In January of 2013, in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting, the networks aggressively pushed gun control and compared the struggle for new restrictions to the battle against the Nazis and segregationists. On Thursday, a poll showed support for gun rights to be at the highest point in 20 years. Yet, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today skipped the new survey. CBS This Morning gave it 18 seconds.
Anchor Charlie Rose revealed that "for the first time in two decades, more Americans support gun rights than gun control." He added, "A poll by the Pew Research Center says 52 percent believe it's more important to protect gun rights." [MP3 audio here.]
In fact, the poll found that African Americans are increasingly backing gun rights. The Washington Times explained:
Pew found that 52 percent of Americans say Second Amendment rights are more important than gun control — up 7 percentage points from just after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 schoolchildren and six faculty dead.
That’s the highest approval rating in two decades, and it’s being driven in part by changing attitudes among black Americans, who are increasingly likely to view guns as good for public safety.
Pew found 54 percent of blacks now say firearms protect people from being victims of crimes, compared to 41 percent who say they are a public safety risk. Just two years ago, only 29 percent of blacks said guns were a public safety boon.
“Over the past two years, blacks’ views on this measure have changed dramatically,” Pew researchers said.
Despite a combined running time of six hours, Today and GMA skipped the intriguing new survey. What did they make time for instead? Superficial fluff. Both shows devoted significant amounts of time to the announcement of the Golden Globe nominees. GMA offered ten minutes and 20 seconds. Today produced eight minutes and 40 seconds.
From January 2013, here are some of the more incendiary attacks on the Second Amendment from journalists:
“Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely passing civil rights legislation, as Lyndon Johnson was able to do; and before that, surely, defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby. This is a turning point in this country....Unless we figure out a way to make sure that something like Newtown never happens again, we’re not the country that we once were.”
— CBS’s Bob Schieffer during live coverage of Obama’s gun control speech, Jan. 16, 2013.
“It reminds me a lot of what happened in the South in the 1960s during the civil rights movement. Good people stayed in their houses and didn’t speak up when there was carnage in the streets and the total violation of the fundamental rights of African-Americans as they marched in Selma, and they let Bull Connor and the redneck elements of the South and the Klan take over their culture in effect and become the face of it. And now a lot of people who I know who grew up during that time have deep regrets about not speaking out.”
— Ex-NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, January 17, 2013.
“It used to be that the only way to get elected in the old Dixiecrat South was to be the farthest out there in backing segregation. Anyone who showed moderation was seen as soft....Well, to win in today’s Republican Party, which began displacing the Dixiecrats a half century ago, you have to be the farthest out there backing guns. Show moderation, you get your NRA badge ripped off you. Agree to any rule on gun safety, and you’re marked as a traitor for life....So what happened? Why is the GOP the party of guns over people?”
— Host Chris Matthews starting off MSNBC’s Hardball, January 17, 2013.
“I think that the NRA still has a stranglehold on a lot of Democrats as well as, as well as Republicans. So it’s going to be hard. But the President can use the extremism of the NRA — who are acting like a bunch of crazies these days — to help sell the rest of his agenda.”
— Time’s Joe Klein on The Chris Matthews Show, January 20, 2013.