CNN's Alisyn Camerota Sets an Example by Acknowledging She Was Wrong on Rubio and Guns

One of the most frustrating aspects of political discourse is when misleading information is spread on significant platforms. Worse, when it is not strongly or openly corrected.

RedState experienced such a situation when an inaccurate story about David Hogg was posted on Monday. RedState Contributor Sarah Rumpf, who wrote the article, took immediate steps to rectify the situation when she realized her information was wrong, apologized earnestly, and tried to spread the correction as much as possible.

This willingness to be held accountable is what we should expect from people trusted with prominent platforms. And so I’d like to recognize someone else who was wrong and who subsequently made an effort to correct herself.

Earlier this month, CNN New Day co-anchor Alisyn Camerota downplayed the efforts of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to reduce gun violence. On Tuesday, March 15, during an interview with Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL 21st District), Camerota implied Rubio had ignored gun violence and his constituents by focusing on unimportant matters:

One of your colleagues in the Senate, Marco Rubio who, of course, represents Florida and was there with you at our CNN town hall, he introduced a bill yesterday. It was about Daylight Saving Time. He wants to make it year-round. Do you think that helps gun violence?

However, this was misleading, as Allahpundit pointed out at HotAir:

March 1: Rubio announces his intention on the Senate floor to introduce legislation to reduce school shootings
March 5: Rubio introduces the Stop School Violence Act
March 5: Rubio co-sponsors the NICS Denial Notification Act with Pat Toomey, Chris Coons, and Bill Nelson
March 5: Rubio calls on the Department of Education to tighten guidelines for reporting dangerous behavior at school to law enforcement
March 7: Rubio and Nelson introduce a bill to make “gun-violence prevention orders” available to law enforcement
March 7: Rubio co-sponsors a bill with 12 other senators to increase funding for school counselors, alarm systems, security cameras and crisis intervention training
March 13: Rubio, Nelson and several other senators hold a press conference to promote the Stop School Violence Act
March 14: Rubio testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee to promote his plans to reduce shootings

Camerota was rightly criticized for this misleading representation of facts — and it appears she heard and listened. On Saturday, March 24, Camerota noted she was wrong and apologized:

But let’s talk about the progress that Congress is making in terms of fighting gun violence, because there are some things that happened last night that we should tell you about. Part of this omnibus spending bill which was signed by President Trump yesterday in a Congress strengthened the federal background check system and they added $100 million annually to enhance school security. Both were proposals pushed by a number of Senators including Marco Rubio of Florida which of course is the site of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting.

In a recent interview on New Day, I mischaracterized Senator Rubio as not being focused on gun violence since Parkland. And I failed to mention that, in fact, there has been a lot that he has been doing behind the scenes. So, I want to highlight some of those things because I think it would be helpful for viewers to hear all that has been happening leading up to yesterday’s legislation.

So, Senator Rubio, as you heard from Scott Beigel’s mom, he has met and called victims and victim’s families. He participated of course in the CNN town hall, but he’s also bucked his own party and the NRA to support raising the age limit, to buy some guns from 18 to 21.

This week, he and fellow Florida Senator Bill Nelson announced a bipartisan bill to try to keep people with mental health issues from having guns. This is similar to the temporary restraining orders that Florida put in place after Parkland and Connecticut put in place after Newtown.

In fact, the Senator’s office tells me that starting tomorrow he will be focused on getting that so-called red flag bill passed. In other words, this march does not end the push for change in Congress.

Camerota apparently took this information to heart; she brought up Rubio’s efforts again on Monday, March 26, with Douglas shooting survivors and siblings David and Lauren Hogg.

At the DC March for Our Lives rally on Saturday, March 24, Hogg had accused Rubio of putting a “price tag” on student lives due to the money the NRA had donated to Rubio’s campaigns.

Camerota informed the Hoggs that Rubio had been working on efforts to reduce gun violence. She questioned the value and helpfulness of  saying “unnecessarily provocative” things when the goal is to work together to come up with effective solutions and pointed out “[Rubio] is actually trying to work across the aisle”:

CAMEROTA: You know, I want to talk to you about Senator Marco Rubio because my eyes were opened when I was there. You guys have sort of targeted him as somebody who you don’t think is doing enough and who you sort of depict as being callus. But, you know, I had a chance to talk to Scott Beigel’s mom. He, of course, is your geography teacher who was killed in the massacre. And she said that Marco Rubio, behind the scenes, has reached out to her, had all sorts of conversations with her, talked about how what they’ve done so far on Capitol Hill in terms of the Fix NICS Act, in terms of the Stop School Violence Act that’s part of the omnibus, yes, these are low-hanging fruit, yes, you want more, but should you be giving credit for even these incremental steps, David?

D. HOGG: I think it’s important to realize that it’s good that we’re having these incremental steps. But just like we saw in Florida, where we rose the age to 21, you can still purchase a gun at the age of 18 if it’s a private sale. And like with many of the laws that were — they’re passing right now, where they tried kind of fixing the Dickey Amendment, they didn’t give any more funding. What they did is they said like you officially can do research, but we just aren’t going to fund it. And they’re leaving a lot of loopholes in here and trying to seem like they are doing things, when in reality these laws have more holes than Swiss cheese.

CAMEROTA: I understand. But I guess my point is, is that if you’re trying to get everybody together, if you’re trying to have solutions, do you think it is helpful when you say things like, Marco Rubio is putting, you know, for a dollar and five cents or whatever your coupon said, that’s how much he values students? I mean do you think that’s unnecessarily provocative?

D. HOGG: No, I think it’s not enough — I don’t think it’s even provocative enough because I — Marco Rubio is still supported by the NRA, which works to ensure not the safety of gun owners and the safety of Americans everywhere, but to ensure that they sell more guns. And at the end of the day, so long as he is being paid by the NRA, he’s not going to work to fix anything that is going to be concrete change. He’s going to make laws that get him re-elected but actually don’t have any major effect.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, look, I’m not a Marco Rubio spokesperson. But now that I’ve heard what he’s doing behind the scenes, he is sponsoring all of these various bills, two of which were part of the omnibus, and so things are happening. And all I’m suggesting is that maybe you’re ire is misplaced, you know, since he is actually trying to work across the aisle?

D. HOGG: Yes, I think it’s a great step that he’s trying to work across the aisle. But I think so long as he’s supported by the NRA, no matter what he does, there’s always going to be loopholes in anything that he does. Because we’ve seen again and again, we’ve passed gun legislation in this country. And, at the end of the day, you can pass as many laws as you want, but if those laws are not very strong and they have so many loopholes that the NRA works so hard to ensure that they have, they aren’t going to be strong enough. Hey, they’re just not.

I appreciate that Alisyn Camerota learned she was wrong, acknowledged it, and apologized it — and then made real efforts to educate others as well.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.