At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hyperventilated over a newly released ad from the National Rifle Association pointing out the hypocrisy of President Obama on gun control: "Getting personal. The National Rifle Association out with a powerful new ad this morning, bringing the President's family into the gun debate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The ad in question simply noted that Obama's daughters were protected in school by armed guards while the President was pushing for gun restrictions. Introducing a report on the ad, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed that it "gets very personal." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd followed: "...the NRA is signaling it intends to fight the President, and it's using this new web video that hits close to home, targeting his daughters."
Have a look at the screengrab: it shows Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, she holding chin in hand, he hanging head. Their melodramatic reactions come in response to an NRA ad decrying the hypocrisy of political and media elites who want "gun free zones" in the schools where most Americans send their children, while sending their own children to schools with armed guards.
The panel's reaction was one of collective hyperventilation. Mike Barnicle called the ad "political pornography." Donny Deutsch said it's "one of the grossest things I've ever seen in my life." Scarborough asked Mika "what's wrong with these people?" Brzezinski replied that some of the people running the NRA are "sick in the head" and that she is "embarrassed for our country." But what of the substantive point made by the ad? View the video, including the ad, after the jump.
In an interview with National Rifle Association president David Keene on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "Do you have the support in Congress to block any federal ban on assault weapons in the coming year?...How close do you think Congress can get on that?" He then speculated: "People talk about the power of the NRA. They look at it almost, you know, in monumental terms. Do you think in the wake of these shootings that power has been eroded at all, Mr. Keene?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Keene rejected the framing of Lauer's question and explained: "Americans who believe strongly in the Second Amendment, and their right to own privately and use firearms for legitimate purposes, is a huge number of people who really care about these issues....it's not the power of the NRA, Matt. What it is, is the strength of belief among millions of Americans in their right under the Constitution to privately own firearms."
With Lauren Thompson
The Newtown massacre spurred another round of calls for gun control, with a bill banning “assault weapons” emerging in the senate and the president threatening to take as yet unspecified executive action.
To be sure, Vice President Biden is meeting with entertainment industry representatives to discuss the violence ubiquitous on film and in video games. Given the cozy relationship between Democrats and Hollywood, those talks should produce nothing but photo-ops.
The New York Times continues to helpfully lay out a path for Obama to order up gun control legislation in the wake of the tragedy at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Tuesday's lead story by Jennifer Steinhauer and Charlie Savage wasted no time in politicizing things: "Pro-Gun Democrats Signaling Openness to Limits; Town Starts the Mournful task of Saying Goodbye."
Demonstrating rapidly shifting attitudes toward gun control in the aftermath of a massacre in a Connecticut school, many pro-gun Congressional Democrats -- including Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a longstanding gun rights supporter -- signaled an openness Monday to new restrictions on guns.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has joined the list of his colleagues deciding to disgustingly politicize the tragic Colorado shooting. On Tuesday night, O’Donnell felt the need to attack Wayne LaPierre of the NRA and Republican Senator Ron Johnson (Wis.) for their support of the Second Amendment.
O'Donnell started off his "Rewrite" segment claiming LaPierre was a "blood-drenched lobbyist" who is a "defender of mass murderers’ right to use hundred-round ammo clips." O’Donnell appeared shocked that Sen. Johnson believes a mass-murderer like James Holmes would still seek to obtain high-powered weapons regardless of stricter gun-control laws.
The Los Angeles Times has published an inane and irresponsible piece of political commentary about the recent mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. This time it's cartoonist and columnist David Horsey, blaming the NRA for the bloodbath, both in writing and in a cartoon depicting a callous Wayne LaPierre quipping "I hope the guns weren't harmed."
Let's also consider the statistics that show deaths caused by guns, including suicides, are more common in regions of the country where gun laws are the most lax. Let's have a reasoned discussion that acknowledges the right to bear arms and also recognizes that every one of our liberties has a limit. Let's try to craft sensible gun regulations that promote public safety in circumstances we can predict, even if they cannot stop the unpredictable, random horror of a gunman who has slipped past the boundaries of civilized life.
Why do conservatives not want to have that discussion now? I'll tell you why: Because they have let the most extreme elements of the gun-rights community dictate gun policy for the entire country and now they are afraid to cross them. For conservatives, this is not the time for a discussion about guns because, no matter how much blood is spilled, even in preventable circumstances, it is a discussion they never plan to have.
I have a news bulletin for Horsey. Suicide isn't illegal. Taking your life with a gun doesn't make suicide any more tragic than by overdosing on pills, hanging yourself, or sticking your head in a gas oven. It's just that suicide-by-gun includes an implement that the left loves to hate.