Cydney Hargis

Author ››› Cydney Hargis
  • Politico Magazine contributor repeats tired NRA myths to suggest Democratic party give up on gun safety

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    In an analysis of the upcoming Montana special election, a Politico Magazine contributor questioned whether the Democratic party can “retake Congress by giving up on gun control,” erroneously blaming advocacy for such regulations for Democrats loses in the 1994 congressional elections and the 2000 presidential election.

    Evidence-based research into those elections has long disproved those theories, which have been promoted by the National Rifle Association in order to bolster its image.

    In the May 24 article, Politico Magazine’s Bill Scher accused Democrats of being “squeamish about gun control” ever since feeling the “backlash” in the 1994 midterms in response to President Clinton’s assault weapons ban and background checks bill. Scher went on to incorrectly blame Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 presidential election on his support for President Clinton’s firearms regulations:

    Democrats have been squeamish about gun control ever since they felt the backlash to President Bill Clinton’s enactment of a ban on assault weapons and “Brady Law” background checks, which shouldered some blame for the Democratic loss of Congress in 1994. But 2000 presidential nomine (sic) Al Gore doubled down. In the wake of the 1999 Columbine massacre and a liberal primary challenge from New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, Gore ran on a robust gun control package that included a ban on cheap handguns. When he lost gun-friendly states that Clinton had won—namely Arkansas, West Virginia and his own home state of Tennessee—guns were blamed again.

    Soon after, Democrats began keeping their voices down about gun control, even when mass shootings occurred. The Republican Congress let Clinton’s assault weapons ban expire without a vote, but Democrats didn’t fight exceptionally hard. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean touted his “A” rating from the NRA during the 2004 presidential primary. The nominee that year, John Kerry, futilely tried to pick off Ohio, and leaven his support for reinstating the assault weapons ban, with an October goose hunting expedition.

    [...]

    At that point, Democrats won’t be able to sweep the gun issue under the rug. They will have to make a choice: to be or not to be the party of gun control. And if they are still going to be party committed to reducing gun violence, they had best not waste time figuring out how to do it.

    In actuality, factors other than gun violence prevention measures better explain the 1994 election outcome; Congress had raised taxes in 1993, passed NAFTA, failed to pass healthcare reform and according to a statistical analysis by political scientist Gary Jacobson, Republicans won the House “because an unusually large number of districts voted locally as they had been voting nationally.”

    The idea that support for gun regulations resulted in Gore’s 2000 loss is also a common media myth. According to then-American Prospect columnist, and former Media Matters employee Paul Waldman, "Any discussion of the 2000 election is complicated by the fact that the contest was so close that any of a multitude of factors could be described as decisive.” Waldman attributed Gore’s loss in southern states in particular to a partisan shift Republican support as opposed to the NRA’s opposition.

    As Waldman explained, “The 2000 presidential election was not an anomaly, but rather part of a steady trend away from the Democratic party in Tennessee. Bill Clinton won there in 1996 by only 2.4 points, less than he had in 1992. Gore lost there by 3.9 points, John Kerry lost in 2004 by 14.3 points, and four years later Barack Obama lost by 15.1 points." One 2000 study even found that Gore's position on guns offered him a slight benefit on Election Day with voters.

  • NRATV: "England has had [Manchester attack] coming for a long time" in part because it has “done away” with gun rights

    NRATV commentator also blames multi-culturalism and “gender-bending” for attack

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Following an attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and 59 injured, a commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet nonsensically claimed England “has had this coming for a long time” in part because of the country’s gun laws.

    ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena right after a May 22 Ariana Grande concert. The attack comes after a March terror attack in London near the House of Parliament.

    During the May 23 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, commentator Chuck Holton claimed England “has had this coming,” due to the country’s firearms regulations, open borders for refugees,“multiculturalism” and “gender-bending.” (The attacker was reportedly U.K. born.) Host Grant Stinchfield echoed Holton’s claims at the end of the segment, stating that European countries have “disarmed their citizens, so … terrorists operate with impunity”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): You bring up this whole point of putting the English flag as a silhouette over your profile on your Facebook page. I’m all for supporting them -- they need our thoughts and prayers right now -- but listen, if the only time they do something like that is when we have a heinous attack, and then we’ll go for a week and they’ll forget all about it. And they take down their little flag and they put their pictures up on the beach and they’re having fun doing whatever, going to the movies, and they forget that there are people that want to kill us. And so I’m a little tired of the hypocrisy from the left and it's almost always the liberal that goes and puts this up on the day of an attack, and then it quickly comes down, and then it just eradicates from their mind like it never happened.

    CHUCK HOLTON: Because they think that that actually counts as doing something. It doesn't. And you know in reality, England has had this coming for a long time in that they have -- look, they have opened their borders to so many refugees, they have done away with the personal protections, of their own people being able to protect their families with firearms. And so what we’re seeing is, you know what? Terrorists don’t need firearms to perpetrate their heinous crimes. They are weaponizing the European culture. That’s what they’re doing. They are taking advantage of this multiculturalism and the, you know, gender-bending -- we could go on and on about this. The European male is disappearing in Europe -- the actual men who will stand up and fight for their country. You could also talk about the fact that the Europeans need these people to come in to help support their massive social welfare program. Do you know that, I was reading the other day, nine European -- major European leaders now are absolutely childless, and that reflects the broader culture in Europe, that places like Germany, 30 percent of German women have no children and will never have children. In England it’s something like 20 percent, but that’s rising. And so when you’re not making babies, you need people to come in and work and pay taxes to support your massive social welfare programs. So this is, in some ways, this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism.

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: And we are seriously considering sending Chuck Holton over to England to get the real scoop for you, because I can tell you right now, you’re not going to get the real scoop on the mainstream media channels. They’re not going to talk about the immigration problems that Europe experiences. They’re not going to talk about the problem that Europe, all countries, have basically disarmed their communities, disarmed their citizens, so what happens that terrorists operate with impunity.

    Stinchfield made the same ridiculous claim after four people were killed in the March 22 London attack, suggesting that Europeans are “unprepared for an attack” because “the government has all but disarmed” its citizens. While the U.K. did enact highly restrictive measures on gun ownership after a school shooting in 1996, the European nation also has drastically lower rates of gun deaths, gun homicides, and homicides by all methods compare to America does.

    Firearms are used in more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. High gun availability has been linked to increased gun homicide rates, with one review of academic research finding that “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” (The same trend is seen in comparisons between high-income countries.)

    Academic research has also found that guns are used in the U.S. far more often to commit crimes than to stop crimes. A 2000 study by Harvard Injury Research Control Center found that as a ratio, "guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense. Most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society."

    In fact, the odds of needing a gun to protect yourself are so low that it’s difficult to accurately measure the total number of defensive gun uses each year. Meanwhile, gun violence is so frequent in the United States that more than 100,000 gunshot injuries are recorded every year (a figure that does not include crimes committed with guns where no one is shot).

    In contrast to a lack of evidence that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings -- a frequent claim of the NRA -- terror attacks involving firearms in the United States, which often involve AR-15-style assault weapons, have been incredibly deadly over the years. A December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, involved a gunman shooting and killing 14 and wounding 22 with an assault rifle at an office holiday party, and the perpetrator of a June 2016 terror attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, shot and killed 49 and wounded at least 53, also with an assault rifle.

  • NRATV Falsely Claims Nevada Gun Safety Bill Will Allow An “Anti-Gun Zealot” To Have Their Neighbors' Guns Confiscated

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield erroneously claimed that “anti-gunners out there could weaponize” a new gun violence prevention bill in Nevada in order to get law enforcement to confiscate their neighbors’ legally owned firearms.

    The legislation in question, a type of protection order that allows temporary removal of firearms from certain “high-risk” individuals, actually allows only household members to file a report requesting the removal.

    During NRATV’s May 17 10-minute update at 11 a.m., Stinchfield interviewed NRA Nevadans For Freedom’s Robert Uithoven, who said that under this bill, anyone “who owned or possessed a firearm” was classified as “high risk.” Stinchfield went on to theorize that anti-gun advocates would file complaints against their neighbors, “and the next thing you know, those guns are being confiscated off the word of an anti-gun zealot”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): All right, so the big issue at hand, we talked last week about this bill that would say that anybody who owns a firearm would be considered high risk. And if you’re considered high risk, anybody makes a complaint about you, the police can come in and take your guns away. Shortly after that interview, they pulled the high-risk component of that bill, for simply being a firearms owner?

    ROBERT UITHOVEN: Right at the very beginning of the bill -- I mean, there are a lot of things wrong with this bill -- but it defined what a high-risk person is, and it's anyone who owned or possessed a firearm. And we’ve got a lot of those folks here in Nevada, as there are across the country. Just simply by the ownership or possession, you were defined as high risk. The sponsor of the bill, I think at the urging of probably the committee chair, removed that provision. There have been some modifications that have improved the bill, but it is still, in our view, a pre-crime bill.

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: And so due process is what this country is all about. We have a right to keep and bear arms -- if you want to take away one of our freedoms, you’ve got to prove the reason of why you’re going to take away that right. This bill does none of that, but even beyond that, I believe the left and the anti-gunners out there could weaponize this bill to have anti-gun advocates simply go around their neighborhood, know what neighbors own guns, and simply file a complaint against them, and the next thing you know, those guns are being confiscated off the word of an anti-gun zealot.

    UITHOVEN: That’s true, and even some Democrats -- we had our hearing last week right after we concluded with this interview. Fortunately, we, on this assembly judiciary panel where this hearing was conducted, we even had some Democrats who we believe will be with us on the legislation.

    In actuality, the bill, which passed the Nevada Senate last week, defined a high-risk individual far more narrowly: As guns.com described it, the term covers “someone who owns a firearm, poses a danger to themselves or others and has threatened violence” within six months “or behaved violently.” The bill also specifies that it is “a family, or household member or law enforcement officer” who can file a “verified application” for an order of protection against the individual -- not “anti-gun advocates” walking around the neighborhood, as Stinchfield suggested. The bill states that any firearm confiscation is temporary, with a hearing to be scheduled for 21 days after the order is issued; it may be extended after the hearing for up to one year. According to Guns.com, an amendment to the bill would add the rule that “those who provide false information” in trying to temporarily remove someone’s firearm would be penalized.

    This is the latest conspiracy theory from Stinchfield, who last week claimed that ISIS terrorists are trying to “freak liberals out” so they pass more gun safety measures, which would allow the group to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.” 

  • No, The NRA Is Not Actually The United States’ “Oldest Civil Rights Organization”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association is holding its four-day annual meeting April 27-30 in Atlanta, GA.

    In promotional materials for the meeting, the NRA wrote: “Georgia was a pivotal location in the civil rights movement. So, it is fitting that the NRA, the oldest civil rights organization in the country, is holding its 146th Annual Meeting of Members in Atlanta.”

    The NRA has repeatedly hyped itself as both the oldest and the largest civil rights organization in the country. But in fact when the organization was founded in 1871, its primary goal was to “‘promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.’” It did not actively begin lobbying for gun rights until nearly six decades later in 1934, when its Legislative Affairs Division was formed “‘in response to repeated attacks on the Second Amendment Rights,’” according to an analysis by the National Association for the Deaf (NAD). Both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909 and NAD founded in 1880 are older civil rights organizations than the NRA.

    Although the NRA praised Atlanta as the location for this year’s meeting because of its history with the civil rights movement, the NRA has previously lobbed multiple attacks against Atlanta-based congressman and civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). On June 22, 2016, following a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, Lewis led a sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to protest gun violence and push for gun safety legislation. During the sit-in, NRATV host Cam Edwards compared Lewis and other participants to “criminals and terrorists," because like terrorists, the sit-in participants were not following the rules. During a subsequent broadcast, Edwards lectured his audience on “what sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement” in an attempt to separate Lewis’ actions from the civil rights movement.

    In January 2017, Lewis took a stand against President Donald Trump, calling him illegitimate and said he planned on skipping the inauguration ceremony. During the January 16 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield claimed, “Dr. King would be ashamed of John Lewis” and said that Lewis has “forgotten what Dr. King stood for.” During an interview with NRA commentator and spokesperson Dana Loesch, Stinchfield called Lewis' refusal to attend the inauguration “anti-American,” “unpatriotic,” and “sad.” Loesch agreed with him and called Lewis’ comments “unfortunate” and “a threat to democracy.”

    Despite targeting a civil rights hero, the NRA has routinely attempted to co-opt the civil rights movement by, among other things, calling gun regulations “equally as unconstitutional” as Jim Crow laws and bemoaning that “too many Americans don’t think of the Second Amendment as a civil rights issue.” In August 2015, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action media liaison Lars Dalseide compared a Seattle ordinance that would fund gun violence research by imposing a tax on the sale of guns and ammunition to Jim Crow-era poll taxes.

    In March 2014, NRA board member Ted Nugent wrote in a column for conspiracy website WorldNetDaily that gun owners “must learn from Rosa Parks and definitely refuse to give up our guns,” in response to a law that banned assault weapons following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Nugent went on to call Rosa Parks his “hero” and has previously called himself “Rosa Parks with a Gibson.” 

  • Meet The NRA’s Resident Academic Racist

    NRATV’s Bill Whittle Has Promoted “Scientific” Racism On Intelligence And Crime

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & CYDNEY HARGIS

    Bill Whittle, a newly hired commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV, has promoted the racist notion that black people are inherently intellectually inferior to people of other races and suggested that races could be divided along the lines of "civilized man" and "barbarian."

    Whittle is a commentator for the NRA who appears on a daily basis during the NRA’s live updates, which are broadcast at the top of the hour between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. He typically appears during the 1 p.m. hour, where he discusses issues of the day with host Grant Stinchfield.

    According to his website, Whittle began his gig with the NRA on January 3. “Since then, he has guest-hosted for Grant and [NRATV host] Collion (sic) Noir” and co-anchored the NRA’s afternoon coverage of the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, the site notes. The NRATV website lists more than 80 appearances by Whittle on NRA programming this year. In addition to his employment with the NRA, Whittle is a longtime conservative commentator who is best known for his work with conservative outlet PJ Media.

    Whittle will be part of NRATV’s broadcast crew during the outlet's live coverage of the NRA’s annual meetings, which will be held this year in Atlanta, GA, from April 27 through 30.

    During a 2016 appearance on libertarian-turned-“alt-right”-commentator Stefan Molyneux’s webshow, Whittle revealed his acceptance of theories commonly called “academic” or “scientific” racism that tie together IQ scores, race, and crime. He also positively cited a white nationalist to claim people in inner cities “don't have access to cognition.”

    In the February 12 broadcast, which was released with the title “Why Liberals Are Wrong About Inequality,” Molyneux premised his discussion with Whittle with claims that in terms of average IQ scores, Ashkenazi Jews “clock in at about 115” and “after the Jews come the East Asians, right, the Koreans, the Chinese, the Japanese, and so on. They clock in at 105, 106, but very good on visual-spacial skills and very, very fast reaction times, which is another way that they measure intelligence. Caucasians come in at about 100 and then below that are Hispanics, clocking in at around 90, and then American blacks, clocking in at around 85 -- partly because they have 20 percent European mixture in their gene pool -- and then sub-Saharan Africans, clocking in at around 70, which is obviously very tragic, but this is the reality of what's happened. And slightly below that are the aboriginals in Australia, clocking in around 67 or whatever.”

    The attempt to classify certain races as genetically inferior on the basis of IQ scores is a classic example of academic racism promoted by white nationalists like Richard Lynn, and it has served as the premise for widely denounced “research” by writers like Charles Murray in The Bell Curve and Jason Richwine in his infamous proposal on Latino immigration.

    This type of sorting of the races by supposed genetic differences relating to intelligence has been widely discredited by scientists and anthropologists, even as white nationalists have increasingly attempted to revive the theories to push a racist agenda.

    During his conversation with Molyneux, however, Whittle accepted and promoted ideas based on these discredited theories.

    INDEX:

    Whittle Cited A White Nationalist To Promote "Scientific" Racism

    Neo-Nazi Website Feted Whittle's Appearance

    Scientists And Anthropologists Have Rejected Whittle's Claims

    Whittle Has A History Of Racism

    What Is NRATV?

    Whittle Prefaced His Racist Claims On Molyneux’s Show By Citing A White Nationalist And Indicating An Acceptance Of Academic Racism

    At the top of Whittle’s appearance, he cited The Bell Curve in indicating his acceptance of the notion there are differences in intelligence between races while offering an analogy he said Molyneux has used -- that “you can’t put somebody on a basketball team to make them taller” -- and linking race and intelligence to crime:

    STEFAN MOLYNEUX: We, of course, have had a whole bunch of experts from both the left and the right on talking about IQ differences between ethnicities, and I think that helped to bring the issue more to the forefront of your thinking, is that fair to say?

    BILL WHITTLE: Yeah, I mean obviously that's the controversial part of The Bell Curve is the IQ difference between ethnicities, but I think the deeper issue is since IQ seems to -- general IQ, g, right is the term they use -- since it so closely correlates to both poverty and crime on one hand and generally success and wealth on the other, it would be useful to be thinking about what a society that was recognizing these differences looked like. You can't -- I just love your example, I’ve used it every time with attribution, although it’s hard for me because it’s such a damned good analogy, but it’s like you said, you can’t put somebody on a basketball team to make them taller.

    Later in the broadcast, Whittle turned to the “enormous societal problems” we have “to solve,” and said of research claiming to show differences in intelligence among races: “It's not a question of whether or not this is true; it's a question of what do we do with what appears to be overwhelming information that IQ correlates to a lot of our social problems.”

    Whittle then cited Linda Gottfredson, saying, “She said that when you really get down to it, it's not that we have a -- that in terms of like really rigid poverty, it's not that we have a money problem; we have a cognitive problem. They don't have access to cognition, I think is what she said.”

    Gottfredson is a well-known white nationalist who has received funding from the Pioneer Fund. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “Gottfredson argues that racial inequality, especially in employment, is the direct result of genetic racial differences in intelligence.” SPLC notes that the Pioneer Fund’s “original mandate was to pursue ‘race betterment’ by promoting the genetic stock of those ‘deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.’” It says the organization “still funds studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the ‘science’ of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities.”

    In his appearance, Whittle also made a racist characterization of aboriginal Australians, claiming that members of that ethnicity would be unable to learn how to do a job such as Molyneux’s to make the point: “That’s the thing about intelligence is it can adapt down, but you can’t adapt beyond your ability”:

    WHITTLE: Well it's interesting when somebody would say that a bushman in Australia survives in the desert much better than you could -- that's undoubtedly true -- but the part that they're leaving out is that with several months or weeks or a year of being with the Aborigines, you could learn those techniques about as well as they could or certainly well enough to survive. The question is could they learn the techniques that you use in order to do what you do for a living and the answer apparently is not. That’s the thing about intelligence is it can adapt down, but you can’t adapt beyond your ability. 

    Arguing that an IQ difference among the races “certainly seems to be real,” Whittle also offered an analogy to a Star Trek episode in suggesting his claims of IQ differences among races is like comparing a “civilized man” to a “barbarian”:

    WHITTLE: If this IQ difference is real -- certainly seems to be real -- then it is not a two-way street. Forgive me for going back to my entire studio, which is nothing but a museum of Star Trek, right, but I mean there was a really fascinating point and I remember hearing it when I was probably 7, 8, 9 years old when I heard it. And it's from the classic, classic episode called Mirror, Mirror where they teleport into the alternate universe and Spock has a goatee … and Kirk in the alternate universe succeeds because of his savagery and his ruthlessness, right? Here's the whole line -- they finally solve all the stuff, they beam back to their own ships and the universes go their separate ways and Spock says to Kirk, he says, “You as a civilized man had a much easier time portraying a barbarian than a barbarian ever could as a civilized man.” And I thought yeah, yeah, yeah that's it, right?

    Perhaps most disturbingly, Whittle made clear that his beliefs about intelligence differences among races should inform public policy, claiming during his appearance that “if we don’t understand, as you said, that this cognitive ability has an impact on society in the same way that a height ability has an impact on the society of the NBA, for example, we’re going to just be throwing money at problems.”

    Neo-Nazi Website The Daily Stormer Feted Whittle’s Appearance

    The week following Molyneux’s broadcast, Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi operator of The Daily Stormer, celebrated the episode with an article headlined “Stefan Molyneux has Gone Full Shitlord.” (Although “shitlord” seems like an insult, neo-Nazis have appropriated the term as a compliment.)

    The Daily Stormer is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic website. For example, it recently characterized offensive claims about the Holocaust made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer by saying Spicer “confirms Hitler never gassed anyone” while joking (warning: disturbing image) that Nazis instead drowned Jewish babies “in buckets.” Anglin was recently sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for allegedly orchestrating a harassment campaign against a Jewish woman.

    In his write-up of Molyneux’s broadcast, Anglin said, “Here’s a good interview with Bill Whittle,” and wrote, “As I predicted would happen, Stefan Molyneux has pretty well entirely abandoned his libertarian claptrap and family counseling nonsense and gone full shitlord. Ultimately, everyone who is honestly looking for the truth is going to come to the same conclusions that we have, and he has, for the most part, come to these conclusions.”

    Real Scientists And Anthropologists Have Rejected The Claims About Race And Intelligence That Whittle Promoted

    Claims that genetic differences make certain races inherently less intelligent, often linked to the IQ test -- like those pushed by Whittle and Molyneux -- have been discredited by mainstream science.

    To begin, race is no longer viewed as a biological phenomenon by the majority of scientists. As explained in a 1992 article in peer-reviewed academic journal Ethnicity & Disease, “For some time, biologists and anthropologists have overwhelmingly rejected the partitioning of modern humans into biological ‘races.’ An examination of recent human evolutionary history suggests that the zoological definition of race, based on significant genetic differences, cannot be legitimately applied to contemporary humans.”

    As Ta-Nehisi Coates explained at The Atlantic, claims that are premised on supposed racial differences in intelligence proceed “from a basic flaw -- no coherent, fixed definition of race actually exists.” The leading view among scientists is that race is a “social construct without biological meaning.”

    On race and intelligence specifically, research published in 2012 found that “heritability of IQ varies significantly by social class,” and that “almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation in IQ in the normal range.” Put another way, the findings offered strong evidence that non-genetic factors are primarily responsible for intelligence.

    According to the late Robert Sussman, who worked as an anthropology professor at Washington University, “There is no indication from any scientific evidence that different populations have any specific physical or intellectual attributes, or abilities. Those characteristics relate back to one’s socialization or upbringing (or nutrition).”

    Strong evidence that intelligence is a product of environmental factors rather than genetics is found in the Flynn effect, which is “the observed rise over time in standardized intelligence test scores, documented by [psychologist James] Flynn ... in a study on intelligence quotient (IQ) score gains in the standardization samples of successive versions of Stanford-Binet and Wechsler intelligence tests.”

    Rejecting claims that linked race and intelligence on the basis of IQ scores, science journalist John Horgan wrote in 2013 that “to my mind the single most important finding related to the debate over IQ and heredity is the dramatic rise in IQ scores over the past century. This so-called Flynn effect, which was discovered by psychologist James Flynn, undercuts claims that intelligence stems primarily from nature and not nurture.”

    Whittle Frequently Makes Racist Commentary About Black People And Middle Easterners

    Whittle has offered racist commentary during appearances on Molyneux’s other broadcasts, in videos released under his own brand, and on NRATV:

    • Whittle claimed that there is a “Muslim invasion” of Europe during a November 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show. Whittle’s comments came during a discussion of r/K selection theory. The theory posits that r-selected species emphasize having large numbers of offspring, and investing few resources in each offspring, while K-selected species have fewer offspring to which they devote more resources. Humans are a K-selected species under the theory, although Whittle and Molyneux attempted to brand Muslim immigrants as an r-selected species.
    • While discussing “black America” during a December 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s program, Whittle described African Americans who support the Democratic Party as literal slaves who prefer to remain in captivity. He said that that the party has “30 million” slaves and the “terms of their slavery are very simple -- there’s a word for somebody who is fed, and clothed, and housed, and whose health care is taken care of by another person, and that word is slave.” Whittle then suggested that African Americans commit voter fraud on behalf of Democrats as a condition of their slavery, claiming, “On the voting plantation that the Democratic Party has set up in America, we demand two hours of work from you every two years. Every two years we demand that you go down to the voting places and vote, once, twice, three, four times, however [many] times as you can imagine, or manage, and that’s the work we expect for you in exchange for keeping you in bondage.”
    • During another 2015 appearance on Molyneux’s show, Whittle compared the “Islamic invasion of Europe” to “inner cities” in America “that are absolutely toxic, violent, enraged, bitter, [and] racist.” He went on to claim Black Lives Matter is “the street muscle” of the Democratic Party and that the group will make sure “everything’s gonna burn” if welfare is reduced. Again drawing a comparison between Europe and the United States, Whittle said, “We have the exact same problem here with these same kind of communities. They’re unemployable -- unemployed and unemployable -- they’ve been on assistance their entire lives, they’ve never had to work before,” and he said that these people should get jobs because a job “beats the laziness” out of people and “disciplines” them into “civility.”
    • Whittle called President Obama an “unqualified, unknown individual” who was elected “specifically and only because he is black” and said that electing Obama was “atoning for our slavery” during a January 2016 appearance on Molyneux’s show. Moments later he said, “I didn’t own any slaves, and therefore I’m not responsible for slavery. I’m not benefiting from slavery because I never owned any slaves,” and he said, “There’s nothing in this country that survived the Civil War that was the result of slavery.” Continuing to discuss the Civil War, Whittle said the “greatest tragedy in American history” is “not slavery, it’s not the Civil War, it’s what happened after,” before complaining about the philosophy of W.E.B. DuBois.
    • In 2013, Whittle published a video for PJ Media with the title “The Lynching” that discussed the February 2012 shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Whittle suggested that George Zimmerman, who killed Martin, had an experience tantamount to a lynching. Whittle said that text messages found on Martin’s phone, which he said were “not ‘airable’ here for extreme graphic content,” showed that Martin was “violent and highly sexualized.” What was “airable” on Whittle’s video, however, was an image (warning: disturbing image) of Martin’s body after he had been shot, which Whittle left on the screen for several minutes.
    • Whittle bizarrely labeled CNN anchor Don Lemon “racist” against white people because Lemon pointed out that President Donald Trump sounds different when he is using a teleprompter, as compared to when he speaks without one, during a March NRATV appearance.

    What Is NRATV?

    Whittle’s outlet, NRATV, was launched in October 2016 as a rebranding of the NRA’s long-running news outlet NRA News with the aim of offering more live programming created by the gun group and its advertising firm Ackerman McQueen.

    While NRA News flagship program Cam & Company, which continues to air on NRATV, serves as a font of misinformation about the debate over guns in the United States, new NRATV programming, such as the live updates on which Whittle appears, are better characterized as pro-Trump propaganda with a heavy dose of xenophobic commentary, particularly on the topic of Islam.

    NRATV is strident in its defense of Trump, and the overall NRA organization has said that it will serve as “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching ally.” For example, shortly after launching NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield attacked the media for covering numerous reports of sexual assault against Trump, saying outlets should instead cover instances where guns were used in self-defense.

    While the NRA has long claimed that the media are part of a conspiracy against everyday Americans, the group’s attacks against the press in defense of Trump have entered new territory in recent months, with the gun outlet labeling both dissent against Trump and protected-speech reporting about Trump and his administration as oppositional to the U.S. Constitution and American values.

  • Trump Invited NRA Board Member Ted Nugent To Dinner At The White House

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, who has a long history of violent and hateful rhetoric, boasted in a blog post about his April 19 dinner with President Donald Trump at the White House.

    Nugent and his wife attended the dinner along with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and musician Kid Rock. According to pictures Palin posted on her social media account, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner also met with the group in the Oval Office during their visit. Nugent was an early and vocal supporter of then-candidate Trump, campaigning for him in Michigan and backing his widely panned Muslim ban.

    In an April 20 blog post, Nugent praised the meeting and wrote, “Donald J. Trump as President of the United States is proof positive that I’m not alone.” Nugent called himself a “genuine take-no-crap representative of our beloved deerhunting lifestyle, gunrights and overall American freedom” and claimed that he spoke to Trump about “anti-science and anti-hunting laws”:

    I am both proud and honored to bring my deeranddeerhunting.com BloodBrothers a soulful, Spirit of the Wild greetings and update from the President of the United States at the White House in Washington DC, where my lovely Queen of the Forest wife Shemane and I dined with President Trump along with the great Governor Sarah Palin and her daughter and friends, and our Michigan hunting BloodBrothers Bob “Kid Rock” Richie and his deadly fiance Audrey Berry, and of course a contingent of US Secret Service warriors just for good measure.

    That is correct, you heard me right; deeranddeerhunting.com had a genuine take-no-crap representative of our beloved deerhunting lifestyle, gunrights and overall American freedom at the White house dinnertable with the POTUS. The WhackMaster was there all aglow with truth, logic and commonsense oozing from every pore.

    And what a lovely evening it was.

    With sons who hunt, the President is very aware of the misguided, anti-science and anti-hunting laws and regulations perpetrated by power abusing bureaucrats infesting our states and nation. I would say that the prognosis for hunter’s rights has never been better for the future of hunting, fishing and trapping in America, I assure you.

    [...]

    We didn’t actually confirm that I will be organizing annual deerhunts at Camp David, but he is acutely aware of “wise-use” management versus “politically correct misuses” and vows to work diligently to make it right.

    We discussed various quality of life issues and how entrenched status quo political correctness has wrecked everything it has touched and how his administration is focused and dedicated to get back to the US Constitutional basics of government of, by and for the people.

    President Trump summed it up when he humbly and proudly stated that he works for “we the people” and he will not let us down.

    When his administration’s battlecry is “America first” you know we are on the right track after a long and embarrassing disconnect by the political posers who forgot they worked for us instead of vice versa.

    We discussed specifically the counterproductive follies of the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the US Fish & Wildlife Service, BLM and other out of control bureaucracies.

    All in all, Shemane and I were genuinely honored to break bread with the leader of the free world, and for the first time in many years I have a renewed level of positive excitement about the improved direction our country is now headed.

    Nugent, who floated his own Senate run in 2018, has a well-established history of using inflammatory, misogynistic and racially insensitive rhetoric.

    In 2014, he called then-President Barack Obama a “communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.” In a January 2016 Facebook post, he called for Obama and then-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to be “tried for treason & hung.” In February 2016, Nugent shared an anti-Semitic image on Facebook suggesting that Jews are behind a widespread conspiracy to enact gun control laws, and doubled down on hate speech that Jewish supporters of gun safety are actually “Nazis in disguise.” In a May 2016 Facebook post, Nugent shared a fake video depicting Clinton being graphically murdered by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with a handgun during a 2016 presidential primary debate, adding, “I got your gun control right here bitch” as his own comment.

    While Trump is slated to speak at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum this month, Nugent has been a fixture of the NRA's annual meeting, delivering talks in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. During his speech at the 2015 meeting, Nugent talked about shooting then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), called the former president “Osama Obama,” and offered to pilot a boat ride to take Obama back to Kenya. At the 2012 meeting, Nugent set in motion a visit from the Secret Service after telling NRA members that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was re-elected president.

  • Discussing Fresno Attack, The NRA Decides When A Shooting Can Be Politicized

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV attacked anti-gun-violence activists in anticipation of them attempting to “politicize” the recent deadly shooting in Fresno, CA. But an NRA host later used the shooting to compare an anti-gun-violence leader to the Fresno shooter and suggested people need to arm themselves when “a deranged lunatic praising Allah pulls his firearm.”

    On April 18, Kori Muhammad opened fire on four men in Fresno, CA, killing three. The shooting occurred two hours after Fresno police identified him as the suspect in the killing of an unarmed security guard. Despite earlier speculation, the police confirmed that the suspect isn’t connected to terrorism, and called the shootings “solely based on race.”

    During the April 18 edition of NRATV’s Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards briefly mentioned the shooting in the show’s 4 p.m. hour, and highlighted that the gunman said “Allahu akbar” when he was being arrested. Edwards went on to bemoan that gun violence prevention groups “will be jumping on this and trying to politicize this crime … if they have not done so already”:

    CAM EDWARDS (HOST): We are watching some breaking news out of Fresno, California. Kori Ali Muhammad, who apparently was wanted in a murder last week in Fresno, taken into custody after shooting and killing at least three people in Fresno earlier today. We will bring you more details on that story, apparently shouted Allahu akbar when police arrested him. [The police] chief said he expressed a hatred of whites, taken into custody again in Fresno, California. I am assuming that, if they have not already done so, gun control groups will be jumping on this and trying to politicize this crime in California before long, if they have not done so already.

    But just one day after Edwards complained that anti-gun-violence groups would “politicize” the shooting, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield did just that. During the April 19 edition of NRATV’s Live Updates, Stinchfield said it was “delusional and … deceitful” not to consider the shooting an act of terrorism and warned that “you better be ready, because the reality is, there will be no one there to defend you”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Kori Ali Muhammad calls white people the devil. He killed three of them yesterday while yelling in Arabic, “God is great” -- Allahu akbar. We’ve heard it too many times before. I call it a rampage, the media wants to call it a hate crime. What no one is calling it is a terrorist attack. The man yelled Allahu akbar. Call this heinous act what it is, terrorism on the streets of Fresno. Look at this article written by The Associated Press: Not once does it even mention the possibility of terrorism. It’s delusional and more likely deceitful. The media wants you to believe there is no such thing as radical Islam or the terrorists who practice it. Here is what Fresno police have to say:

    [...]

    STINCHFIELD: Come on, clearly radical Islam is alive and well. That is one example of it. And these holy warriors lurk on our streets; it is up to you to defend yourself from an attack like this. In the very moment a deranged lunatic praising Allah pulls his firearm, you better be ready. Because the reality is, there will be no one else there to defend you.

    Stinchfield began his 10-minute noon update by calling Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts “extreme” for promising to protest the NRA annual meeting at the end of the month and comparing her to to the Fresno gunman, who is “also extreme.” Stinchfield repeated that “Allahu akbar” is the “rallying cry of every Islamic holy warrior,” and therefore proof this attack is terror-related. NRA spokesperson and commentator Dana Loesch also slammed the police for calling this “a hate crime based on race,” and went on to state, “The guy is a terrorist, plain and simple.”

    The National Rifle Association has a well-established track record of hypocrisy when it comes to whether to politicize mass shootings and tragedies. The organization slammed gun violence prevention groups when they called to expand the national background checks system after the mass shooting in a Charleston church in June 2015. Edwards went as far as to say it is “completely inappropriate” to discuss gun policies the day after an incident. The NRA, however, quickly responded to a shooting at a naval facility in Chattanooga, TN, a month later and argued that it proved firearm regulations on military bases should be loosened. It seems that in the NRA's hypocritical worldview, calls for stronger gun laws are disrespectful, exploitative, and shameless -- while calls for less restrictions are sensible, timely, and relevant. Even worse, the gun group's post-shooting strategy operates from behind a façade of "respect" for the victims.

  • NRA Spokesperson Pushes Gun Group's Top Legislative Priority On Fox News Without Disclosure

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Fox News hosted National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch where she advocated for the organization's top legislative priority, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, though Fox failed to disclose her NRA ties and identified her only as a “syndicated radio host.”

    After spending over $30 million during the presidential election to support Trump, the NRA has made the concealed carry reciprocity bill its top legislative priority. Federal reciprocity legislation mandates that states recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other state.

    Loesch, who has worked as an NRA commentator, recently started working for the gun group as a spokesperson. On February 21, the NRA put out a press release which stated that Loesch “will serve as a major national spokesperson for the National Rifle Association.” She was also named special assistant to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre “with direct attributable authority on NRA matters.” LaPierre “reiterated that Loesch now has full authority to represent the NRA on a broad range of issues” in the press release.

    During the April 17 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer asked Loesch to “grade” President Donald Trump’s first 100 days, and gave the NRA spokesperson a platform to push for national concealed carry reciprocity without disclosing any of her ties. Loesch said she would give Trump “between a B++ and an A-,” but said she is “waiting for national reciprocity.” At the end of interview, she said that if Trump can push national reciprocity through, she’ll give him an “A with a sticker”:

    BILL HEMMER (HOST): So the clock is ticking down on President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Already the critics and the pundits are weighing in. Here to give him a grade, Dana Loesch, national syndicated radio talk show host with me now. [...] We found an editorial in the New York Post. Here is the headline, you ready? “Trump's first 100 days have been better than you think.” And then we found a headline in the New York Times and it said “100 days of horror.” So you go ahead and choose. Which would you like to address, Dana?

    [...]

    HEMMER: How would you grade what you have seen from this White House in the first three months , Dana?

    DANA LOESCH: I would say that I would give the grade of -- right now, I'm going between a B++ and an A- , only because I'm waiting for national reciprocity. I get that national reciprocity, the country gets that national reciprocity, I think that bumps right up. But I think the first 100 days, I think he has done incredibly well and I think that he has kept his promises. And I know the media wants to look at the healthcare reform. The healthcare reform failed ultimately because this was something that was rushed through. There wasn't a general consensus before they took it to the floor. I think a lot of this was -- have to put it down on Paul Ryan. I think congressman -- Speaker Ryan was really trying to push it out there and I think that they needed a little bit more time and they needed to look at some of the previous plans which passed including Jim Jordan's in 2015 which also allowed a two-year grace period to make sure that a market based plan could be implemented. The House Freedom Caucus which is the representation of the Tea Party, that same momentum that launched Trump into the White House I think held its ground and I think that it actually will serve Trump well and the Trump administration. So I think the failures that the media wants to put upon him really are media projections. And of course the media has been drip, drip, dripping, leak, leak, leak. We have to think about a Susan Rice using an apparatus that was designed to protect America from terrorism and using that same apparatus potentially to spy on free Americans over dissent. I think that that's incredibly huge and it's being buried by the very media like The New York Times, Bill.

    HEMMER: All interesting. I'll put you down for a B+ and you do know this White House --

    LOESCH: B++. I know they’re watching right now, if President Trump can put that national reciprocity, I’m happy to put an A with a sticker.

    One version of concealed carry reciprocity introduced in the House by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) would “dramatically alter the way states regulate who can carry concealed firearms within their borders,” according to The Trace. States that do require concealed carry permits have varying standards, but under Hudson’s bill “states that set high bars for concealed carry would be compelled to welcome gun-toting visitors” from any state, regardless of carry requirements.

  • Chicago Urban League Calls On iHeartRadio To Break Silence On Racist Radio Host

    Chicago Urban League CEO Shari Runner: “There Is Zero Tolerance” For Segments On iHeartRadio That Ridicule The African-American Community 

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Civil rights and gun violence prevention organizations are continuing to call on iHeartRadio to break its silence on conservative radio host Michael Berry, who hosted a weekly segment called the “Butcher Bill” and “The Chicago Weekend Crime Report” that was dedicated to mocking victims of Chicago gun violence.

    Berry hosted the racially charged segment for several years on his iHeartRadio syndicated show The Michael Berry Show, and in March Talkers magazine reported that he would be honored with a “Talk Personality of the Year” award at the 2017 iHeartMusic Awards. After mounting pressure from several local Chicago news outlets, Berry issued a disingenuous apology for his “Butcher Bill” segment and pledged to end it.

    But iHeartRadio refused to publicly comment on the controversy or say whether Berry had actually received the award during the March 5 ceremony.

    Despite a letter from 21 civil rights and gun violence prevention groups calling on the company to confirm whether it gave Berry the award, and a letter from the Chicago Urban League and other Chicago groups calling for Berry to be fired, iHeartRadio has refused to publicly address the situation.

    During the April 10 edition of WVON’s The Talk Of Chicago, Chicago Urban League president and CEO Shari Runner said that there can be “zero tolerance” for characterizing African-Americans “as people who are lawless, unprofessional, [and] uncaring,” as Berry’s segment did. Runner highlighted iHeartRadio’s large African-American audience and suggested that advertisers should consider whether they want to be associated with iHeartRadio’s brand:

    From the April 10 edition of WVON’s The Talk Of Chicago:

    RUFUS WILLIAMS (GUEST HOST): Have you been able to get caught up with what’s going on from your staff, and just give us some opening thoughts on what you think about this situation? Then we got a couple calls I’d like to take too.

    SHARI RUNNER (CHICAGO URBAN LEAGUE): Yeah, I think it’s very important that we talk about how we as African-Americans manage our narrative. This is not the kind of thing that we want to let happen and lay silent about. It doesn’t -- it hasn’t gotten the kind of press that Bill O’Reilly has. But it is equally if not more important that we understand how people hijack and think about what it is that we are doing as African-Americans to say this is who we are and this is where we should be.

    WILLIAMS: That’s a good point because it really does ask the question: What is our tolerable level of insult? And we’ve got to know that this beyond the pale. This is certainly beyond it, and we can stop and see all of the media that comes when Bill O’Reilly has a sex abuse, sex whatever, issue. And everybody pays attention and advertisers fall from that. There needs to be the same kind of outcry. There needs to be the same kind of reduction that happens when our -- when we are mocked as a people in the way in which this has happened.

    RUNNER: Yeah. No question about it. There is no tolerance. There is zero tolerance as we’ve heard in a number of different ways, that we can allow African-American people to be characterized as people who are lawless, unprofessional, uncaring. This is a big deal and we need to start with this one thing, if not many things, to make sure that our community is characterized in the right light.

    WILLIAMS: So Shari, where we stopped in leading up to our chronology for -- to today, and where we have been with this response is, we stopped at the point of having had the conversation last week with Greg [Ashlock] of iHeartMedia who runs the region that includes this guy’s show down in Texas. So he was supposed to get back to Paula [Thornton Greear, senior vice president of Chicago Urban League,] by Friday, which he did not do. So where we are now is talking about what our next steps will be. And I know we haven’t collectively sat down and talked about that, but, what I would like to do is to talk about that. Get some thoughts from you, get some thoughts from here, get some thoughts from our audience. What is it that we think our next step should be? Because we did talk about the lack of diversity in the C-suite, we talked about the lack of diversity on their board, we talked about the fact that we need to understand where their dollars gets spent, the huge influence that iHeart has on our community given the number of African-American, the number of black listeners who listen to iHeart stations. So let’s talk about what we think our next steps should be from this point, having not heard from them through today.

    RUNNER: Well it's very, very important. And I know that we have entertainment value around the people that are represented on iHeartRadio. Ninety seven percent of African-American listeners listen to a station, an urban radio station, that is owned by iHeart. And they do that. And iHeart makes money around creating dollars for advertisers who want to engage those listeners. So, how important is that to us? How important, as we’ve heard Nielson say over and over again, we have spending votes. It is not just the votes we do at the ballot box, it is a matter of how do we use those spending votes to make sure that we are available to create a movement that happens for us. And --

    WILLIAMS: So basically, you are saying, who are their advertisers? Who are the people who support iHeart? Who are the stations that we have been listening to and where we should pull back in effecting those things?

    RUNNER: Yes, absolutely. We do it and we think about it -- I hope everybody thinks about it as it relates to the Koch brothers, and who they are and what they do as it relates to our community. But really, how do we use our power as an African-American community in this country to make sure that we are doing the right things to get the things that benefit our community. 

  • How The NRA Is Using The Opioid Epidemic To Distract From Gun Violence

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Cam Edwards has repeatedly highlighted the country’s raging opioid epidemic while arguing that gun violence gets too much media attention by comparison. While both crises require major media attention and public health resources, Edwards’ commentary on the issue serves the the NRA’s interest in downplaying the toll of gun violence.

    NRATV Host Frequently Uses Opioid Epidemic To Downplay Gun Violence

    During his three-hour weekday NRATV show Cam & Company, Edwards regularly discusses the opioid epidemic that “is hitting Americans all across the country” and points out the increase in deaths from opioid overdose from 2014 to 2016 in states including Ohio, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and West Virginia. At the end of his monologues, however, Edwards often uses the drug overdose epidemic to downplay pervasive gun violence in the United States.

    During the March 15 edition of Cam & Company, Edwards alleged that gun violence prevention activists, organizations, and the media are “much more interested in researching reasons why we should go after the Second Amendment rights of Americans” than in fighting the opioid epidemic.

    CAM EDWARDS (HOST): The media, the anti-gun activists out there, deep-pocketed billionaires like Michael Bloomberg -- Bloomberg has his own school of public health at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. And they seem sadly much more interested in researching reasons why we should go after the Second Amendment rights of Americans than they do in fighting this epidemic.

    During another broadcast the next week, Edwards read a list of opioid overdose rates compared to homicide rates in several states. He then claimed that the “mainstream media tries to tell us that we need to be more concerned about things like The Hearing Protection Act or national right to carry reciprocity,” both NRA legislative priorities that would weaken gun laws nationally. Edwards went on to emphasize the opioid overdose epidemic, saying that is “what we need to be concerned about. … Not bills that are out there respecting and restoring and strengthening our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

    During another March broadcast of his show, Edwards complained that the national media is “not talking much about … the staggering spike in overdose deaths” and that the gun violence epidemic “gets more attention.”

    In addition to these examples, Media Matters' regular monitoring of Edwards’ programming and writing has identified commentary that uses the opioid epidemic to downplay gun violence as an emerging talking point for the NRA.

    For example, in a March 15 article titled “The Real Epidemic” on the online edition of NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom, Edwards compared West Virginia’s opioid overdose death rate to Chicago’s homicide rate and claimed that the media is too busy pushing stronger gun laws to “pay more than scattered attention to the unfolding devastation caused by opioid overdoses.”

    He also claimed that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “has his own Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, but they seem to be much more interested in doing research on why we supposedly need more gun control laws than in finding solutions to the soaring overdose death rates.”

    Contrary to Edwards’ claims, Bloomberg has taken significant steps to battle the opioid epidemic. While serving as mayor, Bloomberg created the Mayor’s Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse to address a six-fold increase in overdoses in New York City between 2004 and 2010. In September 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that Bloomberg “is donating $300 million to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore to finance an ambitious effort to target opioid addiction, gun violence and other issues that are shortening lives and disrupting communities across the U.S.” 

    Both Guns And Opioids Are Creating Serious Epidemics

    The opioid epidemic is undoubtedly a growing problem that is devastating communities nationwide. But it is unfair for the NRA to use one epidemic to downplay another.

    In February 2013, the National Physicians Alliance declared gun violence to be “a public health issue that has reached epidemic proportions.” In a December 2015 opinion piece for U.S. News & World Report, the chief medical officer of the New York State Office of Mental Health Dr. Lloyd Sederer called gun violence “a deadly infectious disease” which “know[s] few boundaries.”

    On average, roughly 100,000 people are shot annually in the United States, and this figure does not include incidents that don’t result in physical injury, such as using a gun to threaten or intimidate someone. In 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 385 mass shootings, and 672 children ages 11 or under were killed or injured by guns.

    The NRA Is In Lockstep With Donald Trump, Whose Health Care Bill Would Have Worsened The Opioid Crisis

    NRATV has effectively served as a propaganda arm for President Donald Trump since he was elected. In a January video, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre declared that his group was “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching, ally.”

    As a consequence, the NRA threw in its lot with Trump as he led congressional Republicans in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite evidence that doing so would actually make the opioid epidemic much worse. According to Vox, the ACA expanded health care coverage to about “2.8 million Americans with drug use disorders,” and repealing the legislation could leave millions of addicts “stranded without potentially lifesaving care. If the Republicans’ attempt to replace the ACA had been successful, it would have “flatly reduce[d] coverage” and “water[ed] down coverage requirements for addiction treatment.” But that is something you aren’t likely to hear about on NRATV.