This morning’s NBC’s Meet the Press ran the above anti-gun segment on “gun violence.” The carefully-edited excerpt from a larger film presented incarcerated criminals who’d shot innocent people and lived to regret it. All of those interviewed were black. Todd asked his audience to ignore that fact. Yeah. No. Within minutes the Internet was abuzz with charges of racial bias. Host Chuck Todd hardly had time to strip off his microphone to pen a public explanation. It’s a combination of “sorry if we hurt your feelings” and “screw you, it’s our job to make you uncomfortable.” Seriously. Here it is . . .
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the gun video we showed on Meet the Press today. Some were upset it only featured African-American men talking about their regrets of pulling a trigger. All of the men in the piece volunteered to be a part of the video and the larger project it is a part of.
But the last thing we wanted was to cloud the discussion of the topic.
The original decision to air this segment was made before Wednesday’s massacre. However, the staff and I had an internal debate about whether to show it at all this week. When we discussed putting it off, that conversation centered around race and perception – not the conversation we wanted the segment to invoke.
We decided against delaying the segment because we wanted to show multiple sides of what gun violence does in this country. We thought the issue of gun violence in our culture and society was an important conversation to continue — too important to put off for another week. The consequences of gun violence should not be hidden.
As I say to all audiences, Meet the Press should make all viewers uncomfortable at some point or we are not doing our job. I hope folks view the gun video as a part of the conversation we should all be having and not the totality of it.