Media Consider Cultural Culpability; NRA's "Cruel Reminder"
2) Except Face the Nation, the broadcast network Sunday shows gave more time to holding the culture than the gun industry culpable. Bob Schieffer castigated Dan Quayle: "No offense Mr. Quayle, but this ought to be an excuse" to enact new gun control laws.
Best quote from the Sunday talk shows. Bill Bennett on NBC's Meet the
Are media opinion leaders moving beyond the standard blaming of too many guns, willing to give credibility to the cultural critique forwarded by social conservatives? Holding the entertainment and computer game industries accountable for their violent lyrics and games received more time on some weekend interview and news shows than calls for more gun control, though there were notable exceptions. And two Washington journalists who can be counted on to relay the usual liberal line actually gave violent lyrics and games equal culpability as guns.
-- More time for examining cultural influences than blaming guns. Meet the Press host Tim Russert interview Tipper Gore about the influence of the entertainment industry, as did ABC's Cokie Roberts on This Week, but neither show devoted a segment to guns. (See item #4 below for a noteworthy question and phrase issued by Russert.) Meet the Press also featured a roundtable looking at the culture with Pat Buchanan, Senator Joe Lieberman, Bill Bennett and James Garbarino, the author of the book Lost Boys. William Bennett also appeared along with Alvin Poussaint on Fox News Sunday. 60 Minutes led Sunday night with an examination of the issues behind the lawsuit against some film and video game companies by parents in Paducah, Kentucky, focusing on the contention by retired Lt. Colonel David Grossman that video games like Doom are "murder simulators."
-- Giving equal
weight to cultural influences and bad parents as blaming guns. On Inside
Washington, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas lashed out at
the "creepy" Internet but also referred to the
Over on CNN's
Capital Gang, National Review's Kate O'Beirne suggested: "Rather
than an excess of firearms there's a shortage of faith and family that
has a lot more to do with what happened out in Littleton. Let's face it,
our public square is more hostile to religion than it is to Marilyn
-- Liberal ant-gun
mantra. Some liberals in the media are unable to move beyond their
kneejerk response that more gun control is the answer. On Capital Gang
Time magazine's Margaret Carlson asserted:
O'Beirne then correctly noted that shotguns were available 100 years ago but students didn't use them to kill their classmates.
CBS's Face the Nation devoted its entire show to the Colorado shooting, the only Sunday interview show to do so, and pressed all its guests about guns before host Bob Schieffer ended by taking a shot at Dan Quayle for opposing further gun control.
To Colorado Governor Bill Owens, Schieffer demanded: "Governor, have you changed your mind now about gun control laws? I know you favored the concealed weapons law that was being debated out there, did you not?"
Schieffer and Gloria Borger quizzed Wayne LaPierre of the NRA about whether he favors allowing teachers to "carry heat" and why he isn't for holding adults criminally responsible for their kids before they turned to Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. He got nicer treatment as Borger kindly set him up: "Do you think tougher gun laws could have prevented this?"
Ending the show,
Schieffer made clear that he thinks more gun control is the answer. After
recalling some school shooting incidents, Schieffer argued:
The evil NRA provides a "cruel reminder" of the shooting to the Littleton community, CBS News reporter Sandra Hughes claimed Friday night. As noted the April 23 CyberAlert, through Thursday night CBS had avoided the gun control debate unlike NBC which got to it the first night and ABC two nights later, both with a pro-gun control slant. But Friday night, April 23, CBS delivered its own loaded hit on the NRA.
anchor John Roberts asserted that the Littleton shooting "reignited
gun control as a national issue." Over video of a NRA billboard
advertising its national convention in Denver, which showed Charlton
Heston holding a rifle with "Join Me" superimposed over him and
the words "World Class Guns & Gear Expo" next to him, Hughes
Gun lobby, gun lobby, gun lobby is the media mantra. But NBC's Tim
Russert noted on Sunday that there's also an "entertainment
lobby" which backs Democrats. Interviewing Tipper Gore for the April
25 Meet the Press, Russert queried:
"No less a public pulse-taker than Rosie O'Donnell is calling for a
near-total ban on guns," an apparently serious Time Daily declared of
O'Donnell's representativeness in an article claiming the winners in
this tragedy are gun control advocates.
LITTLETON: The breakdown of families, alienation at school, Goth culture, violent TV, film and video games, and rock music -- they've all been named as accomplices in the Littleton massacre. Some guilty verdicts have been passed out: An upcoming Marilyn Manson concert has been canceled, and MGM has pulled the film "Basketball Diaries" off of video store shelves because one fantasy scene has a trench-coated Leo DiCaprio spraying his school with bullets. But at week's end, there was a clear leader in the scapegoat derby: Guns.
"If there was a winner in this week's mayhem, it's gun control advocates," says TIME Denver bureau chief Richard Woodbury. From Colorado to Washington, long-dead legislation is back on the table, single-issue pol Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is back on TV again, and no less a public pulse-taker than Rosie O'Donnell is calling for a near-total ban on guns, England-style. Will Littleton be our Dunblane? The logic is clear enough: Guns may not kill people, but neither do disaffected teens -- until they get a hold of some guns. Keep guns away from those teens, and they can't shoot anyone. But they can still blow plenty of people up with homemade pipe bombs.
END Time Daily reprint
"Irrational" to trust George W. Bush ahead of Al Gore as
commander-in-chief? Referring to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, on
Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN Al Hunt lamented to Mark Shields:
Speaking of this NBC News poll, it found Clinton has his lowest approval level, at 58 percent, since the fall of 1997 -- way back before the Lewinsky scandal broke. But while the networks highlighted any poll during the scandal months which showed Clinton with high approval, NBC News has managed to avoid reporting this one. Not a word about it on Thursday or Friday on Nightly News or Today, observed MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.
The "Washington Wire" column in the April 23 Wall Street Journal relayed three poll findings:
-- Clinton's approval rating is at 58 percent and his disapproval sits at 38 percent.
-- "The 50 percent of Americans who back him on foreign policy is down 10 percentage points from last month."
-- "The public now favors Republicans over Democrats on handling foreign policy; by 34 percent to 19 percent, up from a gap of only five percentage points last month."
The current commander-in-chief in action, losing the "nuclear football." That's right, Clinton left his top military aide behind on Saturday as he took off for the White House. So reported a brief AP dispatch played on the front page of Sunday's Washington Times, but not mentioned in any of the network newscasts I saw over the weekend. Here's the AP story, transmitted early Saturday night, in full:
Nuclear Launch Codes Left Behind
WASHINGTON (AP) President Clinton departed the NATO summit in such haste Saturday that he left behind perhaps the most important piece of luggage in the world -- the "nuclear football."
The President's military aide, who constantly shadows Clinton and carries the briefcase containing U.S. nuclear launch codes, was mistakenly left at the International Trade Center when Clinton's motorcade sped off 45 minutes early and without notice.
The aide walked the 41/2 blocks back to the White House without incident. "We're safe," said White House press secretary Joe Lockhart. He said Clinton left so quickly because his last summit meeting of the day broke up early and "rather than wait for everyone to gather, he just took off."
The pool of reporters that always travels with Clinton also was left behind.
END Story Reprint
And Al Hunt finds it "irrational" that the public would better trust as commander-in-chief someone outside of this Keystone Cops team. -- Brent Baker 
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