Are Members Of Conservative Mass Media Ready For Gun Control Honesty?

The gulf between public will and legislative action has become so wide that a very unusual thing has started happening. Conservative media outlets and pundits are actually beginning to report.
Gun control

Americans are dying every day from unchecked gun violence.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama had tough, logical words for the irresponsible Senate chamber, which failed once again last week to approve legislation requiring universal background checks for weapon purchases. In his weekly address, the President labeled a continued status quo that allows members of the United States’ no-fly list to legally procure a gun, “insane.” He continued:

“If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now…We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but — at a bare minimum — we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.”

While the POTUS displays common sense and the “greatest frustration” over his administration’s failure to reach Congress on the issue of guns, it’s clear that the majority of Americans – even conservative voters – agree with him. The website aggregates public responses and data from surveys covering a variety of hot-button issues – including guns. Here are two recent questions and answers from self-identified Republicans:

“Quinnipiac University. Nov. 23-30, 2015…

Do you support or oppose changing current gun laws to ban those on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list from purchasing guns?”

77 percent support.

“CBS News/New York Times Poll. Oct. 21-25, 2015… “

Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers?”

87 percent favor.

A wise woman I know recently observed, “These polls show that the small number of loudmouth Republicans, who speak on behalf of their entire party when it comes to gun control reform, do NOT represent the majority.”

The gulf between public will and legislative action has become so wide that a very unusual thing has started happening. Conservative media outlets and pundits are actually beginning to report. On December 2, after the tragedy in San Bernardino, California, Fox News commentator Shepard Smith took to the airwaves to agree with President Obama’s assertion that “we should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events because it does not happen with the same frequency in other countries.” In perhaps the most unassailable argument ever to publicly issue from a Fox representative, Smith said:

“The fact of the matter is among developed nations, that’s the truth. These sorts of mass shootings with the regularity where they occur in the United States, you don’t find that in other countries. That’s not to say anything except that fact. You can extrapolate from that whatever you want. But that part right there, that this happens more in the United States than anywhere else on Earth is just a true thing. That’s all there is.”

Smith was actually the second Fox personality to take a stand this season against the shrugging establishment acceptance of mass gun murder. On October 2, ubiquitous broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera offered a relatively stunning dose of demographic real talk. In a widely circulated Facebook post, Rivera said, “We are a gun sick nation…All the 2nd Amendment bullshit aside, the gun lobby controls the country, and allows armed maniacal lunatics to roam free and kill.”

Well said sir. And since I’m in the middle of an unlikely round of compliments for certain members of the mass media, I might as well throw some appreciation at Bloomberg. The apparatus supported by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might skew toward the one percent on some issues. But the man and his tireless defense of our collective right to life, as a concern deserving balance against a right to bear arms, is commendable.

On December 3, Bloomberg writer Elise Young called out the cynicism of a suddenly pro-proliferation New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Struggling profoundly in his 2016 Republican primary bid, Young observes in her piece, Christie Gun-Control Veto Faces Lawmakers in Bid to Override:

“Once a proponent of gun control, Christie has rejected recent attempts to limit sales and possession, bringing him in line with voter sentiment in Iowa and New Hampshire, where early contests will thin the field seeking the Republican nomination.”

What a surprise. Like not at all. But it is sort of amazing to hear (or read) entrenched members of the right-wing media establishment drop the talking points in favor of honesty. In favor of speaking to the actual will of the people, rather than the NRA-purchased Congressional narrative about gun control. In short, we want it. Now.

Keep talking Geraldo. You have our attention.

Becky Sarwate is the current President of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, founded in 1885, as well as Recording Secretary for the National Federation of Press Women. She is a national award-winning journalist, blogger, newsletter editor and theater critic. Becky lives in Chicago with her partner Bob and their menagerie of pets. Keep up with her at
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