MSNBC misfires badly in 'heckling' story on Sandy Hook dad
The Kansas City Star
MSNBC is under fire for misleading its viewers earlier this week. In this case, the network’s liberal slant caught up with it and burned it on the gun issue.
As a gun control advocate, I lament MSNBC’s mistake. It gives comfort to the NRA, conservative members of Congress and gun nuts who want to make the bizarre case that the Second Amendment must not be messed with by politicians, no matter how many children are slaughtered by these weapons.
The essential facts are here: MSNBC host Martin Bashir aired a clip that made it appear a dad of a Sandy Hook child victim was heckled (thus, rudely interrupted) by gun lovers during a public hearing Monday.
That set off the Twitter world with anger at the alleged behavior of some in the crowd, nicely fitting the MSNBC mantra that the pro-gun crowd is out of control in the debate over assault weapons and the followup to the Sandy Hook massacre.
But as fuller clips of the interview show, father Neil Heslin invited someone to comment to his question about why anyone would need assault-style weapons. After a pause, someone did.
True, it was bad form to blurt something out to what was a rhetorical question. You have to be fairly sick in the head to think it’s your place as a gun lover to lecture someone who’s just lost a child to a gun-toting murderer.
And remember, comments aren’t supposed to be permitted at these hearings, invited by the speaker or not.
Still, MSNBC and other media crossed a line by claiming Heslin was heckled, indicating he had been interrupted during his testimony. MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell tried to defend the network and the use of the word heckled, but only succeeded in diminishing his own credibility in doing so.