The MRC's Gun Defenders
After each major gun massacre earlier this year, the Media Research Center devoted time and energy to defending the honor of guns and the refusal of Republicans to do anything meaningful to address gun crime.
By Terry Krepel
Whenever there's a gun massacre, the Media Research Center rushes to defend guns, as right-wingers are apparently mandated to do by their overlords, as well as defend their fellow right-wingers against credible accusations they have done nothing to curb gun crime.
On Monday, ABC’s Good Morning America quickly exploited the horrific shooting at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday to push President Biden’s anti-gun agenda and suggest “politicians and the members of the media,” like former President Donald Trump, were responsible for “an epidemic of violence and hate in this nation.”
Drennen offered no proof that "public policies" -- presumably made by Democrats -- are "responsible for the rise" in violent crime or this particular massacre.
Clay Waters ranted the same day over a New York Times "hit piece" pointing out that Republicans have been racist concepts like replacement theory, offering only lame whataboutism in response: "The man who shot five congressmen at an Alexandria ballfield in 2017 was a fan of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, but don’t hold your breath for the Times to make that point." Waters provided no evidence that Maddow encourage violence against those congressmen -- or against anybody, period.
Curtis Houck grumbled the next day:
Reacting to Saturday’s racially-motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York grocery store, Monday’s CBS Mornings sought to strike fear into the hearts and minds of viewers, insisting “racism is mainstream,” “nowhere is safe,” and “nothing feels safe” with gun violence ready to break out and kill you at a moment’s notice. In response, they tag-teamed with Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to suggest taking a look at the First Amendment.
Houck didn't disprove anything that was said, but he did screech that civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump was a "racial arsonist" while, again, providing no evidence of said "arson."
Scott Whitlock joined in the grousing over CBS in a May 17 post:
CBS Mornings on Tuesday used the evil, racist massacre of African Americans in Buffalo, New York over the weekend to generalize to the whole country. Co-host Gayle King wondered, “Who are we really, as America?” Co-host Nate Burleson agreed, “This is who we are.”
Whitlock couldn't figure it out? Either he's dumb or gets paid well to play dumb. Then Alex Christy complained:
From their stance on guns, to opposition to illegal immigration, to alleged code words, the Tuesday cast of Inside Politics on CNN declared that white people need “to come to terms with” their role in the Buffalo mass shooting. It was also alleged that America does not denounce white supremacy enough.
Of course, thinking about what they say is not something MRC employees do, unless it's designed to advance right-wing narratives. And because it's forbidden for anyone to say anything nice about a speech by President Biden, Houck returned to rant:
All three broadcast networks aired special reports Tuesday afternoon on President Biden’s visit to Buffalo, New York following Saturday’s racist act of terror and, in the case of ABC, senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce was enthralled and almost emotional in vocalizing support for Biden’s broad strokes about white supremacy. In Bruce’s words, Biden was saddled with “a really impossible task...to heal what is still very clear a very broken country.”
As usual, Houck didn't disprove anything that was said. Also, we don't recall Houck ever accusing Trump of "America-bashing" even though he was highly critical of the country he led.
Because it's also forbidden to criticize Fox News, Tober lashed out at one critic even though his tone is little different than what is regularly found on, er, Fox News:
For the second night in a row, the vile leftist Lawrence O’Donnell melted down over the fact that Rupert Murdoch dared to create a news channel that doesn't toe the leftist media line. The worst part of the unhinged rant came at the beginning of O’Donnell’s MSNBC show The Last Word when he accused Murdoch and Republican politicians of not caring how “large the body count gets” in what he describes as “the permanent white supremacist assassination campaign in this country.”
Tober attacked O'Donnell's "vile and frankly dangerous commentary," oblivious to the fact that the Buffalo shooter's embrace echoed that of Fox News host Tucker Carlson,. Doesn't he think that's "vile and frankly dangerous"? Apparently not.
Uvalde school massacre
The bodies weren't even cold in the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas -- where more than 20 students and teachers were murdered by a shooter -- when the MRC kicked in its usual post-massacre stance: protect the guns, attack anyone who calls for even the slightest bit of gun regulation or criticizes the pro-gun absolutism of Republicans as an extreme radical who wants to take all weapons away from everybody.
A May 24 post by Tober got mad at Michael Moore for pointing out that stance and saying that "we love our guns more than we love our children," going on to whine that "Moments later he ghoulishly suggested that the parents should leave the caskets of the children who were shot to death open for the world to see their wounds. The thesis is that this would force Americans to support Moore’s beloved gun control."Tober didn't mention, even though Moore did, that this is how Emmitt Till's mother got America's attention on the issue of racism, or that his employer has endorsed the publishing of graphic images in one specific instance: so that "the world needs to see these images and know about the true tragedy of abortion." Tober apparently does not believe the world needs to see what gun violence does to children.
Nicholas Fondacaro desperately tried to flip the script, bizarrely claiming that anyone who criticized the Uvalde massacre was getting off on the violence:
As their coverage of the tragic shooting in a Uvalde, Texas elementary school progressed into the night Tuesday, things on CNN got downright ghoulish and disgusting as paid analysts and guests were allowed to take things to dark and terrible places. Between former Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem showing a bizarre satisfaction in talking about the “destroyed” “little bodies” of the 18 students killed in the attack and radical anti-gun Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg calling Republicans “evil,” the network was in a downward spiral.
Fondacaro also lashed out at Kayyem for calling the weaponry the killer used "heavy artillery," insisting that it really wasn't:
Claiming they were killed by “heavy artillery” was a gross exaggeration that went unchallenged by Cooper. The school was not shelled from miles away. Reports are conflicting but we believe the shooter had a handgun and a rifle.
Well, that artillery was certainly heavy enough to put the body count in double digits, wasn't it, Nick? Poor guy doesn't understand that insisting guns aren't really deadly in the wake of a massacre is not only a losing argument, it makes him look like an idiot. Maybe Fondacaro finds some kind of sick satisfaction in doing that.
Margaret Buckley complained that Republicans' pro-gun absolutism was called out:
On Wednesday, most people are mourning the losses of young innocent lives along with two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. However, that did not prevent those on MSNBC’s Morning Joe from continuously blaming Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbott, and the rest of the Republican Party for the school shooting that took place.
Buckley didn't dispute anything that was said; instead, she tried rather lamely to distract by huffing, "It is easy to determine that the media will not get anywhere by tirelessly blaming the GOP on the mass shooting."
Tober concluded the day with a post headlined "WATCH: Tucker Reacts to Biden's Divisive Speech in the Way Only He Can." He obviously thinks Tucker ranting and spewing hate "in the only we he can" is a good thing:
Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted President Joe Biden in the immediate aftermath of his bitterly partisan and divisive speech to the nation on the tragic elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which 18 elementary school children and one teacher were killed.
Only in Tucker's -- and the MRC's -- world is trying to stop future massacres considered "divisive." They, of course, deny that there's anything divisive about their pro-gun absolutism.
Highland Park massacre
Following the pattern, the MRC spent the days after the Independence Day gun massacre at a parade in Highland Park, Ill., trying to blame everything else but guns, even though the shooter would not have been able to kill so many people if he had not had a gun. In a July 5 post, Houck whined that TV shows had on the mayor of Highland Park to talk about gun regulation:
In the aftermath of Monday’s Fourth of July shooting in Highland Park, Illinois that left six dead and dozens hurt, CBS Mornings and NBC’s Today partnered Tuesday with Mayor Nancy Rotering (D) as the latter called for the discussion of the suspect’s disturbing social media history (and thus the missed warning signs) and instead focus on banning “weapons of war.”
Houck didn't dispute the accuracy of Rotering's words, instead using his headline to label her a "lefty" despite offering no evidence to back it up other than her criticism of guns, as if that in and of itself is a reliable indicator of political preference.
John Simmons attacked Australian-born baseball player Liam Hendricks for speaking from experience with his own country and having opinions that didn't conform to right-wing pro-gun orthodoxy by pointing out that "suicide rates dropped drastically, our gun-related homicides dropped infinitely" after the country instituted a gun ban following a massacre:
To be fair, Australia has had only one mass shooting since the government implemented their mandatory buy-back program in 1996 (note the word “mandatory,” something Hendricks did not mention). But the low number of mass shootings has come at the expense of Australians being able to defend themselves from an overreaching, tyrannical government.
Simmons didn't explain why commonsense health measures to try and mitigate a deadly pandemic that has killed millions of people around the world were "tyrannical"; then again, he is a rabid anti-vaxxer.
Nicholas Fondacaro complained that CNN's Alisyn Camerota "proposed Orwellian laws designed to monitor and profile gun owners and bar them from exercising their Second Amendment rights." He didn't mention that his employer has endorsed the Orewllian monitoring of women to make sure they don't cross state lines to have an abortion.
Kevin Tober ranted that coverage of gun massacres focused on the inescapable gun part and pointed out that right-wingers like him don't want to talk about said gun part:
On Wednesday night's episode of MSNBC's All In, host Chris Hayes and leftist journalist Aaron Rupar admonished Fox News for not covering the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois in the manner they demand. To Hayes and Rupar, if you don't cover mass shootings from the leftist gun control perspective, you aren't covering the story properly. Any solution other than gun control is inadequate according to them.
Tober went on to grouse after red-flag laws were discussed: "As always, the solution to leftist policy failures is more of the same. Double down and when it continues to backfire, blame conservatives and Fox News for pointing out how the left's agenda has failed."
Brad Wilmouth whined that another logical point was made, that cities with tough anti-gun laws are undermined by surrounding jurisdictions where gun laws are much looser, claiming that it was irrelevant because the shooter's guns were bought in Illinois, further whining that "Journalists and other liberals like to blame the more conservative state of Indiana for crime in Illinois, which has been run by Democrats continuously since after the 2002 elections." In fact, one of five recovered guns used in crimes in Chicago came from Indiana.
The MRC then moved to a different distraction: minimizing the Highland Park massacre by hyping crime in Chicago,.(The MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com already loves to do that whenever it's politically advantageous.) Mark Finkelstein showed how it's done in a July 7 post:
Over the July 4th weekend:
Finkelstein went on to complain that Wallace and her guest Peter Strzok, the Trump-hating, ex-FBI agent, focused on the race of the Highland Park suspect," while there was "no mention of the age or race of the Chicago shooters. Wonder why?" Wonder why Finkelstein is so sensitive about people pointing out the fact that the perpetrators of recent gun massacres are young white men.
Later that day, Houck highlighted a Washington Post story that followed the MRC's Chicago distraction narrative:
In a front page and above-the-fold story for Thursday’s print edition, The Washington Post discovered a reality that dozens of people are shot and killed every week and weekend in Chicago, Illinois, but there’s barely any national attention given to the plight of Chicagoans in contrast to the equally horrifying mass shootings in suburbs and other more economically prosperous areas.
Of course, the Post wasn't using the Chicago shootings to distract from the Highland Park massacre like Houck is.
On July 10, Kevin Tober similarly praised a non-right-wing outlet for pushing its narrative:
On CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper confronted Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on a common theme that even casual observers of leftist politicians and media have noticed. That is they always focus on tragic one time incidents like mass shootings, yet ignore the daily shootings in Chicago which cause more deaths on a weekly basis than mass shootings.
Actually, Tober doesn't want any attention at all given to the Highland Park massacre because it outlines the destruction caused the conservative movement's all-guns-everywhere-no-questions-asked policy and its glorification of gun culture that emboldens disaffected young men.
The MRC only cares about Chicago violence when it serves its purposes to do so -- and the proof of that is that it devoted only one more article related to the Highland Park massacre, a July 10 item by Finkelstein complaining that "the media's favorite youthful gun-grabber David Hogg" argued that the massacre's perpetrator was a "white nationalist" and brought up "the trauma and PTSD that black and brown communities have from experiencing a disproportionate about of gun violence" and historical issues like redllining. Rather than try to prove Hogg wrong, Finkelstein sneered, "Why do liberals always want to have 'conversations around' issues? Anyhow, bonus woke points to Hogg for working redlining into his spiel."
Of course, conservatives like Finkelstein and his fellow MRC writers want no conversations at all about gun violence lest they lose on the facts.