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Sunday, July 10, 2022
CNS Pushes Pro-Gun Spin, Deflection After Texas School Massacre

Just as it did after the Buffalo massacre, went into defense mode after the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. A May 25 article by Susan Jones grumbled about President Biden's remarks following the shooting:

The president blamed the "gun lobby," the reflexive response of people who believe gun bans are the solution. There was no mention of hardening schools with metal detectors or other serious security measures used to prevent mass shootings at airports, government buildings, even museums.

Jones went on to gush that Fox News host Laura Ingraham "made the point that 51 people were shot and killed in Chicago, just in the month of April."By contrast, another article by Jones that day praised Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for reliably spouting the gun lobby's post-massacre talking points:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Lt.-Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox News in separate interviews on Tuesday that one way to minimize school shootings is to "harden the targets."


Paxton said "absolutely" it's possible to arm teachers: "That's something that should be done. They are the ones on the ground. They are right there.

"If we're going to save these kids and stop mass shootings from occurring, we have to have people that are prepared and trained to react appropriately and quickly with urgency, because we just don't have the resources to get law enforcement there quickly. This has to be part of the solution."

Yet another "news" article by Jones that day cited a "bitter screed" by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough calling for increased gun regulation, then tried to reframe the massacre to distract from the fact that the shooter was heavily armed: "The 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at an Uvalde, Texas elementary school came from a broken home. He reportedly shot and seriously wounded his grandmother, with whom he was living, before acting out the veiled threats he made on social media."

Craig Bannister served as stenographer for an anti-abortion fanatic, writing that "'It’s totally despicable' for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to try to justify the mass slaughter of millions of unborn babies by vilifying Second Amendment supporters, pro-life advocate and Live Action Founder Lila Rose said Wednesday." Another Bannister article hyped pro-gun zealot Dana Loesch claiming that "Instead of blaming legal gun owners, Democrats should be looking at the influences that shaped the individual who was personally responsible for the shooting."

Like its Media Research Center parent, CNS lashed out Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke for channeling anger over the massacre during a press briefing led by his Republican opponent, Gov. Greg Abbott; a May 25 article by Melanie Arter was headlibned "Democrat Beto O’Rourke Interrupts Gov. Abbott’s Press Conference on School Shooting to Make a Political Statement." Of course, CNS has never accused anyone spouting pro-gun talking points of making political statements.

The next day, Arter gave a platform to a Republican senator to uncritically spout more gun lobby talking points:

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo” on Wednesday that it’s “not acceptable” to say that the 18-year-old Uvalde school shooter is going to “wipe out gun ownership across the country” for “responsible gun owners.”

“We all have incredible grief in this. Let me first say thank you to folks in the Border Patrol community and the local law enforcement that responded incredibly rapidly in this situation to be able to engage the challenges of how you deal with a needle in a haystack at this point,” the senator said.

“There are millions and millions of gun owners in America, and to be able to say this one 18-year-old is now going to wipe out gun ownership across the country is absolutely not acceptable for the responsible gun owners that are out there that are trying to identify why this 18-year-old went and buys guns for his 18th birthday, shoots his grandmother, and then goes to elementary school and kills 7-year-olds. He’s irrational and unthinkable in so many ways,” he added.

By contrast, a May 26 article by Jones highlighting Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin's call for a "good faith invitation" to Republicans to discuss gun regulation injected other viewpoints and much editoralizing. Jones sneered that Durbvin "didn't say" that he supports "an 'assault' weapons ban" and added that "the National Rifle Association does oppose the two Democrat bills" regarding gun regulation.

More deflection came in a May 26 article by Craig Bannister touting how "former NFL safety-turned-evangelist" Jack Brewer declared that "a godless upbringing, combined with the influence of media and godless teachers, has left the minds of children – like the Uvalde shooter – confused" and "embracing sin." Contrast that uncritical treatment with his hostile response later that day to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer pointing out how Republicans refuse to do anything about gun violence:

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) used the deadly Uvalde, Texas shooting to repeatedly vilify Make-America-Great-Again (“MAGA”) Republicans, in a Senate speech pitching his "Domestic Terrorism Protection Act" on Thursday.

“No amount of bloodshed seems to be enough for MAGA Republicans,” Schumer said, adding that Americans are sick of hearing “the same string of hollow words from the MAGA Republicans that never lead to action.”

“MAGA Republicans don't want to get the results,” Schumer claimed. He smeared MAGA Republicans again while praising Texas Democrat gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke for interrupting a press conference by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott:

Bannister did not disprove anything Schumer said, making it impossible for him to claim there was any sort of "smear."

Arter returned to stenography mode with a May 26 article parroting a Republican congressman's claim that "The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (HR 8), which Democrats are demanding that the Senate pass, would not have stopped the Uvalde school shooter from purchasing weapons." Another article that day from intern Stephanie Samsel hyped right-wing radio host Mark Levin ranting that an NBA coach was a "moron" and "derelict" for having an opinion about the massacre that didn't agree with his.

CNS also made sure to hype claims that police on the scene did little to stop the shooter while the massacre was going on in another apparent attempt to shift blame away from guns:

Meanwhile, Arter was in stenography mode again. In a May 27 article, she let the mayor of Uvalde play politics by requesting that the government spend money on mental health instead of "sending billions of dollars to countries 'that don’t even like us,'" while being silent on the fact that the previous month, Texas Gov. Abbott cut $211 miliion in funding to the agency that oversees the state's mental health programs. And she wrote what was essentially a press release for the gun lobby in a May 28 article:

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre addressed the Uvalde school shooting at the group’s national convention in Houston, Texas, on Friday, saying that restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms is not the answer to gun violence.


“There are absolutely certain things we can and must do. Where we part ways with the president and those in his party is on the policy question, and what we can and should do to prevent the hate-filled vile monsters who walk among us from committing their evil. Restricting the fundamental human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been,” he said.

“Each year, over 1 million law-abiding men and women use a firearm to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. That is over 1 million innocent Americans every year who owe their lives and the lives of their loved ones to their 2nd Amendment rights. Taking away their right to self-defense is not the answer, but there are certain common sense things we can and we must do,” LaPierre said.

“We need to protect our schools, because our children deserve at least and in fact more protection than our banks, stadiums, and government buildings. They are our most treasured and precious resource, and they deserve safety and protection,” he said.

Arter stayed in stenography mode for a May 31 article in which she uncritically transcribed a Republican congresswoman blaming single-parent families for the massacre. A June 2 article by Jenny Olohan promoted Ingraham's baseless conspiracy theory that the shooter's marijuana use caused the massacre. And Bannister gushed that day how "In May, U.S. firearm sales surpassed one million for a record 34th straight month, as Americans sought protection from mass shootings - as well as from politicians pushing for more laws infringing on citizens’ gun rights," apparently obvious to the fact that the right-wing "more guns, less crime" trope has failed.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:37 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 10, 2022 6:23 PM EDT

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