Networks Ignore Obama's False Claim About 'Fully-Automatic Weapon' Used at Newtown

CNN Graphic on President Barack Obama's 4 April 2013 Gun Control Remark; Screen Cap From 4 April 2013 Edition of CNN's The Lead With Jake Tapper | MRC.orgThe Big Three networks' Friday morning newscasts all highlighted the "backlash" over President Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" compliment of California's Kamala Harris. But in addition to ignoring First Lady Michelle Obama's recent "single mother" gaffe, as of Saturday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC have yet to report on the President's erroneous claim about the use of an automatic firearm at the Sandy Hook massacre.

The Democrat made the false statement at a Wednesday fundraiser in California. Mr. Obama asserted, "It is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country...but also make sure that we don't have another 20 children...gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly."

During the panel discussion segment on the President's superlative about Harris on Friday's Today (where the participants came to the Democrat's defense), NBC's Al Roker noted that "folks on the other side of the aisle have said had that been a Republican who made that comment, that people would have jumped all over it. So they say what's good for the goose is good for the gander."

Roker raised a valid point. The Big Three networks hyped Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" line, mentioning the remark 22 times on their morning and evening newscasts in less than half a week during the 2012 presidential race. By contrast, they only twice mentioned Vice President Joe Biden's "bullets" attack on Republican "young guns" like Rep. Paul Ryan, which he used mere days before Romney's remark.

President Obama's "fully-automatic weapon" line did receive some coverage outside of these broadcast outlets. On Thursday, CNN's Jake Tapper reported on the President's false claim on his program, The Lead, and when he acted as a substitute host on colleague Erin Burnett's show, OutFront. The former ABC correspondent took the President to task for the line: "It might help the advocates of gun control if, in their advocacy for stricter measures, they seemed more familiar with what exactly they're trying to ban."

But, as the MRC's Matt Hadro pointed out on Friday, Tapper's reporting came in the midst of almost 40 minutes of air time on the "best-looking attorney general in the country" controversy on CNN. Somehow, the President of the United States apparently crossing a boundary of political correctness is more worthy of coverage than his misrepresentation of a notorious mass shooting.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.