Network Special Reports Trumpet Beto Making a Scene at Uvalde Presser

Wednesday afternoon’s press conference on the Uvalde, Texas school shooting descended into shenanigans during what should have been a solemn occasion to update the public on the investigation when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert O’Rourke heckled Governor Greg Abbott (R) and other elected officials, blaming them for the murder of 19 children and two teachers. Naturally, the broadcast networks refused to speak out against O’Rourke’s antics and barely acknowledged O’Rourke’s party ID.



CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil interjected after O’Rourke was escorted away, saying it was likely “over a key question from the press conference” in which “Governor Abbott said…the problem” Click here “was mental health, not guns.”

Of course, no party affiliation.

O’Rourke interrupted Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), so Dokoupil did the same once Patrick began speaking to give O’Rourke more oxygen over his highlighting of “a difference of opinion, you might say, in the most dramatic form over what exactly is to blame for the massacre in the building behind me, and what exactly this community needs now, healing for those who are suffering or a change to policy to help the next victims, the victims to come.”

To her credit, correspondent Janet Shamlian conceded that only was O’Rourke’s stunt “very clearly staged,” but it was planned well in advance thanks to “two people across the aisle from me” who saved him seat so he only had to enter just prior to the start of the press conference.

Dokoupil equated O’Rourke’s shameless behavior with the press conference itself, saying both were engaged in a “political do-si-do[.]”

He then bailed out for O’Rourke’s impromptu presser outside the Uvalde high school and summed it up as having discussed “gun control, a policy platform that is important to him and many others in his parties and many Americans, for that matter.”

Dokoupil cited a CBS News poll as proof that Americans support O’Rourke before moments later concluding with the take that the “right” to own firearms are “threatening” the “blessing” of “children” (click “expand”):

Key to the debate that followed and the outburst between him and Beto O’Rourke, the governor said there is no known mental health diagnosis for the gunman who slaughtered so many in the building behind me. It would be a grave omission to make the following statement: Mental health is the root problem in Texas. Let me inform our viewers about the recent CBS News poll, which was conducted after the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. It took place a week before this shooting here at Uvalde. It found 54 percent of Americans — so a slim majority — do want laws covering the sale of guns made more strict than they are now. 30% said that the laws should remain as they are. Another 16 percent wanted them to be less stringent. You can get a feel for the country. The majority of people desire tightening regulations.


Governor Greg Abbott declared that children were a blessing. That’s certainly true. Both guns are correct and each seems to be in danger at the moment.

ABC has more information Good Morning America co-host Amy Robach similarly interjected as O’Rourke ended his confrontation and again didn’t give a party ID: “That is Beto O’Rourke yelling at the governor — Governor Greg Abbott, saying this could have been avoided, you can see how passionate and heated he is.”

ABC also chose to not give Patrick the light of day and instead followed O’Rourke’s charade outside. ABC carried his comments and included (D) in the chyron.

Robach didn’t rule on O’Rourke’s conduct besides saying “passions are high.” Mireya Villarreal from Mireya Communications shared with us what she had seen and added that it was all visible inside the auditorium. “Beto is up for election right now. He is running for governor here in Texas.”

Chief national correspondent Matt Gutman followed the failed candidate outsideAnd, afterwards, noted that O’Rourke “just blew…up” and “destroyed that press conference” by going against the “certain decorum” at “these kinds of very solemn press conferences.”

Gutman summarized O’Rourke’s screed, claiming the assailant purchased his guns without a background check and it was somehow a travesty he was able to do so despite not having passed his driving test (click “expand”)

Although I doubt anyone expected this to happen, I have witnessed many such press conferences. Generally there is a certain thequorum for these types of solemn events. The governor talking about 19 dead children, truly making a dramatic, slowing it down the way he was talking, but Beto O’Rourke came in there just blew it up by demanding answers, saying you know mental health is a problem. This is not the answer. It is not insane to allow an 18 year old boy, basically a young male, to purchase an AR-15 style rifle, with a large capacity magazine, without having to go through a background check and getting a license. This kid did not even have a drivers license — couldn’t drive a car. That is what O’Rourke was here to say. That was a powerful way to convey a point. And it almost destroyed that press conference. But O’Rourke still holds court today, speaking out about the actual needs and noting that Gov. Abbott will be heading up NRA Houston. So, he’s talking about mental health, the governor is, but not talking about the other major issue, which is guns in a state that is seen five of the most deadly mass shootings in the nation’s history. He’s demanding action, saying that the action being offered by Governor Abbott is not action at all. This is the side that I believe many people in the community, and even the media, are discussing. Is it possible for such a young man to obtain an AR-15 equipped with a magazine of high capacity without having to ask?[.]

And on NBC, senior national correspondent Tom Llamas said after the hubbub that O’Rourke was “essentially putting the onus on the governor and the leadership in Texas” as he’s “running for office here in the state of Texas, statewide office.”

After allowing much of the press conference to air, Llamas stated on-air that O’Rourke’s “running against Governor Abbott for the statewide office as a Democrat.”

Correspondent Morgan Chesky was in the massive crowd of reporters following their dear Beto, reporting afterwards that O’Rourke’s presence made for “a stunning scene to…play out in realtime here as this community tries to move forward as best it can.”

For ABC, CBS and NBC transcripts from May 25, please click here.

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