The findings may not surprise gun rights advocates.
A Media Research Center analysis of 216 news stories broadcast on ABC, CBS and NBC following the Newtown shootings show “staggering imbalance,” the study says.
“The networks quickly moved to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control legislation while mostly ignoring solutions that respect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights,” says analyst Geoffrey Dickens.
Among the results:
Stories advocating more gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 99 to 12, or a ratio of 8 to 1.
Anti-gun soundbites were aired almost twice as frequently than pro-gun ones (228 to 134).
Gun control advocates appeared as guests on 26 occasions, compared to 7 times for gun rights advocates.
CBS emerged as the “most stridently anti-gun rights network,” Mr. Dickens says.
By a 22 to 1 ratio, the network aired more stories that favored gun control (44) to those that supported gun rights (2), with 37 neutral pieces.
ABC aired almost six times as many stories that favored gun control (29) to those that favored gun rights, with 25 neutral stories. NBC pushed for more gun control in 26 of their stories to 5 that tilted in favor of gun rights for a 5 to 1 ratio, with 43 neutral segments.
“While most of the stories that took a position landed firmly in the anti-gun category, occasionally there was a story that stressed the importance of gun rights,” Mr. Dickens observes.
He cites a Dec. 19 account on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” that reported on a Texas school district where teachers with concealed handgun licenses are allowed to carry guns into the school.
“I like it, because it kind of makes me feel safer,” one student told the network. “Because, I mean, we don’t have a police station here.”
The analysis was released Tuesday. See the complete study here: http://www.mrc.org