CNN Slammed for Hiring NRA-Approved ‘Gun Nut’ Stephen Gutowski as Firearms Analyst: ‘Paychecks for the Price of Innocent Lives’

Gutowski founded The Reload, a news organization focused on firearms policy

Stephen Gutowski
Stephen Gutowski will join CNN as an analyst (CNN)

CNN announced their newest hire Wednesday, and it’s being met with its share of backlash from the left. Stephen Gutowski, the founder of The Reload, a news organization committed to “sober, serious reporting on–as well as analysis of–firearms policy and politics,” will join the newsroom to report on and analyze gun policy in the network’s latest bid to be a moderate news destination.

“THIS is who CNN just hired as a commentator on guns,” wrote Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement dedicated to addressing gun violence in the U.S. “Someone who was awarded gun lobby ‘reporter of the year,’ who was a regular guest on the NRA’s extremists NRATV outlet, and friend of Dana and Chris Loesch…”

This sentiment was echoed by many others, with one user saying the hire, who will join the Guns in America beat, “a new beat dedicated to tracking and unpacking all aspects of the complex and divisive issues surrounding guns and gun violence in the country,” according to CNN, was like getting “paychecks for the price of innocent lives,” considering his approval rating from the NRA. Another user tweeted “CNN hires gun nut for gun analysis,” while others insisted Gutowski’s hire would end their CNN viewership. “No thanks @CNN,” one user wrote. “I will not be watching ANY of your programs. NONE.”

Others saw the new addition as a positive move by CNN to shift further center, as guided by CNN CEO Chris Licht, who has shaken up the network’s primetime and morning programming as well as staffing, most notably seen through the cancelation of Brian Stelter’s “Reliable Sources.” “CNN is changing,” one viewer noted.

On the other hand, some users understand the change as a “step in the right direction” to spread awareness of how firearms policy functions in the U.S.

“I think this is a step in the right direction and something our country needs,” one person wrote. “We need to hear about TRUE policy, how firearms function, and the impact bills/laws will have. I’m a bit skeptical of CNN given their gun control stance, but I’m giving the benefit of the doubt.”

The change also garnered an outpour of enthusiasm from many who recognize Gutowski’s strengths as a reporter, as some praising the hire as “absolutely outstanding,” to “well earned.” Others stated their admiration of the reporter’s honesty and fact-based reporting, an element that Gutowski’s website summarizes with the motto: “No hot takes. No screaming. No manipulating. Just reporting.”

In his Wednesday announcement, Gutowski reassured viewers he would still be running The Reload full-time and “will continue to bring a sober, serious approach to firearms reporting and analysis.”

“The only difference is I will be bringing that approach to CNN too,” he wrote on Twitter.

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