marco Rubio because my eyes were opened when I was there. You guys have sort of targeted him as somebody you don't think is doing enough and who you depict as being sort of callous. But, you know, I had a chance to talk to Scott Beigel's mom. He was your geography teacher who was killed in the massacre.
And she said that Marco Rubio behind the scenes has reached out to her, had all sorts of conversations with her, talked about how what they've done so far on Capitol Hill in terms of the Fix NICS Act, in terms of the Stop School Violence Act that's part of the Omnibus. Yes, these are low-hanging fruit, yes, you want more, but should you be giving credit for even these incremental steps, David?
Camerota then followed up:
But I guess my point is that, if you're trying to get everybody together, if you're trying to have solutions, do you think it is helpful when you say things like, "Marco Rubio is putting," you know, "For $1.05," or whatever your coupon said, "that's how much he values students." I mean, do you think that's unnecessarily provocative?
After David Hogg doubled down on his comments and claimed that his treatment of Rubio had been "not provocative enough," Camerota responded:
I'm not a Marco Rubio spokesperson, but now that I've heard what he's doing behind the scenes, he is sponsoring all of these various bills, two of which were part of the Omnibus, and so things are happening. All I'm suggesting is that maybe your ire is misplaced, you know, since he is actually trying to work across the aisle.
After getting her guests to respond to a comment by conservative CNN political commentator Rick Santorum -- whom she initially misidentified as a "Fox News contributor" -- Camerota ended up finally coming to the NRA's defense:
Last, I want to ask about how you guys are going after the NRA. ... You said that the NRA is responsible for -- is "allowing the slaughter" of kids. Look, again, I don't want to be an NRA spokesperson, but, obviously, they don't want the slaughter of children. NRA members have children themselves. People who work at the NRA have their own children. Do you think that you are polarizing in saying things like that? And maybe it would help to get the NRA on board with some of what your asks are.
By contrast, last month, Camerota had actually defended students choosing to call the NRA a "terrorist" group.
The surprising pushback on Hogg was foreshadowed by comments by Camerota two days earlier. On Saturday afernoon at 12:40 p.m. Eastern, Camerota admitted that she had been unfair in how she had characterized Rubio's response to the Parkland attack. Camerota:
In a recent interview, on New Day, I mischaracterized Senator Rubio as not being focused on gun violence since Parkland. And I failed to mention that, in fact, there's a lot that he's been doing behind the scenes.
She then recounted some of what Rubio has done in the past month to improve school safety for the future