Moments after the White House revealed to reporters on Monday details of President Obama’s executive orders on gun control, the network evening newscasts could barely contain their approval for the President “picking a major fight with Republicans” as his “new gun checks” seek “to restrict gun sales.”
The CBS Evening News did not allow the story to wait as it led with the announcement and anchor Scott Pelley hyped in the first tease: “The President does an end run around Congress to restrict gun sales.”
Pelley continued after the opening credits by pedaling the White House line of using emotion and build the idea that the President’s argument is the moral one (and not that of those in favor of gun rights):
We've learned tonight how President Obama intends to tighten gun sales without the approval of Congress. The President, frustrated by mass murders that seem to come every month, has decided in his last year to test the limits of his power.
Chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford reported from the White House that “senior administration officials” had “just moments ago outlined the executive actions the President will announce tomorrow which he says will help keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
Before briefly going into the details, Crawford summarized: “A major focus are what officials say are flaws and loopholes in the nation's system of background checks.”
On ABC’s World News Tonight, the headline to their coverage dubbed the unilateral executive orders as merely “new gun checks” with anchor David Muir hyping that the President will soon officially “take action on gun control on his own, vowing to use executive action to close the so-called gun show loophole.”
Senior Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas was the only network reporter to admit that such actions the President will take “would not have effected most of the recent mass shooters” as the sales for the guns used did include background checks, but did point to the Nation’s Gun Show outside Washington this weekend in Northern Virginia as one where “hundreds of firearms are sold, often with no background check.”
While CBS had no accompanying explanation for those opposed to the measure, they were not alone as NBC Nightly News similarly featured no viewpoint for those in favor of the Second Amendment.
“President Obama is starting off the final year of his presidency by picking a major fight with Republicans, about to go around Congress and take executive action on guns,” declared anchor Lester Holt.
Senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing lamented that “President Obama's biggest frustration has not been not getting any new gun laws on the books after the Newtown massacre,” so this marks his attempt to enact gun control to start his last year in office.
As opposed to Thomas actually explaining that the President’s plans would not have halted any of the recent high-profile shootings in America, Jansing brushed that off as simply the line offered up by “critics” who “say the new measures would not have prevented recent mass shootings.”
The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on January 4 can be found below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
January 4, 2016
6:30 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]
SCOTT PELLEY: The President does an end run around Congress to restrict gun sales.
6:30 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Gun Control]
PELLEY: We've learned tonight how President Obama intends to tighten gun sales without the approval of Congress. The President, frustrated by mass murders that seem to come every month, has decided in his last year to test the limits of his power. Chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford has the breaking news from the White House. Jan?
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, Scott, senior administration officials just moments ago outlined the executive actions the President will announce tomorrow which he says will help keep guns out of the wrong hands. A major focus are what officials say are flaws and loopholes in the nation's system of background checks. Among the recommendations are requiring gun dealers, including those who sell firearms on the internet or at gun shows, to be licensed and conduct background checks for gun sales, changing federal privacy rules to help keep people with mental health restrictions from possessing guns, hiring more than 230 additional FBI employees to help process background checks, and a budget proposal for an additional 200 agents and investigators at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. Now, after meeting this afternoon with his Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, the President said he was confident these changes are consistent with the Second Amendment, that they're not an unconstitutional end run around Congress, but, Scott, one thing is all but certain: These proposals and these executive actions are going to be challenged, whether in Congress or in court.
PELLEY Just as the President's executive actions on immigration have been challenged in court. Jan Crawford at the White House tonight. Jan, thank you very much.