On Wednesday, gun control advocates and President Obama were dismayed when the Manchin-Toomey compromise failed to pass in the Senate. The amendment, introduced by Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns. Just six short to move forward, only 54 members passed the measure, with 46 opposing.
Across the Atlantic, European publications highlighted the news in light of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., as well as its impact on Obama’s political career. The latter can possibly be attributed to the vote’s effect international opinion of Obama. European publications might mention the Newtown shooting at the beginning of their stories because it is not at the forefront of their readers’ minds like many Americans. These publications’ emphasis on Newtown is probably also the result of their confusion at our enduring gun culture.
France: Paris’ Le Monde said the vote was a “stinging defeat” for the President. Unlike some American outlets, the paper also cited the shootings in Newtown right away, writing “Obama had increased travel and solemn declarations, often with relatives of the victims [since the school shooting].”
Germany: Weekly magazine Spiegel also noted how much of a defeat it was for the President, calling it a “major setback” and cited Newtown in the second paragraph. Major daily Die Zeit also said the vote was a “setback” but did not mention Newtown until its third paragraph.
Spain: El País wrote in its lede that the measure was not only the “most ambitious” recent gun control legislation but was a “major bet for reducing gun violence championed by President Barack Obama,” calling the decision a “blow” after the shootings in Newtown.
Sweden: In an opinion piece, Aftonbladet called the nay senators “cowardly politicians,” adding “the memory of the 20 dead children did not even last half a year.” In its hard news coverage, the tabloid cited the statistic that 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks — which most American pundits noted early on — and said it was a “stinging defeat.”
Italy: The Milan daily, Corriere della Sera, also cited Newtown, reminding readers the reason the bipartisan agreement was meant to prevent “massacres like that of December 14 last year at an elementary school in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults.”
Note: Online articles were read in English using Google Translate.