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News Source Evaluation of Obama’s Gun Control Measures

Updated on March 6, 2015
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On December 14, 2012 in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school twenty-six people were shot and killed. Since then President Obama has been lobbying for more gun control legislation. He is specifically trying to get a ban placed on assault level weapons, better criminal background checks, and a limit placed on the size of magazines. I decided to follow this story because I wanted to see a silver lining to such a horrible event. I tracked this story through four different new outlets: The New York Times, Today’s Pulse, USA Today, and The Huffington Post. The New York Times and The Huffington Post had more coverage of the story than USA Today, and Today’s Pulse; overall the story has had adequate coverage, but it could have been covered every day.

The New York Times had the overall best coverage of this story; their research proved to be their biggest strength. For instance, an editorial included the fact that President Obama failed to mention the fact that a bill in gun control has already been put before Congress by Senator Dianne Feinstein. The article speculates that President Obama “only wanted to mention bipartisan bills. Or perhaps he was signaling that he doesn’t intend to put his full muscle behind the ban because it’s a harder sell in Congress” (Rosenthal). The New York Times’ weakness was that each day the story a different author covered the story, this caused information from the previous days to be repeated.

The Huffington Post did the next best job on covering this story because they covered the story every day. The Huffington Post proved itself second best as far as coverage goes with how in depth they went with the story. Instead of just focusing on President Obama they looked into the different recommendations that Obama presented on gun violence. The Huffington Post included extra background information about the mass shooting at the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, to provide the reader with the reason for the sudden appearance of the new gun control laws. The Huffington Post’s bias towards the issue turned out to be their weakness. Each of the articles had a subtle bias that the new gun control legislation was an effective idea. This bias may have caused facts that disagreed with the gun control legislation to be left out.

Today’s Pulse had better coverage than USA Today, but the story only spanned three days; there was no coverage on February 7th. Today’s Pulse used both videos and an article with their coverage of the story. Their strengths show in the unique way they presented the information. They published two videos about President Obama’s stance on gun control; however the video left out the names of the video’s producers. Today’s Pulse also published an article about an interview with the actor, Bruce Willis, on his stance on gun control. This source gave a new perspective to the story, one from a non-political perspective; instead of a politician’s view.

The USA Today articles came from Sinclair database; it had the least amount of coverage of the story. USA Today’s weakness was that they focused on how Minneapolis’s new approach to gun violence influenced President Obama’s new legislation. USA Today left out information on the actions that President Obama has taken as well as information on why the new legislation has become a major issue. They did, however, redeem themselves by giving as much information as possible for the two days that they had articles published on gun control. Aamer Madhani wrote both articles; the use of the same writer prevented the story from becoming redundant with repeated information.

This issue could have been covered every day, but I felt that the sources provided all of the truly relevant information. USA Today and The Pulse could have easily covered the story for a few extra few days without repeating information. I also feel that the different news outlets should have given some statistical information so that the everyday Americans could see for themselves how much gun violence is affecting America. As an American citizen, I feel that the news outlets provided an adequate level of information about the new gun control legislation.

Works Cited

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Madhani, Aamer. “Obama visit highlights strides on guns; Minneapolis leaders push legislation”

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"Weapons of War Have No Place on Streets." Today's Pulse. Today's Pulse, 04 Feb. 2013.

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