The journalists on the Today show, Friday, touted how “emotional” Barack Obama became in his push for more gun control. In the wake of a mass shooting in Oregon, Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie cited statistics from liberal organizations and allowed no conservative, pro-Second Amendment voices to appear on the show.
Matt Lauer recapped the President’s comments: “ An emotional President Obama spoke about the shootings. He challenged reporters to go back and tally up the number of Americans who died in terrorist attacks in the last decade versus the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence.”
Without any ideological label, Lauer recounted how a liberal website took up the President’s assignment:
MATT LAUER: A reporter from Vox.com did just that, tweeting his findings to the President, revealing that from 2001 to 2011 more than 10,000 Americans were killed each year by gun violence compared with the few hundred killed each year by terrorist attacks with the notable exception of 9/11.
Guthrie promoted the group Everytown for Gun Safety. She neutrally referred to it as simply “a group whose mission it is to reduce gun violence.” In fact, it’s a Michael Bloomberg-created pro-gun control organization.
According to journalist Peter Alexander, Obama “delivered [his remarks] with unprecedented emotion.” Later, Chuck Todd lobbied the President to take up the cause, saying, “ It's not just us in the media. He probably has to go grab this and campaign around the country around as if he wants to refocus Washington on this issue.”
It’s not just us in the media?
The only time any hint of opposition came was at the end of Alexander’s news report. The journalist quickly cited Mike Huckabee:
PETER ALEXANDER: Mike Huckabee, running for president, blasted President Obama calling his comments shameless and "ignorantly inflammatory, adding that the President in his words can exploit any tragedy that he wants, but it's clear that gun-free zones," Huckabee said, "are sitting duck zones."
Of course, Today failed to actually bring anti-gun control voices to the show.
In 2012, in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting, journalists rushed to push gun control. According to the Media Research Center’s Geoffrey Dickens, “Stories advocating gun control outnumbered those in favor of gun rights by a 10 to 1 ratio.”
Partial transcripts of the October 2 segment are below:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Some numbers really put this into perspective. There have been 41 school shootings this year alone. That’s according to Every Town. That’s a group whose mission it is to reduce gun violence that. That group also reports that this is the 142nd school shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School back in December 2012.
MATT LAUER: This morning’s Daily News, New York Daily News, puts the number of shooting deaths since that tragedy at more than 87,000. As we reported on Thursday, an emotional President Obama spoke about the shootings. He challenged reporters to go back and tally up the number of Americans who died in terrorist attacks in the last decade versus the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence. A reporter from Vox.com did just that, tweeting his findings to the President, revealing that from 2001 to 2011 more than 10,000 Americans were killed each year by gun violence compared with the few hundred killed each year by terrorist attacks with the notable exception of 9/11.
MATT LAUER: Chuck Todd is moderator of Meet the Press, as well as NBC's political director. Chuck, good morning to you. The President in his remarks yesterday at the White House said this has become routine. We are all numb to this. Take me inside the atmosphere in Washington. It seems to me there is a short-term reaction to these incidents and a longer term reality.
CHUCK TODD: No, there is, and it is a routine reaction. So what you have is you have folks on the left who want more gun control. They say similar things to what the President did. On the right those who are — don't — who believe that it isn't a gun control issue say, “oh, let's focus on mental health” and then it does this for about 48 hours and then everybody moves on because the fact of the matter is you have a whole bunch of political leaders, who don't want to deal with the politics of this, who are afraid of the NRA who the President mentioned and not by name. And the President himself succumbed to gun politics in his first term. It is interesting to note that he has — and I think Sandy Hook absolutely sort of changed him on this, but he's succumbed to the politics of this in the first term.
He avoided the gun issue and when Eric Holder, the then-attorney general, wanted to pursue an assault weapons ban, he got slapped down by the White House in the first term, because they were afraid of the politics of this. So the President is not alone on this front, and he's also — when he lectures everybody, he probably has to look in the mirror, too. And I think that he does regret not pushing this now in hindsight, so I guess my question is going to be what is he going to do in the next week or two? Does he throw down the gauntlet? He did so after Sandy Hook. He sounded like a guy who was going to do that. But that's what it's going to take. It's not just us in the media. He probably has to go grab this and campaign around the country around as if he wants to refocus Washington on this issue.