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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
Posted 8/24/2022

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.

Thus, the MRC wasn't just defending replacement theory in the wake of the Buffalo gun massacre after the racist alleged shooter invoked it in his manifesto; Kyle Drennen huffed in a May 16 post:

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.”


[Correspondent Mary] Bruce then decided to be more blatant in her politicization of the attack: “I think it’s important for us all to remember that President Biden said he was inspired to run for president because of how former President Trump responded to white supremacists marching through Charlottesville, Virginia.” She promoted how “Biden made this issue a real centerpiece of his campaign” but that “advocates say it’s simply not enough.”

“They want to see this administration and the president put more political muscle behind this issue and the issue of guns,” Bruce declared of left-wing activists. However, she lamented that Biden’s agenda was stalled: “But we have seen this many times, Robin, despite repeated efforts by some in Washington, there simply is no appetite from Republicans and some Democrats to enact meaningful gun reform.”

In the wake of such horrendous killings, the leftist media instinct is always to bemoan “gun violence” or political rhetoric but never to discuss the surge in crime across the nation and the public policies responsible for the rise.

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.

So long as the press maintains their free speech, it’s to heck with everyone else’s, right?

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.”

Later in the show, guest Ian Bremmer lamented the United States as completely mired in hate: “We elected Obama. Didn’t make a difference. The fact is the United States today is the most politically divided and dysfunctional of the advanced industrial democracies.”

The author allowed that the United States is still a magnet to many: “The dollar is really strong. People want to come to our country still. We have this great technology. Our military certainly works. We see all of that." But, he concluded, “Washington is so divided that we can't get the obvious done.”

What is the obvious? Bremmer didn’t say.

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.

Towards the end of a panel discussion recapping President Biden’s speech in Buffalo, senior political analyst Nia-Malika Henderson tied guns to white supremacy:


The idea that white supremacy is not denounced enough is absurd. If anything, it has become trivialized, as Henderson immediately demonstrated, “You know, we, sort of, talk about white supremacy, but it's also the ways in which people talk about folks coming across the border. The demonizing that goes around, about those folks about, that somehow they also are a threat to Americans.”

Host John King then brought the segment to a close with allegations of covert white supremacy, “There are a lot of people who say that they're not racist. They've never said a racist thing who use words that are code.”

Alluding to something to something chief political correspondent Dana Bash mentioned earlier, King declared, “You mentioned silence encourages this. So do certain words and certain actions as well and so the president asking everybody to think about what you say. We'll see if that happens.”

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 heal what is still very clear a very broken country.”

Ah, nothing like a good side of America-bashing too in the same vein as CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King hours earlier.


Over on CBS, correspondent Ed O’Keefe identified those who wanted Biden to do more were Democrats and demand he “cite people who work at Fox News” and “Republican leadership, especially in the House.”

O’Keefe also touched on a proposal from House Democrats to expand resources to investigate domestic terrorism, but has been stalled due to Democratic infighting about how it could backfire in the future even though they’d use it to “target [Republican] groups, perhaps closer to the white supremacy thought that the President is calling out.”

And on NBC, far-left Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson argued that white supremacy was not only “part of the history of this country,” but “a growing part of the present.” In other words, look for white supremacy around every corner!

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.”

Much like he did on Monday night, O’Donnell blamed Fox News chairman and founder Rupert Murdoch for the shooting at the Buffalo supermarket on Saturday. O’Donnell wailed that no one has profited more from the great replacement theory “lie than billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who has complete and total control over all of the lies pushed on the Fox network that he owns and operates.”

Claiming the chairman of a major news network and the Republican Party don’t care how many Americans die from mass shootings is beyond disgusting. The premise of the entire controversy is wrong. The mass shooter behind the tragedy in Buffalo wrote in his manifesto that he thought Fox News was out to get him and specifically attacked Murdoch.

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.

While speaking with host Erin Burnett, Guttenberg praised Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (CT) for acting “heroic” today with his screed on the Senate floor. He then attacked Republicans by claiming they don’t love their kids.


For this go around, Kayyem flaunted a sick satisfaction with talking about the mutilated bodies of the young children. “I think it's important to be graphic. I think the word shooting can sound sanitary since we're dealing with them so often,” she argued as her justification.

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.

Do you know whose schools are getting shelled by artillery and multi-launch rocket systems? Ukraine’s, by Russian invaders. And Cooper should have known better since he’s been there recently.

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.

The show started out with its main host Joe Scarborough going after Republicans, branding them as cowards, liars, hypocrites, barbarians among other things. Scarborough compared their reactions to those on 9/11 and January 6, expressing how “they want you to forget about it”, or simply think “that’s just the cost of freedom.”

However, the blaming did not stop there, as MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle remarked that you get Cruz and Abbott “when you mix insanity with hypocrisy.”

Scarborough even went after Fox News. He accused them of spreading paranoia across America, alerting gun owners that the government is coming for their guns and scaring these “freaks” and conspiracy theorists as a result. “We also hear something really gross from the same people who will desperately seek, to find any crime that an illegal immigrant causes and then run it on the TV network for 24 hours a day,” he added.

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.

Carlson, who suspected Biden might decide to further divide the country during his speech warned viewers moments prior to the President coming to the podium that “if the President uses the deaths of children to try to make himself more powerful, he really is a loathsome man unworthy of leading this country.” But if he doesn’t, Carlson hedged, “he will get praise from us and from every American.”

Sadly, Biden did the former.

Instead of giving a speech to unite and calm a heartbroken nation, Biden decided to go after his political opponents and the “gun lobby.”

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.”

Rotering first appeared on NBC and, after being asked to provide an update on the case, co-host Hoda Kotb noted that, nine years ago, Rotering “signed an assault weapons ban that was in place and is in place,” meaning it didn’t prevent the shooting.


Rotering went unchallenged as she lashed out at those who disagree with her city’s views on gun control, smearing Americans as having “values” that “are askew” to the point that millions of Americans robbed them of happiness on the Fourth of July.

“[B]ecause of this gun culture, our nation turned its back on us and turned its back on our celebration. We, as a country, have to have a very strong conversation with ourselves...[I]t’s one of those things where you ask yourself: If this reflects the values of who we are, then what does that say about us as a nation,” she added.

Kotb tried to turn the focus back to the investigation, but Rotering not only dismissed the idea of talking about the warning signs, but she called for discussion of the suspect’s social media to “be diminished.” What’s clear, Rotering argued, was that the deranged individual “had a — a mental breakdown” and “weapons of war” allowed him to escalate his hate.

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.

Australia had some of the strictest lockdown restrictions in the world. They enforced an incredibly draconian stay at home order for several months, and police officers would go to people’s houses to make sure they were staying inside. The government could afford to oppress its citizens in large part because Australians would not be able to resist in any meaningful way since they had no access to firearms.

This is why the Second Amendment is such an important right for Americans. Men much smarter than Hendricks saw that tyrannical governments can easily oppress citizens who cannot defend themselves, which is why each American has a constitutionally protected right to own firearms. Of course, mass shootings happen and those are undeniably tragic, but to say that taking guns away to stop them from happening will leave its citizens at the mercy of its government to treat them fairly, which history shows is not a good course of action.
Hendricks really missed the strike zone on this assessment.

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.

Emma Schultz asserted that CNN's Laura Coates "tried to whip the audience into a hysteria" and "pushed her personal overly concerned thoughts and phobias on the audience" by accurately noting that the massacre might make some people afraid to go out in public. Schultz also claimed that Coates "introduced fabricated data from the anti-gun rights Gun Violence Archive to back up her opinions stating that “there have been 319 mass shootings just this year and 17 in the first four days of July.” As ConWebWatch has documented, those numbers aren't "fabricated" at all -- those people are still dead -- they are just counted in a way that the MRC disapproves of because the higher number makes guns look bad.

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.

"There is a ritual that is set in on the right in the wake of the horrifying and regular spectacle of mass gun violence. In the aftermath, Republicans and right-wing media have a series of decisions to make about what to do to take attention away from what is the most obvious source of the problem" Hayes proclaimed.

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 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:
  • Seven people were shot to death in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb.
  • Ten people were shot to death in Chicago .
One is rare, and the other is routine. But some liberal outlets are noticing the attention gap.

The Washington Post ran a front-page story on Thursday that lamented "There are no crowdsourced charity drives raising millions for victims’ families in Chicago, where the holiday weekend death toll reached at least 10 with 62 injured — numbers that exceed the toll in Monday’s mass shooting at a July 4th parade in nearby Highland Park, Ill. In that affluent lakeside suburb, the violence was an anomaly. Here, it is a grimly regular occurrence."

But on her MSNBC show on Tuesday, Nicolle Wallace focused exclusively on the seven Highland Park shooting deaths. Not a word about the 10 shooting deaths in Chicago. Note that in 2021, there were 3,561 shooting incidents in Chicago, and 797 homicides.

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.

Reporter Robert Klemko penned the story under the print headline “Toll on South Side eclipsed suburb’s, but drew no furor” (and “With little outcry, Chicago’s bloody weekend eclipsed Highland Park toll” online) that gave away the media game of fixating on certain acts of gun violence, but not others.

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.

After discussing the terrible mass shooting in Highland Park on Independence Day with Pritzker, Tapper correctly noted that “the fourth of July weekend death toll in Chicago, as you know, surpassed the Highland Park shooting.”


The fact of the matter is the American people are paying more attention to the Highland Park shooting not because of the weapon used but because the media focuses on mass shootings more than the deadly shootings that occur every weekend in Democrat run cities like Chicago, Los Angeles or New York City.

All these incidents are tragic and should be given equal treatment.

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.

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