Last night was the first Democratic debate, and one particularly pertinent topic discussed by the candidates was gun control. This morning I looked for articles on this part of the debate on Fox news and MSNBC. The Fox article discussing gun control in the Democratic debate was titled ‘NRA Back in Dem Sights as Public Enemy No. 1 at Debate’, while the MSNBC article was titled ‘Judging Candidates by the Qualities of their Enemies’. The bias of the Fox article was that the NRA was ‘targeted’, rather than debated in the issue of gun control. MSNBC didn’t even bother to defend the NRA, rather they only discuss the part of the debate when candidates listed the NRA as an enemy of theirs, and when Clinton and Sanders clashed on the issue.
The right-leaning Fox thought the NRA was unfairly attacked by Democrats, and emphasized how proud the candidates were to have low ratings from the NRA. They language used to describe the candidates was condescending, like, ‘flaunt their disdain for the gun lobby’, in favor of the NRA. The sources used were mostly specific quotes from the candidates and tweets from the NRA, which isn’t particularly academic, but gives both sides. The left-leaning MSNBC didn’t question the attacks on the NRA, but the candidates strength in their opposition to the NRA. Clinton’s pulled quotes included the applause that followed, painting her in a more heroic light than the quotes pulled by Fox. The way the different outlets viewed importance of the NRA in the context of this debate, and how they though their readers would see this importance says a lot about their predisposed biases.