NBC Hails People Magazine’s ‘Call to Action’ for Public to ‘Rise Up’ for Gun Control

On Thursday, NBC’s Today joined CNN in promoting the latest issue of People magazine, which demanded congressional action on gun violence. At the top of the morning show, co-host Savannah Guthrie heralded: People gets political. The glossy magazine known more for its celebrity scoops and red-carpet fashions wades into one of the most controversial issues in America. Is the magazine taking sides?”

Later, while introducing a nearly three-minute segment on the topic, Guthrie declared: “The entertainment magazine has a call to action of sorts.” Correspondent Stephanie Gosk followed: “People magazine has a message for the people, rise up, reach out, and tell Congress to do something.”

A soundbite ran of People’s editor Jess Cagle proclaiming: “One thing is very, very clear, and that is as a country, we are not doing enough about gun violence.”

Gosk touted: “People posted and published the contact information for all 535 voting members of the Senate and the House, along with this fact: Over 10,000 people have been killed this year alone by guns.”

After noting how Cagle “was inspired by President Obama's speech following the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon,” she laughably asserted: “Cagle says this is not about an agenda.” Cagle professed: “I think that any time you try to start a conversation, some people take it as, ‘You want to take away my guns or you want to take away my liberties.’ I was very careful not to even take a side.”

Moments later, Gosk added: “Cagle says he is tired of the rhetoric.” Cagle lectured: “Let's hold our representative's feet to the fire and let’s let them know that these kind of routine responses are just not going to cut it anymore.”

Gosk mentioned “applause mixed with vows to cancel subscriptions” on social media in response to the magazine’s activism. She lamented: “Proof that when it comes to guns, everything is political.”

She concluded: “Inaction on Capitol Hill after a mass shooting is what many have come to expect. People magazine's editor is hoping to move the needle, but will voter outcry be loud enough to overcome political reality?”

Today devoted another two-minute segment to the story at the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour, with co-host Willie Geist telling viewers:

People tackling the issue of gun violence this week. It pays tribute to the victims of last week's Roseburg, Oregon shooting, then calls on readers to do something about gun violence in America. The magazine has actually published the contact information for all 535 voting members of the House and Senate, urging readers to contact them, obviously to grab the reader’s attention....They’ve got a huge readership and they want to call – they say this is not a call to one side or the other of the issue, they just want people to start talking about it in a civil way.

Here is a full transcript of Gosk’s October 8 report:

7:00 AM ET TEASE:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: People gets political. The glossy magazine known more for its celebrity scoops and red-carpet fashions wades into one of the most controversial issues in America. Is the magazine taking sides?

7:31 AM ET SEGMENT:

GUTHRIE: Let’s begin this half hour with the latest issue of People magazine. If you pick it up, you might notice a different headline on the cover. The entertainment magazine has a call to action of sorts. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk has more on that story this morning. Steph, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “People’s” Call to Action; Magazine Wades Into Gun Control Debate]

STEPHANIE GOSK: Good morning, Savannah. Well, the mass shooting at an Oregon community college last week has reignited the debate over one of the most contentious policy issues of our generation, gun violence. President Obama will travel there on Friday to visit with families of the victims. But the trip has angered locals, who say Obama is not welcome because he is using his visit to gain support for his gun control agenda. Now People has launched itself into the debate as well.

People magazine has a message for the people, rise up, reach out, and tell Congress to do something.

JESS CAGLE [EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE]: One thing is very, very clear, and that is as a country, we are not doing enough about gun violence.

GOSK: People posted and published the contact information for all 535 voting members of the Senate and the House, along with this fact: Over 10,000 people have been killed this year alone by guns. Editor Jess Cagle says the idea was inspired by President Obama's speech following the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon.

BARACK OBAMA: Somehow, this has become routine.

CAGLE: I was watching President Obama give his speech, and when he got up to speak, I rolled my eyes and I thought, “Oh, here he is again. There has been nothing done about the last mass shooting.”

GOSK: Cagle says this is not about an agenda.

CAGLE: I think that any time you try to start a conversation, some people take it as, “You want to take away my guns or you want to take away my liberties.” I was very careful not to even take a side.

GOSK: The sides are already well staked out, echoed over and over on the campaign trail this week.

HILLARY CLINTON: The idea that you need more guns to stop people who are committing mass shootings is not only illogical but offensive.

JEB BUSH [CBS EVENING NEWS]: Name a case where gun rights being restricted out of Washington would have changed the course of any of those cases.

GOSK: Cagle says he is tired of the rhetoric.

CAGLE: Let's hold our representative's feet to the fire and let’s let them know that these kind of routine responses are just not going to cut it anymore.

GOSK: But like it or not, People's call to action has thrown the magazine into the political fray. On social media, there was applause mixed with vows to cancel subscriptions. Proof that when it comes to guns, everything is political.

Inaction on Capitol Hill after a mass shooting is what many have come to expect. People magazine's editor is hoping to move the needle, but will voter outcry be loud enough to overcome political reality? Savannah?

GUTHRIE: Interesting story, Steph. Thank you very much.


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NBDaily Congress Guns Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Stephanie Gosk Jess Cagle Savannah Guthrie