Did Fox News Ban Gun Control Segments After Newtown Shooting?

By Merrill Knox 

In the aftermath of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, New York‘s Gabe Sherman reports that Fox News producers were instructed this weekend not to wade into the politics of gun control on the air:

According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. “This network is not going there,” Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night, according to a source with knowledge of the exchange. The directive created a rift inside the network. According to a source, one political panelist e-mailed Clark that Bloomberg was booked on Meet the Press to talk about gun control. Clark responded, “We haven’t buried the children yet, we’re not discussing it.” During the weekend, one frustrated producer went around Clark to lobby Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice-president for news editorial, but Clemente upheld the mandate. “We were expressly forbidden from discussing gun control,” the source said.

But according to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox News insiders say Clark’s email has been taken “wildly out of context”:

A cursory look at the programming that Fox News aired over the weekend indicates that gun-control was a topic at least five times, including a lengthy discussion between host Chris Wallace and a Democratic lawmaker followed by Wallace with a Republican lawmaker.

And sources say the initial email from Clark was not the network-wide edict it has been portrayed as, but an email to three people concerning a panel discussion on one show.

The initial email from Clark to three panelists reads: “Gentlemen, it is too soon to talk the politics of gun control. The victims’ families still don’t even have the bodies of their loved ones. Let’s leave it for another time. Thanks.”

In addition to two “Fox News Sunday” segments, gun control was discussed on “Fox & Friends” and a Sunday night special report, anchored by Bret Baier, over the weekend. The “FNS” panel discussion is after the jump.