Michelle Malkin employed her special brand of fire-breathing derision on Fox & Friends this morning where, without a trace of irony, she attacked the Obama administration for not having a thoughtful, “deliberative” discussion on gun control. In an effort to bolster her case, she lobbed a barrage of inflammatory and untruthful sound bites about the Obama administration’s intentions. The hosts listened approvingly without challenge. Meanwhile, they ignored the kinds of unhinged responses from the right such as the Tactical Response CEO who threatened to start shooting people if President Obama "goes one inch further" with gun control measures.
Steve Doocy set the tone as he introduced the discussion by saying, “Yesterday, we heard from Sheriff Joe Biden.” “Sheriff Joe Biden” was displayed often in a banner on the screen. Doocy added that Biden “sounds like he wants to have the president use an executive order to do something to clamp down on guns. What do you think about this?”
Malkin’s contempt was cued up:
Well, if you thought the last four years showed how little disregard this administration has for the deliberative process, you ain’t seen nothing yet! And that cheesy grin that Joe Biden just can’t wipe off his face (said seconds after a sneering grin of her own), even when he’s talking about something as dire and as grave and serious as this particular issue. It gives me the chills because that impetus to do something, anything without the kind of reflection that we need on these kind of issues is very dangerous.
But, naturally, “reflection” and “deliberative process” are for other people, not the “fair and balanced” Fox News. Why look for facts when you can make incendiary guesses? Brian Kilmeade wondered if President Obama could issue a unilateral order, “No more assault weapons.”
Malkin “thoughtfully” responded:
Why the heck not? This administration has used the executive order and administrative fiat to completely undermine and sabotage our immigration policy, for example. They’ve done so many things by executive order on the environment that are radical shifts from where most Americans are.
Um, not really. Polls have consistently shown that Americans approve of and trust President Obama on the environment. A recent poll shows Americans think climate change is a serious problem and only 45% think he will take “major steps” to combat it.
Not that anyone corrected Malkin. All three hosts were a vision of credulousness as Malkin went on to sneer, “What’s most dangerous is the way that they couch their rhetoric in what seems to be moderation.” Rolling her eyes with scorn, she added, “Right now, they’re talking about ‘gun safety’ instead of ‘gun control.’ And when they harp about ‘assault weapons’ or ‘ammunition,’ what they’re really talking about – and we have had this kind of candor before from the gun grabbers – is talking about the kind of handguns that ordinary Americans use to protect themselves!”
Doocy said admiringly, “Sure, exactly.”
But according to the New York Times – which bothered to do some real investigation and reporting - Malkin and Kilmeade were way off base in their suggestion that the Obama administration is about to take some unilateral action to confiscate ordinary citizens’ guns: “Most changes to the current system, which allows easy access to weapons with hugely destructive power, has to come through legislation,” reporter David Firestone noted. Unlike the Curvy Couch Crew, he pointed out that Republicans have signaled that they will block “most of President Obama’s plans.”
So what are President Obama’s options? The Times offers up concrete possibilities, instead of off-hand theories:
Perhaps most importantly, he can strengthen the database that the F.B.I. uses to perform background checks on gun buyers. Many federal agencies that don’t currently contribute to the database, such as the Social Security Administration, have access to mental competence information about prospective buyers, or details about failed drug tests and other issues that might prevent a sale to the wrong person. Through an order, the president can get these agencies to share more information with the F.B.I.. As Charlie Savage of The Times recently reported, the Justice Department has studied several similar ideas to improve the background-check system, most of which have been shelved.
The president could also demand that the states share more information from their crime and mental-health databases.
This is hardly the kind of gun-seizing, power-grabbing maneuver that Malkin and her like-minded hosts were trying to scare viewers into believing is afoot. But don't expect these facts to replace paranoid fear mongering any time soon on Fox. Do expect the kind of rhetoric that paints President Obama as a dangerous dictator and that people like the Tactical Response CEO feed off.