Apparently following the “Jim Acosta Playbook” in her search for greater visibility, NBC News correspondent Ali Vitali decided to get cute with her opinionated question over in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday. Smack dab in the middle of a press conference that was supposed to be focused on President Trump’s Asian trip, foreign policy, and the tensions with North Korea, Vitali thought it would be a wonderful time to play “gotcha” with Trump on the subject of gun control.
“You’ve been talking about putting extreme vetting on people trying to come into the United States, but I wonder if you’d consider extreme vetting for people trying to buy a gun?” she asked, apropos of nothing.
Now, clearly Vitali was trying to link the question to Sunday’s tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which makes her question all the more embarrassing. After all, we learned quickly that shooter Devin Kelley should not have passed his background check and wouldn’t have if the Air Force bureaucracy had done its job. So, indeed, there are no additional laws that would have prevented the massacre in Texas, short of banning assault rifles. Even then, there’s nothing to say that Kelley wouldn’t have simply chosen another means to his destructive ends.
But what really bugs us about Vitali’s question is not that it’s yet another bit of nonsense about gun control, it’s the way it was phrased. This is not a question constructed to demonstrate intellectual curiosity or journalistic integrity. This is a question designed to get Vitali some airtime and perhaps inspire some lame thoughtpiece in the Washington Post. It’s a question designed to get a “Hell yeah!” from liberal haters who think it is the height of cleverness to turn Trump’s “extreme vetting” language back on him in this way. It’s a question designed, in short, to get half a million views on YouTube. And that really says more about the state of the media these days than the liberal bias that infects everything in their reporting.
Truthfully, this question deserved a classic Trump Eye Roll and a “Next?” but the president actually gave a pretty decent answer to Vitali nonetheless.
“If you did what you’re suggesting there would have been no difference three days ago, and you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun in his truck and shoot him, and hit him and neutralize him,” Trump said. “Instead of having 26 dead, he would’ve had hundreds more dead.”
But in the end, Vitali didn’t want to hear Trump’s common-sense answer to her buffoonish question – she just wanted to get her dig in at the president, Republicans, the NRA, and, perhaps, Islamophobia. She, like so many of her colleagues, is an activist masquerading as a journalist. But hey, we’re sure she’ll have her own talk show soon enough.