Guns | Media Matters for America

Guns

Issues ››› Guns
  • NRATV deceptively edits Nancy Pelosi speech to claim she praised MS-13 gang members

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield aired a deceptively edited video of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to claim she defended MS-13 when she supposedly criticized President Donald Trump for not respecting “the dignity and worth of” the gang members. Stinchfield went on to accuse Pelosi of “Trump derangement syndrome.” From the August 3 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): What about MS-13, a gang whose motto is “torture, rape, kill”? President Trump called them animals. Why? Because they are and everyone knows it. Still the response from the Democrats was to defend MS-13.    

    [BEGIN CLIP]

    NANCY PELOSI: We’re all God’s children. There’s a spark of divinity in every person on earth and that we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person.

    [END CLIP]

    STINCHFIElD: Dignity and worth? They’re killing people. Clearly Trump derangement syndrome must be real. These leaders of the Democratic Party have gone nuts.

    NRATV cut Pelosi off and didn't air her full remarks. Pelosi made these comments during her weekly press conference on May 17 and she was clearly referring to “undocumented immigrants”:

    We believe, some of us who are attracted to the political arena, to government and public service, that we’re all God’s children, there’s a spark of divinity in every person on Earth, and that we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person and as we recognize our responsibilities with that spark of divinity within us.

    And so, when the President of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘These aren’t people, these are animals,’ you have to wonder does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? These are not people. These are animals. The President of the United States.

    NRATV previously aired video footage of members of antifa -- the far-left-leaning militant group that resists neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events -- causing property damage in Washington, D.C., on inauguration day, falsely claiming that the footage was from the Women’s March that took place the next day. The outlet has broadcast other blatant falsehoods, such as lying about a "direct quote" from FBI Director James Comey in defense of Trump and referring to a satire article clearly labeled “fiction” as if it were serious on Election Day in 2016 in order to urge viewers not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

  • Deep in its own Russia scandal, NRATV weighs in only to attack the investigation

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    While the National Rifle Association deals with its own scandal surrounding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, NRATV hosts have spent the last few months attempting to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s “scam” investigation of President Donald Trump including, calling for Mueller to be “fired.”

    Following reports that Trump knew about a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer, NRATV We Stand host Dan Bongino repeatedly insisted last week that while the meeting was “a bad idea” by an “inexperienced campaign,” the administration has been “completely transparent” about it. Yet the president’s lawyers have acknowledged that he “dictated” a falsehood-filled July 2017 statement claiming the meeting was about adoption rather than allegedly incriminating information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    DAN BONGINO (HOST): Trump Tower meeting, a bad idea. I get it. It was an inexperienced campaign -- they probably get it too. They’ve been completely transparent about it, they put the information out there, nothing of value was exchanged, nothing, I mean, of information value -- I’m not talking about cash value; they don’t need this woman’s cash. And just to throw one more angle in this, to completely throw this thing into the -- throw a monkey wrench into the Clinton machinery here. I don’t know if you heard this, but the two Russians who actually showed up to the Trump Tower meeting with Don Trump Jr. -- you ready for this one? You ready? The two Russians that show up were connected to the Clintons and the people the Clintons hired. You can’t make this up. I’m not making this up.

    This latest defense follows months of the NRATV shilling for the Trump administration and trying to discredit every new development in the Russia investigation.

    After the FBI raided former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s office, Bongino called the investigation a “disgrace” and said, “Fire Bob Mueller, fire this guy now,” during the April 9 edition of his show. One month later, he said, “The whole thing is a scam and the entire story’s falling apart” because “it started for political, not law enforcement or counterintelligence, reasons.” During the June 4 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Bongino and host Grant Stinchfield agreed that the president “could pardon himself” if needed but that the political ramifications of that move would be uncertain, which is one reason why the investigation “should just be disbanded.”

    Following Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s testimony before the House intelligence committee about the Mueller probe and his fiery exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Bongino said Rosenstein should have “toned down the attitude a little bit” and claimed that “we should have fired this guy yesterday.” For his part, Stinchfield called Rosenstein “an utter disgrace,” said he showed “disrespect and utter arrogance,” and said that “it is clear he thinks he is better than everyone else.” He also speculated that the “deep state ... exists and Rosenstein is the leader.”

    Stinchfield and Bongino also questioned the timing and content of indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers, released on July 13, days before Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for a summit in Helsinki. During the July 13 edition of We Stand, Bongino tried to use the indictment to discredit the Mueller investigation, saying, “There is no mention in the indictment anywhere of collusion. None, zero, zilch, nada, nothing. It’s not there, you’re not going to find it. Is this the best the Mueller team has?” The following Monday, Stinchfield called Rosenstein “a thorn in the president’s side” and said that he believes everything in the indictment but that it was released days before the summit to “undermine President Trump.”

    All this while the National Rifle Association is knee-deep in questions about whether Russian money was funneled through the organization to help Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Most recently, we’ve learned that federal investigators are tracing “suspicious financial transactions” involving Russian national and NRA associate Maria Butina, who was charged with “conspiring to covertly serve as a Russian agent seeking to influence the National Rifle Association and other U.S. political groups.”

    While NRATV has been happy to run defense for the president, it has been reluctant to address reports of Kremlin involvement in the NRA.

  • NRATV’s Dan Bongino misquotes Rep. Maxine Waters to claim she made a “decapitation” analogy about Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    NRATV host Dan Bongino misquoted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and claimed she told Americans they should be “screaming for Trump’s head” during the July 25 edition of his NRATV show We Stand. Bongino read the purported quote from a July 25 Washington Examiner article headline without acknowledging the line was a misleadingly paraphrase of an interview Waters gave to CNBC. He went on to ask if we’re “making decapitation analogies again”:

    DAN BONGINO (HOST): Again, here we go again with Maxine Waters. “Americans should be in the streets screaming for Trump’s head.” We’re now making decapitation analogies again? What is this, the French Revolution? Ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    NRATV later tweeted out Bongino’s segment on Waters, attributing the entire fake quote to her.

    In reality, Waters told CNBC host John Harwood that “Americans should be out in the streets screaming to the top of their voice” over President Donald Trump’s insinuations that he can pardon himself and his refusal to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country's interference in the 2016 elections.

    UPDATE: The segment featuring the fake quote was the top story in the July 26 edition of NRATV’s daily newsletter, which included an image of the misleading Washington Examiner headline and a quote from Bongino implying Waters made a decapitation analogy.

  • NRA's new fearmongering ad series argues that proponents of stronger gun laws are pro-murderer

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association's newest ad series, “Save the 2nd,” features 30-second spots that describe horrific crimes before making the fallacious argument that efforts are underway to prohibit law-abiding people from protecting themselves from killers.

    The series, which debuted on July 16 and is hosted by NRATV’s Colion Noir, is premised on the NRA’s claim that efforts to regulate firearms are tantamount to helping killers. The series’ tag line is “When you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this. They're helping killers and terrorists, not law-abiding citizens like you.”

    The first season spotlights four criminal incidents, involving a terrorist convicted of organizing the Benghazi terror attacks, a registered sex offender who covered himself in blood after strangling his victim, a parolee who shot a law enforcement officer, and a father and stepmother who killed their son by abusing him and then fed his remains to pigs:

    COLION NOIR: Have you ever heard of Ahmed Abu Khattala? He's the terrorist mastermind behind the 9/11 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans. Our system of so-called justice gave him only 22 years in prison. Khattala could walk free among us in the next two decades, where no law will stop him from killing again. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They're giving terrorists like Khattala rights, and not protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens like you.

    NOIR: Have you ever heard of Miguel Hernandez? I doubt it. On July 27, 2014, the registered sex offender violently beat and strangled a man inside of his home. When the police found Hernandez, he had covered himself in blood and was claiming to work for "the dark prince." No law stopped Hernandez from killing. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They're helping killers like Miguel Hernandez, not law-abiding citizens like you.

    NOIR: Have you ever heard of Dominic Cinelli? I doubt it. In 2009, he was granted parole from three life sentences from shooting a security guard during an armed robbery. In 2010, the day after Christmas, he shot and killed a police officer. No law stopped Cinelli from killing. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They’re helping killers like Dominic Cinelli, not law-abiding citizens like you.

    NOIR: Have you ever heard of Michael and Heather Jones? I doubt it. They starved, tortured and beat 7-year-old Adrian Jones for most of his young life. In 2015, after they killed him, they fed his remains to pigs. No law stopped these monsters. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They weren't able to stop killers like Michael and Heather Jones, so don't let them take away the rights of law-abiding citizens like you.

    The crimes Noir describes are real, but the conclusions he draws from them are nonsensical. There is no movement in the United States to take away “rights” so that people would be prevented from defending themselves from the killers Noir describes. Noir’s argument also purposely ignores the ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, where the Supreme Court found that law-abiding citizens have “an individual right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense.” Moreover, no gun violence prevention groups are calling for restrictions on self-defense. Instead, these groups typically advocate for policies like high-capacity magazine bans, red flag laws, and universal background checks on gun purchases. These policies do not implicate the Second Amendment right found in Heller and thus have been repeatedly upheld by courts.   

    Noir has a history of putting forward legally dubious arguments in NRA videos, most recently releasing a video that attempted to dupe media organizations into thinking he was calling for Congress to limit the ability of the press to report on mass shootings.

  • NRATV ran defense for Trump after he sold out US in disastrous Helsinki press conference

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s media arm, NRATV, spent an entire day defending President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was otherwise widely characterized as disgraceful and un-American.  

    While NRATV was running defense for Trump, another significant Russia news story broke: Maria Butina, a Russian pro-gun activist with close ties to the NRA, is being charged with conspiracy against the United States over attempts to establish “back channels” that the FBI says “could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the US national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation.” According to the charging documents, Butina attempted to use the NRA and other politically minded groups as conduits for her efforts.

    Putin and Trump met for a July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland, for “nearly two hours behind closed doors and another hour” in a press conference. During the press conference, Trump doubled down on his earlier tweet that both countries share blame for the current tense state of relations. He also said Putin’s denial of any election meddling was “extremely strong and powerful,” effectively throwing the U.S. intelligence community -- which has unanimously concluded Russia interfered in U.S. elections -- under the bus.   

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper called the press conference “perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president” during a meeting with Russian leadership, and media figures and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress lambased it as un-American and shameful. Even Fox News’ reliably pro-Trump program Fox & Friends said that the president “fell short” while Fox Business host and Trump booster Maria Bartiromo called the press conference “probably the low point of the presidency so far.”  

    Despite the near-universal criticism, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield defended Trump’s appearance on his July 16 broadcast as “quite an amazing thing to witness,” and exclaimed that Putin and Trump “may even be fond of each other":

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): President Trump and Vladimir Putin wrapped up their summit, meeting, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t matter -- it’s all semantics. Two leaders of two very powerful countries met to talk, to try to iron issues out. It appeared to me that President Trump and Vladimir Putin actually like each other. If I ever knew that I had something in common with Vladimir Putin, I didn’t until today. Vladimir Putin admitted that he wanted President Trump to win the election because President Trump talked about normalizing relations with Russia. That is a valid reason why a leader of a giant country like Russia would want President Trump to win. So did I, for that reason and so many others. Listening to these two leaders talk about all the issues at hand, and hearing, right off the bat, Vladimir Putin say the Cold War is a thing of the past and confrontations are a thing of the past is really quite an amazing thing to witness. Now, we know the confrontations will continue. We know Vladimir Putin will still be working against us and, I do believe, still hacking into American computers. I also believe that the United States has put Vladimir Putin on notice, saying, we are on to you. But this meeting showed that these two leaders can get along.

    ...

    STINCHFIELD: So I do believe this will go down as a historic meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. It reminds me of when Ronald Reagan met with [Mikhail] Gorbachev, and I see those pictures even now of the two meeting. It was an amazing sight and I do believe the two of them get along well. They may even be fond of each other. That is actually helpful when you talk about adversaries trying to work through serious, serious issues.                    

    Just before the press conference, Stinchfield had also argued that the indictments of 12 Russians over hacking allegations by the Department of Justice were released last week specifically to “undermine President Trump” going into the meeting with Putin. (During the press conference announcing the indictments, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that he had briefed Trump in advance on the indictments and that the timing was “a function of the collection of the facts, the evidence, and the law and a determination that it was sufficient to present the indictment at this time.”)

    NRATV host Dan Bongino also went to bat for Trump. During the July 16 edition of his evening show We Stand, he praised Trump’s performance at the press conference (albeit noting that “he could have worded some things differently”) and slammed a journalist who dared ask whether Russia has any compromising information on Trump.

    These defenses of Trump come while the National Rifle Association is knee-deep in questions about whether Russian money was funneled through the organization to help Trump during the 2016 presidential election. While NRATV has been happy to absolve Trump of Russia-related wrongdoing, the outlet has been reluctant to address reports of Kremlin involvement in the NRA.