In roughly 14 minutes on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, CBS offered another pitifully fact-check-free piece on behalf of the liberal media about the far-left, pro-gun control Parkland survivors. It declined to seriously push back on the ugly, violent rhetoric by some students since the February 14 massacre.
Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi played the role of Steve Kroft to the Parkland students’ Barack Obama and the anti-Second Amendment infomercial ignored students like Kyle Kashuv and parents like Ryan Petty because their opinions aren’t welcome.
Moments in, Alfonsi made clear which side she was on: “In less than a month, the teens did what few thought possible. They changed gun laws in Florida and ignited a national movement. We wondered how a generation with a notoriously short attention span plans to hold the nation's attention.”
“Ryan, who lost his daughter, worked day and night with lawmakers to make REAL change. But let's not give credit where it is due,” Kaskhuv tweeted.
Alfonsi first visited the hospital room of Anthony Borges as he laid breathing but unalert when she spoke to his father. She then used Borges to as a prop to move to gun control: “But what happened in Parkland is different. Instead of retreating into their gated neighborhoods and asking for privacy, or saying it was ‘too soon’ to talk about guns, Parkland decided it was exactly the right moment to talk about guns.”
Every angle of the piece was crafted as if CBS worked hand-in-hand with the students, down to a soundbite of Emma Gonzalez bragging that she “need[s] to call The Washington Post” back since she had meant to do that earlier.
“In the hours after the attack, filled with grief but fueled with anger and armed with their phones, the teenagers got to work. First, they set off a firestorm of tweets, many aimed at lawmakers. They said yes to almost every interview request, and used social media to organize a student-led protest at the state capitol,” Alfonsi added before leading into, again, crediting the students for the Florida legislation.
That was amusing because the students went onto trash the state’s action as C-grade work. Instead of challenging Cameron Kasky on his boorish behavior comparing Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) to someone as heinous as the gunman, Alfonsi channeled Jake Tapper by letting him smear the substantive, bipartisan Stop School Violence Act:
That being said, the Florida bill is much more impressive than that embarrassing Stop School Violence Act that they're pushing in D.C., which is just a bunch of hot air, fluff, doesn't use the word “gun” once, when all these tragedies, again, the one thing that has linked them together is the gun.
But again, these students are not to be challenged on policy as these students are grieving!
Kashuv joked on Twitter that his “invite to this got lost in the mail with the @Harvard invite” and eviscerated 60 Minutes for claiming to be objective journalists but allowing Kasky “to show utter disrespect towards 30+ Senators on your show.”
Once again, 60 Minutes wasn’t interested in pointing out the litany of law enforcement failures or the country’s discomfort when it comes to mental health. Rather, it was reminding the country that these students do, in fact, want to take people’s guns away by “ban[ing] military style rifles” and “high-capacity magazines.”
Alfonsi shifted to gushing over Emma Gonzalez including how she “has more than a million Twitter followers — ten times more than Florida’s governor.” The two yukked it over Emma’s shaved head drawing attention and Alfonsi let Gonzalez making faces while she bemoaned proposals to allow teachers the option to arm themselves.
“What is happening to her life....It's a lot to ask of these kids,” Alfonsi later lamented to Gonzalez’s mother.
Alfonsi could have asked Emma or her mother about Emma stating she doesn’t “really care what people who defend the Second Amendment have to say” or questioned Dana Loesch’s motherhood, but those are pesky questions that CBS didn’t want to address.
While boasting of their “newly-donated headquarters” housed in an undisclosed location, Gonzalez and David Hogg complained that they’ve received death threats and are “paranoid about a bomb being thrown in the window.”
Hogg has referred to the NRA and the millions of gun rights supporters as child murderers and yet we’re supposed to believe these students are above criticism? Give me a break.
Alfonsi inquired about all the liberal celebrities and groups helping them with this Saturday’s March for Our Lives, but Kasky brushed aside any notion of influence because “we don’t let them.” Well then, that settles things!
Instead of ending with my take, here’s two tweets from Kashuv since CBS doesn’t care what he thinks (click “expand” to read them):
To see the segment’s transcript from CBS’s 60 Minutes on March 18, click “expand.”
CBS’s 60 Minutes
March 18, 2018
7:42 p.m. Eastern
SHARYN ALFONSI: By now, the story is familiar, but no less heartbreaking. On Valentine's Day, a former student walked in to Marjory Stoneman Douglas high in Parkland, Florida, pulled an AR-15 out of his duffel bag and began shooting. Students hid in closets, and played dead. When it was over, 17 people were killed; 14 of them, students. In the hours that followed, there were vigils, and a string of lawmakers offered their “thoughts and prayers.” Then, something different happened. The students of Stoneman Douglas gathered in living rooms and in front of cameras, declaring, “never again.” In less than a month, the teens did what few thought possible. They changed gun laws in Florida and ignited a national movement. We wondered how a generation with a notoriously short attention span plans to hold the nation's attention. You'll hear from them later. But, we begin with another classmate, who hasn't been seen or heard from since the shooting. This is Anthony Borges. He is 15 years old, and should be at soccer practice, but when we met him on Tuesday, he was struggling to breathe. He'd just come off a ventilator the day before. Anthony's father Roger told us his son has had eight surgeries already. Another is being scheduled. He was shot five times just outside his classroom at Stoneman Douglas high. [TO ROGER BORGES] He was face to face with the shooter?
ROGER BORGES: Yeah. He got shot in the leg and, he tried to, you know, keep open the door —
ALFONSI: He tried to shut the door?
BORGES: Yeah, in that moment, he received another in the back.
ALFONSI: The Borges family is from Venezuela. Roger wanted the world to see what happened to his son. [TO ROGER BORGERS: He called you, right?
BORGES: Yeah, he called me right at the moment when he laid down on the floor, and he told me like, “Dad, I got shot.” I said, just keep talking to me, okay? Don't go — don't leave me. Keep talking to me.
ALFONSI: And where was he shot?
BORGES: Right here. Right here.
ALFONSI: One shattered his thigh bone. Another damaged his lung and liver.
BORGES: That's a miracle for me.
ALFONSI: This is a miracle that he’s still alive.
ALFONSI: He's not number 18.
BORGES: No. No.
ALFONSI: Roger, a handyman, is now praying for another miracle: Help paying his son's medical. Stories like Anthony's unfold quietly in hospitals after every mass shooting
PROTESTERS: Shame, shame, shame.
ALFONSI: But what happened in Parkland is different. Instead of retreating into their gated neighborhoods and asking for privacy, or saying it was “too soon” to talk about guns,
CAMERON KASKY: We’re about to go national and all of this is about to be everywhere.
ALFONSI: Parkland decided it was exactly the right moment to talk about guns.
DAVID HOGG: Unless we act now.
ALFONSI: It was the students who stepped forward first and said “never again.” You've probably heard a lot from them over the last month, but we were surprised about what they had to say about the fate of the gunman. [TO STUDENTS] The Florida prosecutor announced today that he's going to seek the death penalty against Nikolas Cruz, and I just want to get your thoughts on that. Emma?
EMMA GONZALEZ: Good.
ALFONSI: Good, why?
EMMA GONZALEZ: Good that he's seeking the death penalty for Nick Cruz.
KASKY: I don't want to think about Nik Cruz. I think the more we think about him, the more he wins. That being said, in a way, I disagree with Emma. Let him rot forever.
ALFONSI: Let him rot in jail.
HOGG: I want to see him rot forever as Cameron just said, but when we pursue the death penalty, this will be kept in the media for much longer.
JACLYN CORIN: I just don't want him to get what he wants. I want him to suffer, no matter what.
ALEX WIND: The death of one person, as terrible of a person as he is, cannot outweigh the death of the 17.
ALFONSI: Alex Wind, a self- described theater geek; Jaclyn Corin, the junior class president; student reporter David Hogg; and senior Emma Gonzalez started what they call the Never Again movement in Cameron Kasky's living room.
EMMA GONZALEZ: I need to call The Washington Post because I was supposed to do that last night.
ALFONSI: In the hours after the attack, filled with grief but fueled with anger and armed with their phones, the teenagers got to work. First, they set off a firestorm of tweets, many aimed at lawmakers. They said yes to almost every interview request, and used social media to organize a student-led protest at the state capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT GUN CONTROL ACTIVIST: This is about hope. This is about moving forward.
ALFONSI: In three weeks, they had convinced Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott to defy the National Rifle Association, something that hasn't happened in Florida in 20 years. [TO STUDENTS] The new Florida law raises the age to buy a rifle to 21. It introduces a three-day waiting period on gun sales, and it makes more money available for mental health services. Give us a grade on what's been accomplished.
WIND: I was going to say C-minus.
CORIN: Yeah. We can't praise them for doing what they've done, because that wouldn't have stopped what happened at our school.
KASKY: That being said, the Florida bill is much more impressive than that embarrassing Stop School Violence Act that they're pushing in D.C., which is just a bunch of hot air, fluff, doesn't use the word “gun” once, when all these tragedies, again, the one thing that has linked them together is the gun.
ALFONSI: On Saturday, they're hoping a half million people will join them to March in Washington. They want Congress to ban military style rifles, like this, along with the kind of high-capacity magazines that were used in Las Vegas and at Sandy Hook. [TO ALFONSI] I know, I can't help but think, Sandy Hook happened. Those parents made it their life's mission to try to get some real change. What makes you think that you guys could do more? That this could be different?
WIND: The thing about it is that we are the generation that's had to be trapped in closets, waiting for police to come, or waiting for a shooter to walk into our door. We are the people who know what it's like first-hand.
KASKY: We're the mass shooting generation. That’s — I was —
ALFONSI: “We're the mass shooting generation?”
KASKY: I was born months after Columbine. I'm 17 years old, and we've had 17 years of mass shootings.
ALFONSI: Raise your hands if there are guns in your house.
KASKY: I feel safe because my father has a gun in the house that he can use to protect our family and my family lives on the principle that there are some guns that are made to protect your family from anyone who might come in and try to hurt them, and there are some guns that are made for war.
EMMA GONZALEZ: We need to pay attention to the fact that this isn't just a mental health issue. He wouldn't have hurt that many students with a knife!
ALFONSI: Three days after the shooting, Emma Gonzalez accepted an invitation to speak at a rally. The five-foot-two 18-year-old had to stand on boxes to be heard.
EMMA GONALEZ: [INAUDIBLE]
ALFONSI: Her speech was seen millions of times and ignited the passion of students around the country.
EMMA GONZALEZ: That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, we’re too young to understand how the government works. [INAUDIBLE]
ALFONSI: She now has more than a million Twitter followers — ten times more than Florida's governor. [TO EMMA GONZALEZ] So, why was it you? Why do you think you broke through?
EMMA GONZALEZ: It might've been my hair.
ALFONSI: Oh, come on.
EMMA GONZALEZ: Very honestly, it just might have been my hair.
ALFONSI: I don't think it was the hair.
EMMA GONZALEZ: I think it was a little, a little bit the hair. Like, you know, just iconically. You think of the picture and you think of a bald girl.
ALFONSI: What do you think about this issue of arming teachers?
EMMA GONZALEZ: It's stupid.
EMMA GONZALEZ: First of all, they have — Douglas ran out of paper for, like, two weeks in the school year, and now all the sudden they have $400 million to pay for teachers to get trained to arm themselves? Really? Really? If you're a teacher and you have a gun, do you keep it in a lockbox or do you carry it on your person? If the teacher dies and a student, who's a “good student,” is able to get the gun, are they now held responsible to shoot the student who's come into the door? I'm not happy with that.
ALFONSI: Emma's mother Beth watched as her daughter became one of the most recognizable faces in one of the most polarizing debates in the country.
BETH GONZALEZ: I'm terrified. It's like she built herself a pair of wings out of balsa wood and duct tape and jumped off a building and we're just, like, running along beneath her with a net, which she doesn't want or think that she needs, you know?
ALFONSI: What is happening to her life?
BETH GONZALEZ: It's insane. Somebody said, you know, “please tell Emma we're behind her,” which I appreciate. But we should have been in front of her. I should've been in front of her. We're all adults, we should have dealt with this 20 years ago.
ALFONSI: It's a lot to ask of these kids.
BETH GONZALEZ: Well, they're asking it of themselves. But some adults are like, you go, girl. You change the law, you know, but I'm like, well, what are we doing?
ALFONSI: The Douglas students inspired a walkout at nearly 3,000 schools for 17 minutes this past Wednesday — one minute for every life lost in Parkland.
EMMAZ GONALEZ: This is what we call the war room. It’s the conference room.
ALFONSI: They allowed us into their newly donated headquarters. We agreed not to reveal the location. [TO STUDENTS] Why are we being secretive?
EMMA GONZALEZ: People have sent us a lot of death threats and I, for one, am paranoid about a bomb being thrown in the window.
HOGG: The fact that I'm getting death threats, Emma's getting death threats, Cameron's getting death threats, it shows the polarized state that America's in.
MANUEL OLIVER: The victims are being represented by people that could've been the victim, all right?
PATRICIA OLIVER: When I feel down I just come here and, you know, I just feel him.
ALFONSI: Manuel and Patricia Oliver's son was murdered in the shooting. Joaquin was 17 years old and considered one of the most well- liked kids in school. Oliver still coaches Joaquin's basketball team. He knows these kids. [TO OLIVERS] What is it that these kids can do, that adults haven't been able to do in the past?
MANUEL OLIVER: These kids have their cellphones on their hands all day and — and we as parents, we criticize that a lot because we ignore the power of that. The difference between this tragedy and others, if you ask me, is that this generation is used to get answers right away. You think they’re going to wait for six months or a year for anybody in Congress or anybody that needs to make the right call?
ALFONSI: They're hardwired to do things quickly.
MANUEL OLIVER: Absolutely. Right away.
ALFONSI: The students have already received more than $3 million in donations, most of it from Hollywood. [TO STUDENTS] You guys have gotten checks from big names. George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, your — Michael Bloomberg's gun control group is helping you. The Women's March people are helping you. How do you make sure those people aren't using you for their specific agendas?
KASKY: Well, we don't let them. You see, that's the thing. We all remember everybody has an agenda.
ALFONSI: These are people with decades of experience.
ALFONSI: Are they giving you guidance?
KASKY: I can't get a hotel room on my own. I'm 17 years old. Of course, we have people helping us with that. I can't get the city permits for ten blocks of — down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. We allow them to help where they can, but we make sure that we are calling the shots and anybody who tries to call a shot for us, we respectfully say, “that's not what this is about.”
ALFONSI: Have you had to do that? Have you seen people trying to push back on you guys?
KASKY: Politicians have asked us to —
EMMA GONZALEZ: Endorse.
KASKY: — endorse them. Nope. You can support us all you want, but if you think you can get your hands on our movement, it's just not going to happen.
ALFONSI: Have you turned people away who have offered money?
ALFONSI: And why have you turned them away?
KASKY: Because they said, “here's some money, if you do this.” The second we get an “if,” sorry. It's gone.
ALFONSI: During our interview, Alex had to leave early for a theatre performance. Cameron, for a family dinner. They are trying to live their teenage lives, and protect them.
ALFONSI: Did you ever think, “I don't want to get into this. This is a nasty fight that I don't want to be in the middle of?”
EMMA GONZALEZ: I mean, I have no choice.
ALFONSI: Well, you do. You don't have to.
EMMA GONZALEZ: No, I don't.
EMMA GONZALEZ [CRYING]: I have no choice because there were there were CNN cameras there and my speech was broadcast all over the country in, like, four seconds, and I had no idea they were going to be there. I'm not upset at that. I'm just, like, never going to be the same person ever again.
ALFONSI: Do you think you'll be able to go back to your life?
EMMA GONZALEZ: I hope so. I don't know. It feels like it's been a year.
ALFONSI: It does.
EMMA GONZALEZ: It really has.
ALFONSI: It's been a month.
EMMA GONZALEZ: It's been less than a month.
60 MINUTES VOICE-OVER: Stoneman Douglas students continue the conversation tomorrow and all this week, on CBS This Morning.