By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The Washington Post story, “Media figures on left and right call for new gun-control laws,” hailed Soledad O’Brien of CNN for taking a stand in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. Pretending to be an intellectual heavyweight on the subject, she declared on the channel that the problem in society is “access to semiautomatic weapons.”
O’Brien’s embarrassing outburst, which continued for several minutes during an interview with Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), is another indication of why CNN fails to attract many viewers. I turned on CNN the morning after the tragedy occurred to get some basic facts and instead was forced to endure a liberal rant from Soledad O’Brien about what she thought should be done in light of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut.
In its story about the influence of these “prominent media figures,” the Post failed to note there is nothing sinister about “semiautomatic weapons.” These are weapons protected under the Second Amendment which a person fires one shot at a time. They are used for various purposes, including self-defense.
It appears that O’Brien may have been confusing “semiautomatic weapons” with automatic weapons.
If she did make this mistake, it would not be unusual for media coverage of a tragedy like this. The liberal media frequently jump to conclusions. In this case, they got basic facts wrong early in the story, including the name of the shooter.
We have learned over the period of many years that the media don’t care about the facts because they are pushing a liberal agenda of “gun control.” O’Brien has an agenda and doesn’t want to hear anything to the contrary. It is a mental state that does not serve the public interest and should not be featured on a channel that claims to provide news to its audience.
It is important for people to actually watch or read the exchange O’Brien had with Rep. Mack to understand the liberal fixation on guns rather than on other problems, such as mental illness, or other possible solutions, such as additional security for those at risk of being shot or killed.
O’Brien quickly labeled Mack a Republican and tried to put her on the defensive: “You support gun rights in this country. You’re a Republican, and I think that’s a position very consistent with most Republicans. What does meaningful action, that actually stops these kinds of shootings, look like to you?”
With this kind of introduction, O’Brien was making it clear that, in her view, Republicans were partly responsible for the tragedy. She was exploiting the tragedy for political gain, in order to bolster President Obama’s call for “meaningful action,” whatever that means.
Mack, a rather moderate Republican, replied, in part, that “the question for me is not just gun rights but mental health…And I think if we’re going to debate as a country, gun control, we need to debate what we can do better on mental, the mental health system.”
That the shooter was mentally deranged seems fairly obvious. Mack’s point was that society should address these mental problems. It was not something O’Brien wanted to dwell on. She granted the point but then quickly said, “But let’s go back to gun control. What do you think could be done to make people safe? I mean, there are people who have said, and I think honestly horribly have said that if people were armed inside the school, they would have been able to shoot the shooter. Do you agree with that?”
Notice the reference to self-defense being something “horrible.” Why was it horrible to consider arming people in the school who could have stopped the carnage? Why would it have been horrible to save some of those young lives?
Mack replied, “Well, yes. I mean, that is one portion of it I guess. You know, I think those of us who fly often know that we feel some sort of consolation or safety knowing that there might be air marshals on board. You want to know sometimes if there’s somebody there who can defend you in a situation.”
It was a perfectly reasonable point. The fact is that airplane hijackings and terrorism have been met with more, not less, arms. Additional firearms in the hands of the right people constitute a deterrent.
For example, what about armed security guards in schools?
O’Brien quickly moved on, saying, “But isn’t part of the issue…easy access? We do know that his mother had five legally obtained guns. She was licensed for five guns. At least one of them is this Bush .223—Bushmaster rifle, right? A semiautomatic weapon. He had easy access to that. So I find it hard when people say, well, you know, if you didn’t have a gun, you could do something else. Is the answer then arming more people? That doesn’t make any sense to me honestly.”
It didn’t make sense to O’Brien because she refuses to consider anything other than liberal legislation to control access to weapons by the law-abiding public. Her fumbling over the name of the weapon probably reflects ignorance about firearms. Perhaps she doesn’t like guns. Perhaps she has never fired them. Perhaps she has never been to a shooting range. Whatever the case, she has no sympathy for those who possess guns for these purposes, or for self-defense.
Eventually, O’Brien came out with her own dubious “solution.” She said, “…I think this conversation at some point has to go to what is the normal amount of guns that people can own and how they’re registered and tracked.”
What is “normal?” O’Brien didn’t say. Who would register and track people with guns? By chance, would it be the Obama Administration?
This is obviously a poorly thought-out “solution” to the violence, but it is typical of a liberal in the media who doesn’t think straight and prefers emotionally-charged rants to a rational treatment of a serious matter.
CNN suffers in the ratings and doesn’t serve the interests of an informed public when it puts a blockhead like Soledad O’Brien on the air to spout nonsense.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.