CBS Misleads on Semi-Automatic Versus Machine Guns in Voter Panel Segment

August 15th, 2018 8:00 PM

No matter how many times gun issues are discussed and debated, the difference between semi-automatic and automatic guns just doesn't sink in with some journalists.

As CBS This Morning co-host Alex Wagner spoke with a group of six millennial women voters, when panel members gave the impression that semi-automatic weapons are the same as machine guns, and that machine guns are currently legal for most people to own, the CBS host and MSNBC alumna failed to jump in to make sure viewers were not being misinformed.

As she spoke with three Republicans -- one of whom voted for Gary Johnson -- and three Democrats who all voted for Hillary Clinton, when the issue of guns was raised, one of the Democrats was the only one who actually owned a gun as she also spoke in favor of more background checks.

One of the Republican women jumped in to agree with her, and then recommended that "semi-automatic" guns be banned: "I believe that people should be able to protect themselves and their families and their homes, but you don't need a semi-automatic weapon to protect yourself. Maybe those should be banned."

After one of the Republicans was shown briefly jumping in to argue that "if the government has these guns, we should have the guns," one of the Democrats who identified herself as a Columbine survivor suggested that "machine guns" are commonly bought as she complained: "I mean, guys, this is my issue. If you want the machine guns, go for it, but please lock them up, and please keep the ammunition separate."

No one clarified that most typical guns are semi-automatic, and that fully automatic machine guns are already very difficult to acquire.