By leaving out the context — by leaving out the fact that 90 percent of Americans support background checks to cover all gun sales — the press erroneously presents the Obama initiative as deeply controversial and deeply partisan. But they’re not. And it’s worth noting that much of the existing polling showing vast support for expanded background checks has focused on the question of whether all gun sales should be subject to a background check, but Obama’s proposal doesn’t even go that far. It’s actually hard to find another high-profile public policy issue in the U.S. that enjoys as much bipartisan backing. The polling data is rather remarkable: *90 percent of Americans support criminal background checks for all gun sales. *83 percent of gun owners nationally support criminal background checks on all sales of firearms. *72 percent of NRA members back them. By often ignoring those findings, the press misreads the story. For instance, Politico reported Obama will have “a tricky task” convincing “gun-owning Americans” to support his background check push. But that doesn’t make sense because most gun-owning Americans already support background checks.
The Media’s Missing Context: Obama’s Push To Expand Background Checks Is Wildly Popular With Gun Owners | Blog | Media Matters for America