Fox, MSNBC Far apart on Gun Debate Story


While CNN is busy reporting about arrests that never happened, MSNBC is all over the gun debate.

Fox News? Not so much.

The NY Times writes that President Obama hadn’t finished his first sentence on Wednesday when the Fox News Channel cut away from his Rose Garden remarks about the Senate’s defeat of a measure that would have expanded background checks for gun buyers.

Viewers were told they could watch the rest online if they wanted to. Then the hosts of “The Five,” the channel’s 5 p.m. talk show, resumed their conversation about liberal media bias.

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. The channel, a favorite of conservatives, has refrained from extensive coverage while MSNBC, a favorite of progressives, has taken every conceivable opportunity to talk about it.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” have openly campaigned for legislative reforms in the wake of the mass shooting at in Newtown, Conn., in December, which left 20 children dead. On “Joe” last week, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. complimented Mr. Scarborough for affecting the gun debate, adding, “The two guys that deserve, if anything gets done, an award here are you and Michael Bloomberg,” referring to the New York mayor’s campaign for gun legislation.

On Thursday Mr. Scarborough, a registered Republican who touts his conservative credentials as well as his independent streak, was stone-faced as he assailed the lawmakers who voted against the background check legislation. Citing the failed Senate vote as evidence, Mr. Scarborough said, “This party is moving toward extinction.”

That would come as news to Fox fans, who have heard comparatively little about the subject. While most of “Joe” was dedicated to guns on Thursday, Fox’s morning show didn’t mention the word once; it focused instead on news about a Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

Competitors were quick to pounce. Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, noted that the networks ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast special reports because they deemed the president’s remarks that important. He called Fox’s decision to skip it “a disgrace.”

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