ABC, NBC Chalk Up Abe Assassination to ‘Gun Violence’ in Country With ‘Stringent’ Gun Laws

With CBS Mornings Trashing former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as “a polarizing figure” “nationalist”With “controversial” views just hours after being assassinated, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’sToday On Friday they were less conciliatory, recalling him as an a “giant” And “popular leader.” However, they sought to tie his killing to mass shootings in the U.S. and argue Abe was the victim of “gun violence.”

In the instance of Today, they also suffered an embarrassing error as NBC showed they can’t tell their Asian countries apart by running b-roll of five South Korean flags flapping in the wind when talking about its neighbor. The following is the a fraught past between the countries, it’s all the more embarrassing. 

Co-host Hoda Kotb signaled in an opening tease that the network would tie our mass shootings to Abe’s death: “This morning, what we know about the motive and the investigation into how it happened in a country where gun violence is nearly unheard of.”

Leading into foreign correspondent Janis Mackey Frayer’s report, Kotb made the explicit connection that President Biden would also make:

We should also note that incidents such as these are very rare in Japan, despite the fact that gun violence is a major issue in America. Only ten incidents involving guns were reported last year. One person was also killed in these gun incidents.

Frayer must have also received the talking points, stating early in her report that Abe’s “death is profoundly shocking for Japan, a country where gun violence is almost nonexistent.”

Moments later, she reiterated that Japan’s “unaccustomed to gun violence” with Friday’s attack having been “exceptionally rare” because “[i]ts gun laws are the most stringent in the world.”



As CBS’s Elizabeth Palmer did last month in a segment touting Japan’s gun laws, Frayer summarized what it’s required to purchase a firearm:

While some guns may be allowed to hunt, few people complete the application process. For a person to purchase and own a firearm they must go through twelve steps. This includes a gun safety class and written exam. 

But, unlike Palmer, Frayer chose not to smear Abe, pointing out he was “still prominent after stepping down” two years ago for “health reasons.”

Frayer stated that Abe “was credited with invigorating the economy, also reinvigorating diplomacy, meeting with dozens of world leaders,” “golfed five times with President Trump and took President Obama for that deeply symbolic visit to Hiroshima.”

“As a politician, Hoda, his views may not have been widely popular, but as a figure. He was. Japan will be deeply affected by the fact that Abe was killed in gun violence. I don’t think that point can be overstated,”Sie said.

There are more Good Morning America, foreign correspondent Lama Hasan called “Abe’s assassination…unthinkable,” But she also attributed the incident to “gun violence,” This “is extremely rare in Japan And the country has some of the strictest gun laws in the world” and “rarely more than ten gun deaths a year.”

Anthony Trotter from Japan’s ABC News added:

Shootings are rare. Here, guns are strictly restricted. It is rare for this type of crime to occur. There have been many types of crime, including bombings and poisonings. But guns are almost absent in this country.

That said, ABC largely took the higher road in both discussing the attack and memorializing Abe (click “expand”):

STEPHANOPOULOS: Breaking news, brazen assassination. Shinzo Abe was a former Japanese prime minister. He was giving a speech at the time. At the scene, the shooter was taken out. It was a homemade weapon that was found on the streets. We know now as the worldwide response pours in.


HASAN – Abe was an admired leader who became the country’s longest-serving prime minster. He was speaking in support of one party member before the weekend’s parliamentary elections. Abe was a key power broker who helped shape American foreign policies in the region, domestically as well internationally, even though he stepped down. 


STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, it’s hard to overstate how much shock Japan is in from this shooting. Abe is one of the most important leaders post-war Japan. Since World War II, they have not had any history of assassination. And as Lama’s piece pointed out, ten or fewer gun violence deaths a year in that country. It is quite shocking for this country.

While they were busy smearing Abe’s character, CBS Mornings make the gun control connection with co-host Tony Dokoupil noting Japan “has so little gun violence” and wondered whether there’s been a “response…when it comes to gun policy” as if to suggest it needed further tightening.

Advertising companies Wayfair and Target made this desperate attempt to tie gun control and a major assassination, just hours after it occurred. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

For ABC and NBC, click here for the transcripts.

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