Media Research Center Special Report         




Bozell: "Network News Broadcasts Have Become The Communications Division Of The Anti-Gun Lobby"

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- A new two-year Media Research Center study released today documents that network television evening news broadcasts and morning shows are so badly spinning the gun control debate in favor of gun control they have become the "communications division of the anti-gun lobby," according to MRC Chairman Brent Bozell. The findings of the study were released at a Washington news conference today conducted by Bozell.


    "There is no way to look at these numbers and not conclude that network news broadcasts have become the communications division of the anti-gun lobby. The networks have clearly chosen sides in this debate which only serves to mislead and misinform the public they’re supposed to serve," Bozell said.


    MRC analysts examined 653 morning and evening news stories on ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 1999. The findings include:


TV News Has Chosen Sides. Stories advocating more gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 357 to 36, or a ratio of almost 10-1. (Another 260 were neutral.)


Evening News Shows Favored the Anti-Gun Position by 8-1. While 89 percent of those (164) pushed the liberal, anti-gun position, only 11 percent (20) promoted the pro-gun position.


Morning Shows Favored the Anti-Gun Position by 13-1. More than half of morning news gun policy segments (208) tilted away from balance. Of those segments, 93 percent (193) pushed the liberal anti-gun position, while only six percent (15) promoted the pro-gun-position.


News Programs Are Twice as Likely to Use Anti-Gun Soundbites. Anti-gun soundbites were twice as frequent as pro-gun soundbites – 412 to 209. (Another 471 were neutral.)


News Programs Are Twice as Likely to Feature Anti-Gun Guests. In morning show interview segments, gun control advocates appeared as guests on 82 occasions, compared to just 37 for gun-rights activists and 58 neutral spokesmen.


Pro-Gun Themes Were Barely Covered. Themes such as the decline in federal gun prosecutions under the Clinton Administration, the positive use of guns in self-defense, and successful pilot prosecution programs like Project Exile in Virginia, drew tiny story counts in the single digits in the 653 story sample.

ABC Earns Title of The Most Biased

bulletABC’s World News Tonight (43 anti-gun stories to only 3 pro-gun stories) and CNN’s The World Today (50-7) were the most slanted evening news shows.
bulletABC’s Good Morning America was the most biased morning show, running 92 gun policy segments that promoted the anti-gun position, while running only one single gun policy segment promoted the pro-gun position.

    "The networks aren’t trying to show even the most remote sense of balance when it comes to gun control. This is not journalism in any sense of the word. It is advocacy. Virtually all of these biased stories might as well be paid political advertisements for gun control organizations. It’s an embarrassment and a disgrace for news organizations who claim to be balanced and present both sides of crucial issues before a public that needs facts, not spin, in order to make informed decisions," Bozell said.


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