Teenage students lobbying for strict new gun control laws appeared on all three networks on Monday and were hailed as “superheroes” and “voices of a generation.” In total, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 19 minutes and 14 seconds to various young adults from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. None of the networks asked these teens tough questions about exactly how many guns they want to take away and what is the end game for their efforts.
CBS is pushing the gun control efforts most aggressively. On Sunday, 60 Minutes devoted 14 minutes to the teens with no fact checking. On Monday, CBS This Morning offered eight minutes without a single question about the ramifications to the Second Amendment. This Saturday, the network will air a one-hour special on the nationwide attempt to restrict gun rights.
This Morning co-host Gayle King opened the interview with David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez by making clear this would be a 100 percent friendly interview: “Everyone is praising you for your intelligence and poise and focus on this. Have you all had a chance to really reflect and really understand what you all are doing and what it means to the country?”
King added: “They've been calling your group superheroes. They’ve been calling your group superheroes. Do you feel that?”
Hogg hammered the National Rifle Association: "The one thing the NRA is trying to push right now is they're trying to make sure we forget about this.”
Yet, the show’s hosts acted as though there was no other side to this gun control debate.
Good Morning America guest anchor David Muir kept the focus on the personal stories and didn’t delve into how many firearms the advocates want to take away. Talking to Ryan Deitsch and Alex Wind, he lauded: “Have you seen how powerful your voice is?”
Muir cheered: “We’ve always known that the youth is the future. And you guys definitely are.” Oddly, the journalist at one point noted: “People have varied opinions in this country, which you also are fully aware of now that you’re part of this fight.” Yet, no “varied opinions” appeared on GMA.
Instead, Muir sounded like a commercial for the efforts, prompting:
So tell us about the march. When is it and who can take part?.... It’s March for Our Lives and you can look up if you want to take part at places around the country.
On NBC’s Today, co-host Hoda Kotb praised the efforts to restrict guns: “The Parkland students emerging as the voices of a generation and the well-known stars joining the cause.” She also wondered what grade students Cameron Kasky and Jaclyn Corin would give themselves:
A lot of things have changed in the last three weeks. Your efforts have changed laws in Florida. There's a national conversation going on. I was wondering, if you guys were to grade yourself on how well you've done thus far, what grade would you give yourself?
Naturally, it was an A.
At no time did the Today hosts press Kasky on his smear from February 21 equating Senator Marco Rubio to the Parkland shooting. None of the networks made the point that some of these teens have used vulgar language (Hogg called pro-gun politicians "bitches"). Instead, they are the “voices of a generation.”
Kotb came the closest of all three networks to actually asking the students a tough question, though it was still mild. She wondered about all the money they are getting for their efforts. (George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and others have donated $500,000 to Saturday’s march):
You want your message to be pure. I know that's important to you guys. But you get lots of donations from different types of people. How do you make sure that that stuff doesn't influence or change what you guys want to be doing?
NBC’s segment lasted 6 minutes and 55 seconds. ABC’s was 4 minutes and 20 seconds. CBS offered 8 minutes and 1 second. The total for Monday morning was 19 minutes and 14 seconds.
A partial transcript of CBS’s segment can be found below. Click "expand" to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:34:10 to 8:42:11
8 minutes and 1 seconds
GAYLE KING: As many as half a million are preparing to march on Washington this weekend to fight for stricter gun control. Many of them will be high school students. The event follows a nationwide walkout last week inspired by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Students at about 3000 schools protested gun violence since the deaths of 17 people at Stoneman Douglas Highschool last month. Survivors have mobilized a Never Again movement. Their goal is to overcome political obstacles in an effort to influence gun legislation. Among the most vocal students are seniors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg. Both were featured last night on 60 Minutes and they join us at the table. Good morning. Joining us for the first time at the table. We are also looking forward to meeting you both. Hello.
EMMA GONZALEZ: Good morning.
KING: Because everyone is praising you for your intelligence and poise and focus on this. Have you all had a chance to really reflect and really understand what you all are doing and what it means to the country? Do you think about that, Emma?
EMMA GONZALEZ: I personally do. Like, a lot. I think about, like, in the future this will happen. What we're fighting for will happen because we're fighting so strongly for it. We expect it to happen now. And with those expectations, we are going to vote out the people who aren’t acting.
KING: They've been calling your group super heroes. They’ve been calling your group super heroes. Do you feel that?
DAVID HOGG: I don't think we're superheroes. I think we’re what're what every American should be. We are people that are standing up and becoming politically active in our democracy in our own way. I think we saw last week with that walkout is students are walking out, but now they’re going to walk into the polls when they are able to vote. And they are going to vote these people out of office.
JOHN DICKERSON: Is is that where the next has go, Emma? Because right now in response to the shooting what's your response been to what’s happened legislatively in Florida and at the national level?
GONZALEZ: One thing has happened in Florida has happened legislatively. We got a bill signed and that was good. That’s not going to stop there though because, you know, it’s just the beginning. It was barely anything. It was important but as Jackie said on 60 Minutes, it would not stop what happened at our school. We're fighting for that change.
HOGG: I think what's important to realize with that law, too, there are a lot of loopholes. You can be 18 and buy a gun privately under that law and a lot of purchases are purchased that way. It doesn’t take care of the gun show loophole. It doesn't require universal background checks. That has 97 percent support among constituents. It doesn’t cover so many basic things that have widespread support on both sides of the aisle and that’s the part of it that I hate most about it.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: You know, one thing that stood out in your interview on 60 Minutes, was you call yourself the mass shooting generation, and you think about the post-9/11 generation, right? You really put into context what you as students experienced. How has that impacted you even before that deadly shooting? How has that that impacted you on a daily basis?
KING: Emma, you wrote something very moving in Harper's Bizaar. “You said, “My name is Emma Gonzalez. I'm 18, Cuban and bisexual. I'm so indecisive that I can’t pick a favorite color. I’m allergic to 12 things. But none of this matters anymore.” Were the two of you involved in student government before this happened?
KING: How is it the two of you, along with others, became the leaders in this movement? Did you all get together? Talk about it immediately? What happened?
KING: But how did it come about that shortly after the shooting that the two of you became the voice of this? Very early on you had the videotape.
DICKERSON: Emma, what's the most encouraging thing any politician has ever said to you?
KING: You wrote in your report, kids are acting like adults and adults are acting like kids.
HOGG: The one thing the NRA is trying to push right now is they're trying to make sure we forget about this. They expect our generation to have a short attention span and we're not going to let that happen because the second we forget about it, it can and will be you.
GOLODRYGA: Which is one of the reasons you delayed the rally, the nationwide rally for this coming up Saturday. We've heard your voices loud and clear. What is your message to other high school students across the country who also are a part of the mass shooting generation?
GONZALEZ: Get out there and vote. Register to vote.
HOGG: Our message is make sure you get out and vote, make sure that you're registered to vote so you can vote in the primaries and stay educated for the roast your life because the seeds of corruption and greed are always being sowed.
KING: You're both getting death threats. Does that deter you?
KING: Not at all?
GONZALEZ: Everybody gets death threats at some point in their lives, I feel. Be it from a stalker —
HOGG: That's how we know what we're doing matters.
GONZALEZ: They're attacking us personally because they can't find fault in their message. From every single angle everybody knows on a certain level this is unacceptable and it should never have happened. For 20 years it should have never happened.
KING: People are listening to you, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, thank you very much for coming to the table this morning. Emma and David, as you know, are among the students featured in the new CBS primetime documentary. It’s called 39 Days. CBS News embedded with the students in the weeks after the Stoneman Douglas shooting as they turn their grief into action. The March for our Lives in Washington will take place 39 days after the tragedy and you can watch 39 Days Saturday night at 9, 8 central right here on CBS.