Supporters of gun rights are criticizing CNN over a “town hall” it held on gun control. By hosting it, CNN gave these conservatives a choice: Either stay away from the forum, and be attacked as a coward, or go, and be called a “murderer” to the applause of the crowd. Florida Governor Rick Scott chose the first option, National Rifle Association spokesman Dana Loesch the second.
On its own, the town hall might be defensible. But it has to be seen in the context of the rest of CNN’s coverage. Since the Parkland massacre, the network has been in the advocacy business.
Watch the network, read its website or scroll through its Twitter feed, and the overall message will come through loud and clear: Assault weapons should be banned, Republicans should be put on the spot for their votes to the contrary, and anyone who disagrees is on the take from the National Rifle Association.
When the Florida House decided not to consider an assault-weapons ban, the CNN Twitter account ran a roll call of the Republicans who voted it down along with their NRA ratings. It ran no roll call of Democrats who voted to advance the bill, which would have been just as informative. Only a naif would miss the implicit message: These people belong in a hall of shame.