Over the weekend, two mass shootings – one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton, Ohio – resulted in the deaths of 29 people and dozens more injuries. Media outlets covering the event spoke mostly to Democrats calling for more gun control.
On Sunday, CNN anchor Jake Tapper called out Republicans whom he had invited onto his show, “State of the Union” to discuss the shootings but declined to appear. Early in the program, Tapper said his team had invited Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, and anyone from the White House to appear on the show but they declined. In a follow-up tweet, Tapper said his team also reached out to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to no avail.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo agreed to appear on the show. Both are Republicans.
On Monday morning, Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted that CNN said it “reached out to 50 GOP lawmakers this morning; 49 declined to appear on air to discuss El Paso and Dayton shootings.” The only Republican of the 50 to accept was Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Sonmez said.
“Yoho now is pointing the finger at ‘big tech’ and noting that attacks in Japan have involved knives and arson,” Sonmez tweeted, before quoting Yoho as saying: “Bad people are going to do bad things.”
As Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro noted when responding to Sonmez’s tweet, the reason Republicans refused to appear on the network “may have something to do with CNN’s long record of attempting to blame Republicans for mass shootings and cast them as disingenuous tools of the NRA.”
As an example, Shapiro pointed to CNN’s infamous town hall event following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018. At the event, hosted by Tapper, then-National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch was treated as though she pulled the trigger herself or supported the shooter. She was booed and called a “murderer” during the televised event. People also yelled that she needed to be burned.
Meanwhile, then Parkland Sheriff Scott Israel was allowed to pretend that his office acted appropriately but that guns were the real problem. Israel was later removed from office after it was reported his office’s policy of not rushing to help those in need and the numerous instances in which the shooter was known as dangerous to local police.
Even if it was not Tapper’s intention to treat Republican guests this way on Sunday, or for CNN to treat them that way on other programs, it would be hard to convince the lawmakers otherwise, given the network’s history of providing space for those demanding gun control while limiting discussion of protecting the Second Amendment.