Co-host Norah O'Donnell:
Co-host Gayle King:
When O'Donnell and King introduce the story, they completely omit the perpetrator when describing what happened to the police officers. Instead, they tell us it was “the weapon” that critically wounded the officers, without mentioning the existence of a perpetrator. CBS News seems to have a habit of doing that.
Video clips of Patrick Dunphy (plaintiffs' attorney):
This video clip from the plaintiffs' attorney is CBS's first foray into spinning the story into a propaganda piece. CBS seems to have cherry-picked these particular comments, which contain nothing about the case itself or how the jury reached its verdict. CBS chose to exclusively feature comments about the potentially far-reaching effects the verdict might have on “the way things are done around the country” and how that would be a “bonus.” Keep in mind that CBS chose to feature these specific comments from the attorney, and these comments alone.
I encountered a much more complete video of the attorney's interview with reporters after the verdict. It's rather amazing to watch the whole thing and compare it to the two tiny clips that CBS extracted.
The attorney tries to stay focused on the case itself, but reporters keep asking him to instead opine about how the verdict will “send a message across the country” and “change the way guns are sold,” virtually forcing him to comment on those possibilities, even though he said he didn't want to send a message across the country and that he didn't think or care about widespread change.
Even in that light, CBS picked two comments on that subject that mainstream media reporters on the scene had to virtually pry out of the attorney's mouth. After all, the agenda to “change” things is really all that matters, right?
Legal Expert Rikki Klieman:
Klieman gets off to a rowdy start. First, she says she was surprised by the verdict because she thought most jurors would not follow the philosophy of “gun-control people” and “responsible gun ownership people.” She seems to have forgotten that jurors are supposed to make decisions based on the facts of the case and what the law says. Jurors are not supposed to “toe the line” in favor of any personal philosophy or political agenda. A personal philosophy about gun control or gun rights should have no bearing. Persons who cannot make impartial decisions are supposed to be screened from the jury pool.
Next, Klieman says this case was the perfect case. Given that this case was “perfect,” why should she be surprised by the verdict?
Lastly, she bubbles over with the claim that the jury did something that Congress “could not and would... not... do... in... years.” With this, she makes a couple of rather silly and misleading implications. Bear in mind that Congress can do only two things with the law: repeal it or change it.
Klieman's words, her tone, her inflections, and her body language all tell us that she's overjoyed with this momentus verdict. You can just see the joy oozing from her pores. She seems to be having trouble containing herself.
Co-host Anthony Mason:
With this question, Mason jumps right into what I described earlier as the apparent mission of CBS News to disembowl the Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA). Mason doesn't ask anything about the facts of the case, the provisions of the law, or what caused the jury to reach its verdict.
All that stuff is secondary to an agenda to “change things” about the law. Mason doesn't even seek to explore whether anything's actually wrong with the PLCAA. Instead, he cuts right to the chase – How is this verdict going to change things about the law?
Co-host Mason, interjecting:
You might think a legal expert for CBS News would have enough legal acumen to understand the difference between “yes” and “no,” but keep in mind that this is the same legal expert who suggested that a jury for a Wisconsin trial court can perform some of the same functions as the Congress of the United States, and who seemed to think it's okay for jurors to make decisions based on personal or political philosophies.
In any event, Klieman finally wants to talk about “the facts” of the case, but only after painting a misleading picture of the law, then making an error of fact, and then leaving out the most important facts. She says the PLCAA provides “immunity from civil liability” and that the plaintiffs said, “You can't just immunize an industry.” In reality, however, that's not what the plaintiffs said and that's not what the PLCAA does.
What Does the Law Do?
“Prohibits a qualified civil liability action from being brought in any state or federal court against a manufacturer or seller of a firearm, ammunition, or a component of a firearm that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, or against a trade association of such manufacturers or sellers, for damages, punitive damages, injunctive or declaratory relief, abatement, restitution, fines, penalties, or other relief resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm.”
At first, that sounds a bit like the “immunity” Klieman was talking about, but it's not. First, as you can see, the PLCAA's immunity is limited to the results of “criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm.” That means the only instances in which any immunity is granted to the gun industry are those in which harm results from a third party's unlawful behavior with a gun, ammunition, or a component of a gun. That restriction, all by itself, greatly limits the law's scope.
But, wait – there's more! The PLCAA goes on to list six circumstances under which the limited immunity described above is nullified, which means there is no immunity for gun manufacturers or dealers in the following types of lawsuits, even when the law's immunity would otherwise apply:
It might help to see the PLCAA's provisions in a flowchart. That way, it's easier to understand all the tests that must be passed before immunity is granted:
For instance, if a gun dealer engages in negligent behaviors, the law grants no immunity. If a manufacturer or dealer violates state or federal law regarding the sale or marketing of a firearm, the law grants no immunity. If a manufacturer designs or markets a defective firearm that harms people outside of criminal activity, the law grants no immunity.
In a nutshell, the only immunity granted under the PLCAA is immunity to being held liable for the unlawful activity of other people. CBS News seems to think that's outrageous. How dare Congress enact a law that lets you off the hook for the results of crimes or unlawful activity committed solely by someone else!
Klieman is supposed to be a renowned “legal expert,” so she can't be excused for ignorance about what the PLCAA actually says. Given that, I can only wonder whether she suffered a minor stroke right there in the CBS studio that erased these portions of the law from her memory. CBS News cannot claim ignorance, either, because the network broadcast two stories in December 2014 that mentioned the law's exceptions. (Those two stories were the first time I noticed that CBS seemed to have a mission to take down the federal law. Click here for that critique.)
Where Did this Law Come From?
“In the years before passage of the act, victims of firearms violence in the United States had successfully sued manufacturers and dealers for negligence on the grounds that they should have foreseen that their products would be diverted to criminal use. The purpose of the act is to prevent firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products.” 
We should not be surprised that CBS News would leave this out. To explain it would be counterproductive to the gun-hating narrative and efforts to impugn the law. Prior to the PLCAA, gun manufacturers were being successfully sued simply for making products that performed as they were designed. Yes, shooting someone with a gun will harm that person, but the gun is supposed to fire a bullet when the trigger is pulled. That's the nature of a firearm. If the gun industry cannot manufacture and market firearms because of unjustified lawsuit liability, that would pretty much defeat the purpose of having a 2nd Amendment, wouldn't it?
Congress felt that such lawsuits needed to be reined in and that liability for manufacturers and dealers should be limited to harm caused by the manufacturers or dealers themselves, not by third parties who use guns to commit crimes. Instead of explaining any of that, Klieman whines that, in her words, no other industry has “immunity” from civil liability – not the pharmaceutical companies, not the car manufacturers, not the “appliance people.”
It's interesting that she phrased it that way, because Wikipedia goes on to say that under the 2005 federal law, “manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible, in much the same manner that any U.S. based manufacturer of consumer products (i.e. automobiles, appliances, power tools, etc.) are held responsible.” 
The renouned legal expert at CBS News failed to mention any of this, choosing instead to tell us no one else has immunity like this, and “enough is enough.” I wonder why she would do that.
Does this Verdict Clash with the Law?
For those who prefer the flowchart depiction, see below for how the jury used the PLCAA to guide its reasoning. Note the portions highlighted in yellow:
That's exactly how the PLCAA is supposed to work. However, this CBS News report makes you think the jury reached its verdict despite the law, instead of in conjunction with the law. If the jury had to go around the law in order to reach this verdict, then anyone can see that this law needs to be repealed or changed, right?
To present the story that way is grossly misleading. You couldn't pass Journalism 101 at a community college if you turned-in an assignment containing this sort of tripe. The “journalists” reporting this story should be ashamed. Instead, they seem pleased with themselves.
Co-host King, interrupting:
I guess King had had enough of Klieman trying to talk about the case itself. CBS News doesn't seem to care about that. Instead, King interrupts and asks Klieman basically the same question that Mason asked earlier – Will this case lead to changes??
Kleiman's earlier answer to this same question (which was “the law is the law”) was obviously not what CBS wanted to hear. This time, Klieman obliges by giving us the following opinion, which the gun-hating community (and probably CBS News) hopes will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and then she hypothesizes that the mainstream media's favorite presidential candidate for 2016 might actually fulfill the gun-hating quest to change the law.
Co-host King, interjecting:
Holy cow. If this story had not been appalling enough up to this point, it reached new depths of “appalling” with this little tidbit. Klieman jumps into an entirely different type of journalistic malpractice by going out of her way to mention that this horrible federal law cannot be changed unless we have the right president, and Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who is “very strong” in wanting to “do something” about the law. Hint, hint.
And, even if you don't care about the PLCAA, co-host Gayle King wants you to know that Clinton was “very strong” in the Democratic presidential debate held on the previous evening. Note how King expresses that opinion by interjecting, “She was,” into Klieman's comment about Clinton being very strong, even before Klieman finishes her point that Clinton was very strong about wanting to do something about the law.
Co-host King, to Klieman:
You So Funny!
Yes, isn't it funny that someone's “passion” should cause a political agenda to be inserted into a misleading news report by a network that holds itself out as a respectable, objective, unbiased news outlet? Isn't that hilarious? And, isn't it even more hilarious that someone presenting a news story on that same network would include a shameless plug for a specific presidential candidate? The hilarity about that is just boundless! No wonder they think it's so funny!
Omissions Can Speak Louder Than Words
The failure to mention what happens next just supports the notion that CBS couldn't care less about this case, except to the extent that it provides a vehicle to continue the mission of taking down the Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms Act of 2005. Nevermind that the law provides no immunity when a gun manufacturer or dealer has actually done something wrong, like commit a crime or behave negligently. CBS failed to inform you that the law grants no immunity in such cases, leaving you instead to believe that the law grants immunity under any circumstances, and how can a law like that be anything but bad?
Also nevermind that the PLCAA worked just like it was supposed to, i.e. the jury found that Badger Guns did something wrong, so the verdict went against the gun shop. That's how the law is supposed to work (which also wasn't mentioned). Nevermind all that, because if people know about that stuff, the PLCAA actually seems to make sense. No, no, no – we can't have that.
Instead, people must be kept in the dark about the law's actual effects and origins. That way, the gun-hating community is better able to demonize the PLCAA and eventually get it “changed” or repealed altogether. CBS News, to its own disgrace, has become virtually indistinguishable from the gun-hating community in this regard.
The Good Old Days
The PLCAA helps keep that from happening and that's why gun haters abhor the law so much. And, based on how CBS News covers and portrays the law, the network seems to be doing everything it can to bring back the “good old days.”
Quick sidebar: In the wake of the Milwaukee verdict, Time Magazine described suing the gun industry as a “new strategy.” However, it's actually an old strategy, which the 2005 federal law was intended to offset, except for cases in which the gun industry is actually responsible for harming someone. I guess painting it as a “new strategy” makes it sound fresh and exciting and might encourage more lawsuits, but there's nothing new about the lawsuit strategy. In fact, the lawsuit strategy is so old that it's what started this whole thing to begin with. The lawsuit strategy is not the most recent chapter in this saga – it's the very first chapter. The editors at Time must know that, which makes me wonder why they would say otherwise.
But, wait... Why stop there? The mainstream media can also morph this issue into a way of promoting a certain presidential candidate, which we saw happen in this CBS News report.
Keep up the good work, CBS!
Note: The purpose of this critique is not to defend the PLCAA. This is a critique of how the story was covered by CBS News. This critique's commentary about the law itself is supported by third-party sources (Congress.gov and Wikipedia) and is included for the sole purpose of contrasting the PLCAA's actual contents and origins with how CBS News depicts the law.
If you want to read more about the track record of CBS News in its coverage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms Act of 2005, click here to read PolitiFACTOID.com's review of a CBS story from December 2014 about a separate gun lawsuit.