A two-day CBS series, Battle Line Philadelphia, promoted gun control and new taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to reduce urban violence.
CBS aired Battle Line Philadelphia repeatedly on July 23 and July 24, on the Evening News, the Morning News, and the Early Show.
“Just yesterday, in the City of
CBS solicited opinions from multiple liberals but quoted only one token conservative. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's snippets made him sound harsh and out of touch: “To hell with the people that want to sit on their butt and not find prosecutors, courtrooms, judges and prison cells to take these people off the street to make these neighborhoods safe.”
In addition to its liberal-dominated set of interviews, CBS relied on emotional manipulation to make the case against gun rights:
“Either dead or in jail, that's the kind of life it is,” a stoic young man told CBS Correspondent Byron Pitts.
“She was 18 years of age. She got murdered,” said an unidentified woman as a picture of the deceased flashed across the screen.
CBS dotted the July 23 installment of Battle Line Philadelphia with anti-gun imagery. For example, the camera panned across a wall inscribed with the names of the 406 people murdered in
Pitts twice introduced viewers to young men who proudly produced their weapons for the camera, and the last two scenes included a man with a machine-gun tattoo and a concrete pad covered with firearms.
Pitts also introduced Mel Wells, a “community activist”:
“I believe that this is a war,” Mr. Wells opined. “We had -- two weeks ago, we had a grandma was going to church, we had a brother walking out of a bar, we had a lady trying to get up to Temple Hospital to see her mother in the hospital -- all of them dead today. All of them dead today. Yes, I do call that type of thing a war.”
“Traditional policing does not work,” a
What does CBS think is the solution?
Pitts answered with the opinions of unnamed experts: “tougher gun laws, better education, better jobs would make the difference.”
Whether government programs actually work was not important to Mr. Wells, who assured viewers: “As long as you trying, you got something to go for.” Throughout the series, Pitts used Mel Wells as a mouthpiece for CBS, lobbing softballs and failing to challenge his opinions even once.
The July 24 Evening News featured an “employer, a preacher, and a police chief” from “different parts of the country,” each with “different perspectives” on the urban murder problem. In fact, they just restated the same old talking points about inequality and gun control.
“It's about disparity. It's about the distance and a gulf that's ever widening between the haves and the have-nots,” said Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries. Boyle is a member of the left-leaning  American branch of the Society of Jesus.
A gang member from
CBS News went all the way to
Pitts failed to note, however, that police chiefs who support gun control are in the minority. A 2005 survey  by the National Association of Chiefs of Police found that 93.6 percent of chiefs and sheriffs support “civilian gun ownership rights,” and 63.1 percent claimed that concealed-weapons permits reduce violent crime. Not surprisingly, the same survey reports that 93.2 percent say the news media is “not fair and balanced.”
Timoney, a Caucasian, also played the race card: “There's also some inherent racism. I can guarantee you, I can guarantee you, that if 85 percent of the people in big cities were getting killed were white, there would be a different approach to this whole thing.”
“Remember, that's a police chief talking,” Pitts said approvingly.