Several former NRATV figures who created and actively participated in the vile, violent rhetoric of the National Rifle Association’s now-defunct media platform are now regularly appearing on national conservative media outlets.
NRATV was known among NRA executives as “stupid,” “reckless,” and “radioactive,” and it was shut down amid allegations of financial impropriety and multimillion-dollar lawsuits between the NRA and its longtime advertising firm, which produced NRATV. In the time since NRATV shuttered, several of its hosts have maintained or begun new gigs within the larger right-wing media ecosystem, in some cases glossing over their histories of extreme rhetoric and reaching larger audiences than before.
For example, former NRATV personality Dan Bongino is now a Fox News contributor. At NRATV, Bongino hosted a half-hour show every afternoon called We Stand, which regularly featured conspiratorial attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference during the 2016 Trump campaign and offered factless defenses of the president. In December 2018, Bongino and NRATV parted ways, and it was later announced that he would join Fox News as a contributor. Since starting with Fox, Bongino has promoted defiance of COVID mask orders, blamed a Black man whom police shot in the back as he was running away for his own killing, and ominously warned Fox viewers of conflicts over policing that “this fight’s coming to your front door.”
NRATV personalities Grant Stinchfield, Chuck Holton, and Colion Noir are following similar trajectories, potentially injecting more extreme pro-gun rhetoric into the larger right-wing media echo chamber.
Last month, former NRATV host Grant Stinchfield, an ardently anti-immigrant and pro-Trump commentator, formally landed at Newsmax TV with an hour-long, prime-time news show called Stinchfield. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy praised Stinchfield’s “impeccable” journalistic record and characterized NRATV as “instrumental in holding lawmakers accountable when it comes to fighting for our Second Amendment rights.” Newsmax is carried by all cable news and satellite operations, and Stinchfield’s new gig began on August 18. He’s used his new platform to defend the St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters and defended President Donald Trump against credible reports that he called veterans “suckers” and “losers.”
At NRATV, Stinchfield was a staunch Trump supporter who routinely attacked undocumented immigrants, Black Lives Matter protesters, and any reporter who held Trump accountable:
- He referred to undocumented immigrants as “illegals,” characterized immigrants as violent criminals, and baselessly alleged that undocumented immigrants have killed “tens of thousands” of Americans in recent years.
- Stinchfield also suggested Border Patrol agents should stop showing “restraint” and shoot migrants if they do something like throw a rock, “because once you start throwing rocks, as the president said, that should be considered like a firearm.”
- The former NRATV host also railed against NFL player Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem in protest against police brutality. Stinchfield called the former quarterback an “arrogant SOB” and compared him to Satan.
- Stinchfield told former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to “stick to basketball” after he denounced the level of gun violence in the U.S.
- In another episode, Stinchfield oddly told his viewers that former President Barack Obama will “use his wife Michelle” to “disarm you and ultimately conquer you” and “continue his quest to fundamentally change America into an all-too-recognizable version of Venezuela.”
- He said the Mueller report “vindicated” Trump, accused journalists who wrote negative stories about the president of “treasonous behavior,” and called the House of Representatives “a torture chamber” designed to destroy the president.
- Stinchfield also asked the president to restrict federal dollars from universities that don’t allow guns on campus, defended Trump against accusations of racism, and called Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) “un-American” for holding the administration accountable during congressional hearings.
- Stinchfield claimed commonsense gun safety legislation was really about “jailing your political foes.”
- In a tweet, Stinchfield suggested that North Korea should launch a nuclear attack against California.
After routinely highlighting white nationalists and using their talking points on NRATV, former correspondent Chuck Holton is now working for the Christian Broadcasting Network (among other projects). While Holton has been at CBN for a number of years, he’s grown in his role from a contributing reporter to a regular CBN contributor. Recently, Holton has been on the ground reporting on the alleged “war on cops” and a “war on law and order” in conspiratorial segments questioning whether there are “more powerful forces at play” during the ongoing protests against police brutality.
During his time with the NRA’s broadcast outlet, Holton had a symbiotic relationship with white nationalists, continuously spread baseless conspiracy theories, and launched racist attacks, usually aimed at former President Barack Obama:
- In Holton’s NRATV reporting, he repeatedly used language found on white nationalist websites like VDare and American Renaissance, including claiming Democrats want to “import another group of voters” from “the Third World” and praising the cultural “homogeneity” of Switzerland, which he suggested was responsible for the country’s low crime rates.
- Holton retweeted a white nationalist known for promoting eugenics and scientific racism more than 30 times, and his reports for NRATV were praised by the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
- Reporting for NRATV in October of 2018, Holton pushed the baseless conspiracy theory that a migrant caravan headed for the border was actually an “invasion under the guise of migration” aimed at illegally voting in the midterm elections to help Democrats.
- Holton also frequently repeated an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory claiming Hungarian-born billionaire and liberal philanthropist George Soros was funding the migrant caravan and calling him “an expert at sowing chaos and discord around the world” whose views are “at odds with civilization as a whole.”
- During a 2016 appearance criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement on NRATV, Holton said white privilege is “a culture of individual responsibility” and told Black Americans: “You are welcome to join our community and take advantage of this ‘privilege’ that we have any time you want. … All you have to do is join us in respecting authority and taking responsibility for your own actions.”
- In January of 2017, just after Trump’s inauguration, Holton tweeted: “Let’s get busy scrubbing Obama’s mocacchino stain off of America.”
- Holton fearmongered that the Black Lives Matter movement would result in mass violence against white people like “what's happening in South Africa,” linking it to the “white genocide” conspiracy theory.
- In April 2018, Holton took a picture with a Black waiter and posted it to Twitter, where he compared the man to Obama and said this job “meets his qualifications.”
Former NRATV figure Colion Noir has appeared on Fox News more frequently this year than in previous years -- according to Media Matters data, six times so far this year, compared to seven times in all of 2019 and just twice in 2018. All of his appearances have been on the morning show Fox & Friends or prime-time programs Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle. During his most recent appearances, Noir promoted gun ownership as the answer to “the chaos in 2020” as people are “taking their safety into their own hands”; claimed Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris wants to “take all of the guns”; and insisted the government can’t be trusted to keep citizens safe.
Noir served as NRATV’s resident sexist, launching misogynistic attacks against female reporters, politicians, and celebrities who support gun safety, while he also claimed gun safety advocates are somehow pro-murder:
- In 2016, Noir repeatedly compared levying taxes on a gun purchase to “rape.”
- He warned the parents of a journalist fatally shot on camera not to get “too emotional” and said: “Turning this murder into a gun control dog-and-pony show minutes after the shooting because you can't make sense of what just happened is ridiculous.”
- In 2018, Noir called an MSNBC anchor “sexy” on International Women’s Day and claimed her “entire knowledge” of firearms came from a “Google search she did while standing in a Starbucks line this morning before work.”
- Noir described pointing out that police violence predominately occurs against Black males as a “negro pity party.”
- In a 2018 short video series for NRATV, Noir argued that proponents of stronger gun safety laws are actually “helping killers” and tried to claim in one ad that terrorists have more rights than U.S. gun owners.
- Just over a month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Noir taunted the survivors by claiming that if an armed guard had stopped the shooting, “your classmates would still be alive, and no one would know your names.”
- While employed by NRATV, Noir posted a video to his personal YouTube account in which he attacked Kim Kardashian West’s support for National Gun Violence Awareness Day by baselessly claiming she has “several mental illnesses” including “PTSD” after she was robbed at gunpoint.
- In a bizarre 2016 video posted to his personal YouTube account, Noir suggested that people in the U.S. should purchase body armor as a “passive way to protect yourself from being shot.”
- In 2015, Noir called former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a “gun control” ho after she commented on the San Bernardino mass shooting.