BOWLED OVER: Nets Promote Anti-Gun Policies Over Gun Rights 14 to 1 in Boulder Coverage

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In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Boulder, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network evening and morning shows sinisterly depicted Republicans, conservatives and gun owners as a “wall of opposition” and “resistance” to “common sense” gun control measures that would save lives. 

In just four days (March 23 through March 26) of coverage, the networks filled their morning show and evening programs with statements favoring gun control over gun rights by a ratio of roughly 14 to 1.

It’s become commonplace for the networks to quickly seize on a mass shooting to champion the Left’s longstanding anti-gun agenda. After the December 2012 killings in a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, NewsBusters found the networks slanted their coverage 8-to-1 in favor of the gun control agenda.

In the wake of the 2016 mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub, the spin was an equally-lopsided 8-to-1. TV coverage of the killings in Las Vegas in 2017 was slanted five-to-one against gun rights, while in the wake of the February 2018 shootings at Parkland High School the networks tilted 11-to-1 in favor of anti-gun activists.

And after the 2019 shootings in El Paso, Texas, the networks tilted an even more lopsided 17-to-1 to the Left.

MRC analysts reviewed all statements that took a position on overall gun policy by anchors, reporters, guests and soundbites, beginning with the morning of March 23 (the morning after the Boulder shooting) through the morning of March 26, and found time spent arguing in favor of more gun control (36 minutes, 11 seconds) overwhelmed time devoted to supporting gun rights (2 minutes and 31 seconds.)  

On March 23, NBC Nightly News correspondent Tom Costello bemoaned “Familiar heartbreak and a gut-wrenching irony, that the victims in Boulder managed to survive a global pandemic, only to die in America’s decades-long epidemic of gun violence….While hate and mental problems occur in every country, America is unique with more guns than there are people…. Just as the country begins to emerge from the COVID darkness, the question many are asking tonight: is America’s new normal just the old normal once again.”

On the morning (March 23) after the Boulder attack, CBS This Morning co-hosts Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil pressed Democratic congressman Joe Neguse to enact more gun control:

Co-host Gayle King to Democratic congressman Joe Neguse: “I want to make sure that we really get to talk to you about what happens next. Because you tweeted last night, ‘Enough is enough.’ What can – what should Congress do now? It seems like we have heard this song, played this record, many times before and nothing changes.”…
Co-host Tony Dokoupil to Neguse: “I remember the Newtown massacre and the feeling like, if not now, when? And yet, those efforts largely came to not, at least federally. What can you do now to make a difference this time around?”…
King to Neguse: “Aren’t you frustrated by this Congressman? I look at countries around the world that look at us and say, ‘What is wrong with you, United States of America?’….We keep pointing fingers at everybody else and nothing gets done here.”

The next day, King and co-host Anthony Mason actually badgered Vice President Kamala Harris to get Biden to take “executive action,” if legislation stalled in Congress:

Co-host Gayle King to Vice President Kamala Harris: “It’s clear that the President’s intention and his frustration are very clear. But the reality is you guys just don’t have the votes [to pass gun control]. So what’s your move?”…
Vice President Kamala Harris: “This is not about getting rid of the Second Amendment. It’s simply about saying we need reasonable gun-safety laws. There is no reason why we have assault weapons on the streets of a civil society. They are weapons of war. They are designed to kill a lot of people quickly.”
King: “Yeah. We all agree….So, what will the Biden administration do? We keep hearing about executive action. What does that mean Madam Vice President?”…
Co-host Anthony Mason: “Madam Vice President, as it stands right now, you do not have the votes. Failing that, is the President prepared to take executive action?…How do you change minds in the Senate. You were in the Senate. You know….But Madam Vice President, we heard from the head of Moms Demand Action earlier in the broadcast, who said that the President has it in his power to do something right now.”
Harris: “And the President has said he is prepared to sign legislation.”
Mason: “But he can also take executive action.”

CBS News was out of control in their anti-gun rights activist agenda. CBS led all networks with the most anti-gun arguments (24 minutes, 39 seconds). NBC came in second, devoting 7 minutes and 39 seconds to statements favoring more gun regulation. ABC spent 3 minutes, 53 seconds on anti-gun arguments. 

A tiny portion of the discussion on the networks was dedicated to arguments in favor of gun rights. One of those moments was CBS This Morning correspondent David Begnaud’s March 25 interview with a survivor of the Boulder shooting attack. Begnaud relayed that supermarket worker Logan Smith “told us he’s a gun owner and he also said this….‘I would appreciate the right to actually bring my weapon, which I’m licensed to carry here at work and have it on me.’ Because he said ‘after what I lived through, I’d like the ability to protect myself and people around me.’” 

(For this study MRC analysts reviewed ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC’s World News Tonight; CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News; NBC’s Today show, NBC’s 3rd Hour Today, NBC Nightly News from March 23 – March 26.) 

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