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CBS Actually Covers Gun Self-Defense Case Promoted By NRA; ABC, NBC Punt

Bill Plante, CBS News Correspondent; Screen Cap From 13 January 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | MRC.orgOn Friday's CBS This Morning, Bill Plante refreshingly spotlighted how firearms are used to protect the lives of ordinary Americans. Plante noted how the National Rifle Association "Tweeted a story...about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet....She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun."

The two other Big Three morning shows failed to mention this story during their coverage of the current gun control debate. ABC's GMA actually minimized the air time they devoted to the issue. News anchor Dan Harris gave just one news brief to the next meeting of Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force:

DAN HARRIS: Vice President Biden will be talking about gun violence today with executives from the video game industry. This comes after a day of a seemingly unsuccessful meeting with the National Rifle Association. NRA executives left the White House and declared Biden's task force is – quote, "talking about feel-good measures that won't stop gun violence but would  violate the Second Amendment."

NBC's Today did bring on NRA President David Keene, but anchor Matt Lauer wondered if his organization's influence was on the wane after the Connecticut mass shooting: "People talk about the power of the NRA. They look at it almost, you know, in monumental terms. Do you think in the wake of these shootings that power has been eroded at all, Mr. Keene?"

CBS anchor Charlie Rose introduced Plante's report by hyping how "the National Rifle Association is furious with the White House this morning. NRA officials met with Vice President Joe Biden's gun control task force yesterday, and they say no one wanted to listen to them."

The veteran correspondent then noted that the "task force, until now, has been hearing from people who want more gun controls. And yesterday, it reached out to gun owners and to the National Rifle Association...The head of the [NRA] described his group's meeting with Vice President Biden as disappointing, saying that most of the talk focused on restricting the rights of legal gun owners."

Plante's reporting on Melissa Herman's act of self-defense against a burglar came later in the segment:

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1 (from 9-1-1 call): Just remember everything that I showed you – everything that I taught you, all right?

Screen Cap of Tweet From @NRANews, As Featured on the 11 January 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | MRC.orgBILL PLANTE: In an effort to counter the backlash from Newtown, the NRA Tweeted a story this week about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet. Her husband coached her on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: If he opens that door, you shoot – you shoot him, you understand?

PLANTE: She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Shoot him again! Shoot him!

PLANTE: The intruder was not hospitalized. The woman and her two children were not harmed. The NRA accuses the White House of targeting people like the Hermans. The group says it will now turn to Congress to fight every item of the President's agenda.

Though the CBS correspondent earlier pointed out how Biden's "task force, until now, has been hearing from people who want more gun controls" and how the Vice President "said there's growing consensus from his meetings to require universal background checks and ban high-capacity magazine clips", he failed to mention that the major players in the administration on this issue – President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Biden himself – all have staunch pro-gun control records.

Plante's Friday segment is a vast improvement from his December 19, 2012 report on CBS This Morning. The journalist aired three straight soundbites from liberals/gun control supporters, versus only one from a conservative/Republican.

The full transcript of Bill Plante's report from Friday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: Now to the gun control debate – the National Rifle Association is furious with the White House this morning. NRA officials met with Vice President Joe Biden's gun control task force yesterday, and they say no one wanted to listen to them.

Bill Plante is at the White House. Bill, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Politics Of Gun Control: NRA Blasts White House After Biden Meeting"]

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Charlie. Well, the Vice President's task force, until now, has been hearing from people who want more gun controls. And yesterday, it reached out to gun owners and to the National Rifle Association, which did not like what it heard.

PLANTE (voice-over): The head of the National Rifle Association described his group's meeting with Vice President Biden as disappointing, saying that most of the talk focused on restricting the rights of legal gun owners.

DAVID KEENE, NRA PRESIDENT: The Vice President made it clear that, in terms of firearms, they have made up their minds.

PLANTE: But that's not the way the Vice President sees it, as he told reporters just before the meeting with sportsman gun advocates.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: There is no conclusion that I've reached, and, with my colleagues, I'm putting together a series of recommendations for the President.

PLANTE: Biden said there's growing consensus from his meetings to require universal background checks and ban high-capacity magazine clips - two proposals the NRA, which represents more than 4 million gun owners, strongly opposes.

The Biden meetings weren't the only ones on Thursday. Several large retailers who sell guns, including Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods, met with Attorney General Eric Holder, part of Mr. Biden's task force to develop a plan to curb gun violence. Dick's suspended the sale of semi-automatic rifles following the Newtown shooting in December.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1 (from 9-1-1 call): Just remember everything that I showed you – everything that I taught you, all right?

PLANTE: In an effort to counter the backlash from Newtown, the NRA Tweeted a story this week about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet. Her husband coached her on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: If he opens that door, you shoot – you shoot him, you understand?

PLANTE: She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Shoot him again! Shoot him!

PLANTE: The intruder was not hospitalized. The woman and her two children were not harmed. The NRA accuses the White House of targeting people like the Hermans. The group says it will now turn to Congress to fight every item of the President's agenda.

KEENE: We said before the election that if Barack Obama were re-elected that he was going to, during his second term, go after our Second Amendment rights. The Newtown tragedy gave him an opportunity do that.

PLANTE (on-camera): Now, the NRA had called for armed guards in every school, and now, the administration is considering a version of that. One of the ideas on the table is to make federal funds available to schools that want to hire police or install surveillance equipment. Biden has promised to send his recommendations to the President by next Tuesday. Norah, Charlie?

O'DONNELL: And we'll be watching. Bill Plante, thank you.

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