Three Similar Ways Opposing Media Outlets Portrayed Background Check Senate Rejection
By Alexis Morgan
Amidst the mounting chaotic commotion of this week, the Senate defeated a gun-control proposal today that would’ve given gun buyers tougher background checks. The proposal missed the cut by six votes, a stark contrast to public opinion polls that showed over 85 percent of Americans support other background checks that aren’t already mandated by law.
Though the proposal was bipartisan, the online media coverage from conservative Fox News and liberal MSNBC/NBCnews.com found common ground in three elements of their reporting.
Obama’s headline worthy reaction
Vehement and in dismay, the President’s reaction to the defeated compromise measure made the headlines of both parties…. albeit with a slightly different tone after the fact.
“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” Obama was quoted in both Fox’s and NBC’s articles online.
According to Fox, Obama “lashed out at opponents in unusually blunt terms during remarks from the Rose Garden.”
“A visibly frustrated Obama decried the defeat of the measure,” MSNBC wrote, changing up the tone.
Newtown families’ and Giffords’ persuasion power
A lobbying effort was made by way of the Democrats, but noted by both media outlets, using the Newtown victims’ family members and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
MSNBC cites the emotional testament from families of mass shooting victims in the first sentence but is a theme throughout the entire article. Refuting the notion that they were used a “props”; Obama slammed critics saying “that their voices and experiences should have been welcomed.” “Shame on you!” a survivor of the Tuscon shooting yelled from the Senate gallery as stated in the MSNBC article.
Meanwhile, Fox mentions the “family members of Newtown victims… tearing up after the vote, also criticized the Senate for the amendment’s failure Wednesday,” for the first time in the 27th graph. Fox also notes Gifford’s attempt to persuade lawmakers at a Capitol Hill private lunch in the last (31st) graph.
Citing the NRA
“This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” said NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox.
The Fox article followed the statement with a pushback from the Democrats, “but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats hammered Republicans for not voting in support and vowed to press forward.”
As MSNBC cited “four Republicans — Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois and amendment author Toomey — broke with the rest of the GOP to support the background check legislation. “
Whether you believe the Pew Research or the rating’s reports, it seems Fox and MSNBC/NBCnews.com have more in common than we think.