'CBS This Morning's' Gayle King on Orlando Shooting Coverage: "I Don't Want to Be Desensitized to It"

Courtesy of CBS
Charlie Rose and Gayle King on Monday's 'CBS This Morning'

"If you try to bring up gun control during one of these horrible, despicable tragedies, all politicians sort of run for the hills and say, ‘Now is not the time to discuss it, we must come together and heal.’ Well, my question is, when is the time to discuss it?”

The national media continued reporting from Orlando, Fla., on Monday as more details emerged about the shooter who massacred 49 people at a nightclub early Sunday morning.

The coverage follows a sadly familiar script, though this time it comes in the middle of a volatile — and at times ugly — presidential campaign. But many news anchors once again making the hastily booked flights to the scene of yet another mass shooting are not simply going through the motions. 

“I don’t want to be desensitized to it,” said Gayle King, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, who reported from Orlando on Monday morning along with her colleague Charlie Rose.

King was preparing to attend the Tony Awards when it became clear on Sunday morning that she would instead be heading to Orlando to cover the worst massacre in U.S. history; 49 people were killed, as well as the gunman, and 53 were injured when Omar Mateen opened fire at a nightclub there.

“I don’t want to get to the point of, 'OK, here we go again,'" said King. "Even though the stories are hauntingly familiar because we are all human beings with beating hearts. And I think it’s important to drive that home. Sometimes you do need to be reminded that this is not how the world is supposed to be, people.”

Cable news has offered continuous coverage of the shooting with breaks to cover the volatile presidential primary — including Donald Trump’s latest salvo against the media. Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly will anchor their respective programs from Orlando while Bill O’Reilly will have an interview with Trump. CNN’s Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon also will helm their shows from Orlando. And all three broadcast evening news anchors — CBS’ Scott Pelley, ABC’s David Muir and NBC’s Lester Holt — will once again be live from Orlando on Monday evening. Holt’s Nightly News will expand to one hour. 

The latest mass shooting has once again brought the topic of gun control — and particularly the kind of semi-automatic assault rifles that have been used in such deadly shootings — to the fore. The 29-year-old Mateen used an AR-15, the same assault-style weapon used in the 2012 massacre of 20 school children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

In his statement from the Oval Office on Monday, President Barack Obama noted: “We make it very easy for individuals who are troubled, or disturbed, or want to engage in violent acts to obtain very powerful weapons very easily, and it’s a problem.”

Mateen, an American citizen who had been questioned by the FBI for expressing extremist views and allegiance to the Islamic State, purchased the gun legally. The Newtown shooting prompted much soul searching but little movement on new gun control legislation. 

“I’m not sharing my position on gun control,” added King, who observed that the issue is a “very controversial hot topic.

“If you try to bring up gun control during one of these horrible, despicable tragedies, all politicians sort of run for the hills and say, ‘Now is not the time to discuss it, we must come together and heal.’ Well, my question is, when is the time to discuss it?”
 

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