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Phony Gun Control Debate Just Another Excuse To Bash Rosie O’Donnell

Reported by Ellen - April 19, 2007 -

In my previous post, I wrote about the lack of discussion about gun control on Hannity & Colmes in their coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. Last night (4/18/07), the show promised to debate the issue but the set up ensured that the issue got little to no attention. Neither of the two guests had any expertise in the subject and the whole subject was framed around another “Rosie Rant.” With video.

On the Hannity & Colmes website, last night’s show was supposed to include the following: “Could tougher gun laws prevent such unthinkable horrors?” Note: This will probably be gone by morning. But Sean Hannity started the first of the two part discussion by playing a clip of O’Donnell talking about gun control. Then he accused her of using the tragedy “as an opportunity to rant and go on the offensive over gun control and, of course, she bashed George W. Bush.” The video of the discussion on FOXNews.com confirmed Hannity’s approach. It's described as “Rosie Rant! 'The View' host goes on the offensive over gun control.”

In his most Hanctimonious voice and his sincere face, Hannity said, “The immediate rush to politicize something for an agenda is so offensive to me.” Comment: what he really means is that it’s offensive when it’s an agenda he doesn’t agree with. Flash back, for example, to his politicized comments about Hurricane Katrina and Coretta Scott King’s funeral.

Both guests seemed like lovely, intelligent and knowledgeable women but not on the subject of gun control. Guest Crystal McCrary was introduced simply as the author of a book called Gotham Diaries. I thought Gotham Diaries might have something to do with inner city crime and guns. But no. According to Amazon.com, it’s a gossipy novel about upper echelon African Americans. McCrary has an impressive resume but there was no mention of any experience in issues of crime, violence or guns. However, there was this brief mention in her lengthy list of accomplishments posted on her website: Crystal’s most recent appearance was as guest co-host on ABC’s The View. One can’t help but think that that was all the cred the FOX News producers thought necessary to qualify her for the debate.

The other guest was Jennifer Pozner, executive Director of Women in Media and News (WIMN). WIMN bills itself as “the only women’s media monitoring group blog… blogging on media coverage of women and a range of social, cultural and political issues every day.” We at News Hounds beg to differ with WIMN’s claim that it is the only women’s media monitoring blog, but I digress. According to her bio, Pozner’s background is in media, women, politics and pop culture. Again, I found nothing about guns, violence or crime in her credentials.

Whenever Hannity complains about someone else politicizing something, it’s a safe bet he’s about to do the same thing. Sure enough, he soon said, “If someone has evil intentions in their heart, Jennifer, there’s no law, there’s nothing that you can do to stop this. And that’s a reality that people on the left don’t seem to get.”

Alan Colmes likewise dismissed the gun control issue by saying, “I think Sean is right. No matter what you do, these kinds of incidents are going to happen.” How would either Colmes or Hannity know? Have either studied up on the subject? It’s not as though the guests were in a position to inform them. Also, just because these kinds of incidents can’t be eradicated doesn’t mean they can’t be reduced. Should people not wear seat belts because there’s no way to avoid automobile injuries?

Pozner made some interesting points about women as likely targets in mass shootings and McCrary gracefully defended O’Donnell’s motives in speaking out about gun control. But while the discussion never really got to gun control, it never really got to the issue of media coverage of the shootings, either. Like gun control, the media issues pretty much started and ended with Rosie O'Donnell.

Oddly, in Part 2, both hosts seemed to acknowledge that gun laws ARE relevant, after all. Colmes and Pozner criticized the sale of a gun to Cho Seung-Hui and even Hannity conceded that shooter Seung-Hui’s mental illness should have showed up in a report. Time was up before anyone said much of anything more.

But for those interested in facts over surmises, the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, founded by Republicans Jim and Sarah Brady, has some interesting statistics worthy of consideration:

- The United States leads the world in firearm violence;
- Every time a gun is used in a home in a legally-justifiable shooting, there are 22 criminal, unintentional and suicide-related killings.
- In 1998, women were 101 times more likely to be murdered with a handgun than to use a handgun to kill in self-defense.