Politifact reported that President Trump has never taken a policy position on any particular gun background checks, so what we’re seeing is palpable frustration by the mainstream media that, after these tragedies happen, there is no legislative action. This is how we’re seeing this spun and the headlines and the reporting of outlets like the New York Times. They are painting it as a retreat but in fact it’s not a retreat.
We don’t see a single mainstream media outlet pushing a law that would ban the identification or the publication of photos of these mass shooters. Certainly part of the motivation between many of these shooters is a sense of fame and seeking recognition. Why does the MSM treat the First Amendment differently than the Second Amendment? It’s because they don’t believe in the Second Amendment the way they believe in the First Amendment. I was on Fox News Media Buzz with Howard Kurtz to discuss.
KURTZ: President Trump took center stage after the mass shootings El Paso and Dayton, saying this about the need for stricter gun measures.
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TRUMP: We need intelligent background checks, OK? This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat. Great, great support, but we are looking at very, very meaningful background checks.
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KURTZ: But the media accused him of caving this week when after speaking with NRA leader, Wayne LaPierre, the president took a somewhat different tack.
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TRUMP: There are things we can do, but we already have very serious background checks. We have strong background checks. We can close up the gaps. We could do things that are very good, and things that frankly gun owners want to have done. But we also have to remember the gun doesn’t pull the trigger. A person does, and we have great mental illness.
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KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Gayle Trotter, a lawyer and commentator who hosts the Right in D.C. podcast here in Washington, and in New York, Jeanne Zaino, who teaches media and government at Iona College. And Gayle, does the press have a point that President Trump seems at least to be softening his language on background checks?
GAYLE TROTTER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, PolitiFact reported that President Trump has never taken a policy position on any particular background gun check. And so I think what we are seeing is palpable frustration by the media that after these tragedies happened that there’s no legislative action. And so that’s how we are seeing this spun in the headlines and the reporting of outlets like the New York Times. They are painting it as a retreat, but in fact, it’s not a retreat.
KURTZ: Well, Jeanne, it’s true that we haven’t gotten down to specific legislation. But when news organizations say is that after talking to the chief executive of the NRA, and he was very open about that, that the president is now sort of echoing some of the NRA language.
JEANNE ZAINO, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. You know, the thing about the media, the reporting on this, and they’ve used the word whiplash. They’ve used the flip-flopping. The reality here is that we have now our best opportunity to get, you know, important gun control legislation, because it’s going to have to happen under a Republican president if you have a Republican Senate.
And so the media have to think about how would this legislation ever get passed, and it would get passed by the president talking to members of Congress, giving them cover to vote for some form of legislation. And so I think the media is being a bit disingenuous here when it’s talking about the president’s conversations with Wayne LaPierre, which by the way, seemed to have been leaked by the NRA versus the White House.
KURTZ: Right. Well, in your view, Gayle, are the media — and it’s true, the president has talked lawmakers on both parties. And I give him credit for that. But are the media pushing background checks already passed by the Democratic House and to lesser extent the assault weapon’s ban as the only solution after these mass shootings?
TROTTER: I am so glad you asked that, Howie, because we don’t see a single mainstream media outlet pushing a law that would ban the identification or the publication of photos of these mass shooters, and certainly part of the motivation between many of the mass shooters is a sense of fame or seeking recognition. And why does the mainstream media treat the first amendment differently than the second amendment? Because they don’t believe the second amendment in the way that they believe in the first amendment.
KURTZ: Well, I am very glad that many organizations, on their own, have barely mentioned the names of these mass shooters or show their pictures. I think that’s a good step. But Jeanne, no one necessarily expected Donald Trump to go there after El Paso and Dayton. And he also had kind of gone that direction after the Parkland High School shootings. So I think when he came out and said we need strong meaningful background checks, he raised expectations that the media reflected.
ZAINO: He did raise expectations. And I think we also need to stop for a moment and say we have a Republican president who is crawling for background checks. That is a big deal.
TROTTER: We have background checks.
ZAINO: No, he’s calling for expanded background checks is what he’s calling for. That is a big deal for a Republican president to call for that.