After horrific casualties in Las Vegas, right-wing media say now is not the time to talk about gun violence
Right-wing media figures are saying it’s too soon to debate measures to reduce gun violence after at least 58 people were killed and over 500 were wounded in Las Vegas, NV, in what news organizations are calling the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. According to police officials, the shooter had 10 rifles in his possession at the scene.
At least 58 dead, over 500 wounded after shooter opened fire on crowd at Las Vegas concert
CNN: At least 58 people were killed and 515 injured from gunfire and ensuing stampede at outdoor Las Vegas concert. From CNN’s report on the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV:
A “crazed lunatic” turned an outdoor concert into a bloodbath, killing 58 people in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Thousands of country music fans ran for cover Sunday night as a gunman fired hundreds of bullets at them from a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, officials said.
Another 515 people were hurt in the gunfire and ensuing stampede at a Jason Aldean concert, police said.
The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, unleashed a hail of bullets from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Monday.
Police found 10 rifles inside Paddock's hotel room, Lombardo said. “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry,” the sheriff said.
Audio of the shooting suggested that the shooter had used a military-style weapon, CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano said. [CNN.com, 10/2/17]
Right-wing media immediately declared it too early to talk about preventing more gun violence
Fox’s Chris Stirewalt slams “rotten” and “rapacious” conduct from Hillary Clinton after her call for better gun safety. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News' digital politics editor, attacked supposedly “rotten conduct” from Hillary Clinton, whom he further labeled as “rapacious,” after she responded to the Las Vegas mass shooting by highlighting a need for better gun safety protections. He went on to decry any calls for new public safety protections in the wake of mass shootings as “a depressing failure of imagination.” From the October 2 edition of The Daily Briefing:
DANA PERINO (HOST): Both the president and the vice president took extra care today to mention law enforcement and to say that they were supported. Does that feel new to you? That might be unfair to the previous administration, but there seems to be a constant emphasis to try to focus on the good that the law enforcement can do.
CHRIS STIREWALT: Well, there is a bit of framing out right now about the political debates that will come in the wake of this. Bad politicians -- I mean, we saw some really rotten conduct today. The 2016 Democratic [presidential] nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was jumped in -- I mean, we knew her to be rapacious, but we did not know that her rapacity would include exploiting this on Twitter in moments. She went to a gun control debate instantly.
Now, this is, of course, why people who advocate gun control have failed so thoroughly in recent years is because as soon as you go there, as soon as you start that, our political imaginations shut down because we go immediately into right versus left, Second Amendment this way, Second Amendment that way. We do it instantaneously, and the people -- and there's also the senator from Connecticut who did the same thing. As soon you go there and call for a political solution, you shut down the number of political opportunities. It's really a depressing failure of imagination that we suffer from in our system today. [Fox News, The Daily Briefing, 10/2/17]
Fox News' Kennedy Montgomery: “They are politicizing this while people are still in surgery and dying.” The hosts of Fox News’ Outnumbered criticized Democrats for urging legislation on gun control after the Las Vegas mass shooting. From October 2 edition of the program:
BRIAN KILMEADE: We are getting emails about Senator [Chris] Murphy [(D)] of Connecticut saying stand up to the NRA and guns are the problem. Hillary Clinton similar tweets.
KENNEDY MONTGOMERY (CO-HOST): Hillary Clinton has already tweeted several times about the NRA, and they are politicizing this while people are still in surgery and dying. You know, it’s like this is still a very fluid situation. And there will be plenty of time to figure out and dissect all of that.
HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): The rest of time.
KENNEDY: And of course a political discussion will ensue, but right now let's allow people to get out of crisis and make sense of this picture.
KILMEADE: Also find out where they got the guns. Before you say that this is wrong, and this is wrong, well, so far, there’s no indication that he got any of the guns illegally.
LISA BOOTHE (CO-HOST): Too often when things like this happen, there is this rush to judgment or a rush to partisan politics when there are so many answers that we just don’t have right now. And to Kennedy's point, there are people who are grieving right now, who have lost a loved one or don’t know if a loved one is going to survive.
FAULKNER: There are people who are bleeding and fighting for their lives right now. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/2/17]
Fox media analyst Howard Kurtz: “Can we just take one day before we turn it into a political issue, whether it’s immigration on the right or gun control on the left?” Fox News media analyst and host of MediaBuzz Howard Kurtz asked if we could “just take one day before we turn [the Las Vegas mass shooting] into a political issue.” From the October 2 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Company:
HOWARD KURTZ: I do have to say, hearing you talk earlier about Hillary Clinton and other Democrats making a pitch for gun control, I say this on both sides: This just happened. We don't even know how many people are going to be killed. Can we just take one day before we turn it into a political issue, whether it’s immigration on the right or gun control on the left? It just seems to me that there is too much of an effort by politicians to seize on any tragedy and use it to score political points, before the shock has even worn off, and people are just waking up now in the West to find out more about this.
STUART VARNEY (HOST): Yes. It was an almost immediate reaction within -- almost within hours of waking up this morning. Some on the left were calling for greater gun control, that’s true. [Fox Business, Varney & Company, 10/2/17]
Fox White House correspondent Kevin Corke: “It seems a bit early” to debate curbing gun violence after Las Vegas mass shooting. Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke criticized Democrats for tweets about addressing gun violence on the October 2 edition of Fox’s Outnumbered Overtime:
KEVIN CORKE: You truly hope that in a moment like this, we can move beyond politics. Unfortunately, almost immediately you did see some tweets. Some from Democrats, some from other critics of the president who felt like now is the time to talk about silences, or the NRA, or the need for gun control. That’s a debate that is obviously well worn and will continue to be out there, but in these crucial hours, when there's so many people who are still devastated by this tragedy, a great many of them still gravely ill, it seems a bit early. [Fox News, Outnumbered Overtime, 10/2/17]
Daily Caller: “Congressional Democrats chose not to wait for all the facts to come in before immediately pushing for increased gun control measures.” The Daily Caller criticized congressional Democrats who have publicly pointed to the need for better laws to prevent gun violence after the Las Vegas mass shooting and suggested they were calling for action too soon. From the October 2 article:
Congressional Democrats chose not to wait for all the facts to come in before immediately pushing for increased gun control measures following the Las Vegas shooting Sunday night that left 50 people dead and more than 400 injured.
It’s not yet clear how the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, acquired his guns or if gun control measures could have prevented him from obtaining them, but leading Democrats are already demanding stricter gun control legislation. [The Daily Caller, 10/2/17]
Fox’s Laura Ingraham: “All victims' bodies still not recovered and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren kick into typical anti-gun stance. Gross.”
All victims' bodies still not recovered and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren kick into typical anti-gun stance. Gross.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) October 2, 2017
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin: “Not the time” to talk about congressional action on gun violence. Malkin was tweeting in response to a report that the mother of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting blamed Congress for the shooting in Las Vegas.
Not the time for this. https://t.co/n48skDCwyt
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 2, 2017
[Twitter, 10/2/17, The Hill, 10/2/17]
Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollak: “How long do we wait before politicizing death?” The website’s editor was responding to former Vice President Joe Biden’s tweet about the need for the Congress and the White House to “act now to save lives.”
How long do we wait before politicizing death? In your case, not long at all. So what're you going to do? Ban guns that are already illegal? https://t.co/Ecp59r4pA7
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) October 2, 2017
Breitbart White House correspondent Charlie Spiering: “Leftists already confident that they have solutions before country even knows motive of shooter or how he got his weapons.”
Leftists already confident that they have solutions before country even knows motive of shooter or how he got his weapons
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 2, 2017
Hannity slams the “insane” “race to politicize everything,” while “bodies are still warm in the morgue.” During the October 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, host Sean Hannity complained about the “insane ... race to politicize everything,” adding “Just like in Puerto Rico, we've been lied to about the reaction and response there.” Hannity continued, adding “it's the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history ... you have people fighting for their lives, and we're arguing about gun control,” “bodies are still warm in the morgue”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I'm going to get to the insane -- the rush, the race to politicize everything. Can't we just have sympathy, want to reach out, want to help our friends in Vegas? Just like Puerto Rico, we've been lied to about the reaction and response there, which I'll get to also today. I mean, it's the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, 58 dead and maybe more to come.
You have people fighting for their lives, and we're arguing about gun control. Why politicians have to make it about whatever their cause is -- you know, bodies are still warm in the morgue, for God's sakes, parents are identifying their kids. We have parents outside of hospitals, praying that their kids are going to live.
The Washington Examiner has a piece out on how terrorism experts are split on this claim by ISIS, that they are responsible for this, and according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist messaging sites, they said this afternoon that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, had been -- you know, some are claiming that there's some connection here. Other people are saying they don't believe it fits the -- I guess the background of somebody that might be in some way be associated with ISIS. We're gonna do what we always do, we're going to wait until more evidence comes in. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 10/2/17]
Trump administration echoed right-wing media: “It would be premature for us to discuss policy”
Press secretary: “There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed right-wing media claims that it’s too soon to discuss ways to prevent gun violence, saying “it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know all the facts or what took place last night.” From the October 2 White House press briefing:
JEFF MASON: Sarah, many times when these horrible massacres occur it leads to questions about gun control. Has this particular massacre made the president think anything more about pursuing tighter gun laws, such as background checks, to prevent massacres like this from happening again?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, this is an unspeakable tragedy. Today is a day for consoling the survivors and mourning those we lost. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with all of those individuals. There's a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country. There's currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation, a motive is yet to be determined, and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know all the facts or what took place last night. Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY: To follow on that, Sarah, do you believe that -- or does the president believe -- that this is a moment, that this is a time when there should not be a political discussion, it should be a policy discussion. Does he believe he could bring something new to the gun debate that has been, I guess, locked in typical politics for so many years.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think today is more, again, like I said, a day of reflection, a day of mourning, a day of gratefulness for those that were saved. And I think that there will be certainly time for that policy discussion to take place, but that's not the place that we're in at this moment. But certainly I think that there's a time for that to take -- to happen.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: When that time comes for those conversations to take place, then I think we need to look at things that may actually have that real impact. [White House press briefing, 10/2/17]
This post will be updated with additional examples.