The Hits and Misses of the Gun Debate on Cable News

By Chris Ariens 

Not only is Fox News getting knocked (though CNN is taking the brunt) for inaccurate coverage from Boston Wednesday, the network is also being criticized for not covering Pres. Obama’s Rose Garden statement following the Senate defeat of a key piece of new gun legislation.

At 5:41pm, as the broadcast and cable networks were all carrying the remarks, “The Five” co-host Greg Gutfeld took viewers to the White House to listen in. 20 seconds later, producers returned to the panel show: “That’s all we are doing?” said Gutfeld, seeming to question the decision.


NYT’s Brian Stelter expands on that moment to write about the glaring differences in the gun debate on two cable news channels: Fox News and MSNBC. Writes Stelter:

The decision not to show the president’s angry rejoinder to the Senate vote — or to cover the vote in any real detail an hour earlier — was the latest example of Fox’s evident lack of interest in the gun violence debate that has captivated so many other media outlets.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin calls Fox’s decision, “a disgrace,” adding, “This is one of the critical issues of the day, and MSNBC’s been on it.”

Fox News, which rarely lets a competitive swipe get by, responds, “Phil’s network of partisan pundits have to rely on the talents of Brian Williams and NBC News to cover basic news events. So him calling anything a disgrace in regards to news coverage is ironic considering he oversees one daily.”

But this is yet another political issue — no matter how firmly you believe it shouldn’t be political — that is being covered contrastingly on these networks. Even if Fox News has been downplaying coverage of the gun debate, and even if MSNBC has been playing it up, Fox News’s Gutfeld seemed to recognize the merit of hearing the President out. At the end of “The Five,” Gutfeld apologized: “I want to apologize for cutting out of the Obama presser. I think it should have been handled better.”

If you were watching Fox, here’s what you missed the president say: “This effort is not over.” So, yes. There will be many more opportunities to cover, or not cover, the gun legislation debate. Immigration anyone?