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  • NRATV host: A few Democrats doing a sporting-style “fight” chant at an Eric Holder event constitutes a “call for violence”

    Grant Stinchfield: Holder is “mob-a-lyzing” the left  

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield accused former Attorney General Eric Holder of “mob-a-lyzing” the Democratic Party after he rhetorically suggested “we kick” the Republican Party “when they go low.”

    Stinchfield said Holder whipped “his Democratic sheep into a laughing frenzy” while campaigning for Georgia Democratic candidates when he told a crowd he disagrees with former first lady Michelle Obama’s 2016 elections slogan, “When they go low, we go high.” Instead, Holder said, “When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about." Shortly after Holder made that statement, he added that he doesn’t “mean we do anything inappropriate, we don’t do anything illegal” but that “we got to be tough” and “we’re willing to fight for the ideals of the Democratic Party.”

    During the October 11 edition of his NRATV show Stinchfield, Stinchfield claimed several event attendees’ chants of “fight, fight, fight” during Holder’s comments were “a call for violence” and said Democrats are “the ultimate in mob rulers.” The chants, which Stinchfield didn’t air, were nothing more than what you’d hear at an average sporting event:

    He went on to say they’re wearing their violent side “as a badge of honor”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Want anymore evidence that the left is mob-a-lyzing? Eric Holder, the mastermind behind the disastrous Fast and Furious fiasco and the corrupt Obama DOJ, warns he’s done with taking the high road. Watch this.

    [CLIP ERIC HOLDER]

    STINCHFIELD: Hardy har har har. Ho ho ho, isn’t that so funny? You hear that? Holder whips his Democratic sheep into a laughing frenzy, thinking the whole thing is just a big joke. But in the end they chant “fight, fight, fight.” If that doesn’t qualify as a call for violence, I don’t know what else does. Not only that but Eric Holder says he’s proud as hell to be a Democrat. Proud of his party’s history. Maybe he doesn’t remember, but the Democrats are the party of suffocating taxes. The party of corrupt elections, the party of censorship, the party of Woodrow Wilson, the party of violence. The ultimate in mob rulers. There is no shame in the Democratic Party anymore. There is no attempt to hide their violent side. They’re openly embracing their party’s violent past, wearing it as a badge of honor.

    Holder’s rhetoric was softer than what is typically heard from the NRA. In an October 2017 ad, the group’s national spokesperson Dana Loesch claimed that opponents of President Donald Trump “will perish in the political flames of their own fires.” Loesch has also praised Trump for “curb-stomp[ing]” the mainstream media, while NRA board member Ted Nugent -- who has a lengthy history of using violent rhetoric, including calling for President Obama to be hanged -- compared Democrats to “rabid coyotes” just months ago, and said to “keep your gun handy, and every time you see one, you shoot one.”  

  • The National Rifle Association recruits LGBTQ gun owners even as it denigrates community

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association national spokesperson Dana Loesch continued the group’s tactic of offering surface-level support for LGBTQ gun ownership while simultaneously spouting attacks against the LGBTQ community from the organization’s news outlet, NRATV.

    During the October 5 edition of her NRATV show Relentless, Loesch highlighted the “LGBTQ community and Second Amendment advocates working together” at the 33rd Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago, where pro-gun LGBTQ groups the Pink Pistols and Operation Blazing Sword announced their merger.

    Loesch claimed that gun ownership “is an obvious fit for the LGBT community” and owning a gun is about “refusing to be a victim, whether you’re part of the gay community, or an ethnic minority, or whether you’re a single woman”:

    DANA LOESCH (HOST): Any group that is more susceptible to violence will obviously and clearly want to protect itself. And that’s exactly why supporting the human right to self-defense is an obvious fit for the LGBT community.

    LOESCH: That’s really what this is all about -- refusing to be a victim, whether you’re part of the gay community, or an ethnic minority, or whether you’re a single woman. I mean, it’s not about identity politics. But some individuals, and I’ve described before the perpetrator behind Pulse nightclub, or the individual who killed a teenager in the East Coast before then targeting a gay club in Seattle and said that he did it specifically because their lifestyles were antithetical to his radicalized beliefs. It does exist and it has happened in the United States. It’s not about identity politics, it’s about protecting yourself and other individuals.

    While she encourages members of the LGBTQ community to own firearms, Loesch has also promoted hateful and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the past -- comparing an anti-gay baker having to serve a gay couple to “slavery” and claiming that transgender individuals have a “mental illness.”

    Referring to Chelsea Manning, a transgender woman, Loesch said earlier this year on NRATV, “Just because you get some boobs, and you put some red lipstick on, poorly applied, and a very poor smoky eye bad dye job, that don’t make you a chick.”

    National Rifle Association board members and organization leaders have a well-documented track record of espousing bigoted and homophobic rhetoric toward LGBTQ people while also exploiting violence against them to promote fear and increased gun ownership, a strategy that enrichens gun manufacturers that donate to the NRA.

  • NRATV baselessly blames shooting of South Carolina police officers on “the media and the left”

    Authorities have not yet established a motive for the shooting, which occurred after law enforcement attempted to serve a warrant at the gunman’s house

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    After a shooting in South Carolina left six police officers wounded and one killed, Grant Stinchfield, a host for the National Rifle Association’s media operation NRATV, suggested that the ambush was provoked because law enforcement “has been tarnished by the media and the left.”

    On October 3, a gunman opened fire on police officers in Florence, S.C., who were attempting to serve a search warrant at his home. Sgt. Terrence Carraway was killed, and six of his fellow officers suffered gunshot wounds. The suspect, who had barricaded himself inside the home with “an unspecified number of children,” was arrested after a two-hour standoff.

    During the October 4 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, the host claimed police officers “are now all often being targeted” after “being shamed by leftists raging against authority” before mentioning the seven officers who “faced a shooter hellbent on killing them all”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Putting on a badge is like putting on a target. The rich tradition of serving as a law officer has been tarnished by the media and the left. Worse than officers being shamed by leftists raging against authority, they are now all often being targeted. Brave officers in Florence, South Carolina, faced a shooter hellbent on killing them all. The shooter hit seven officers who had been called to a home to make an arrest. He was holding children hostage. The shooter had an advantage over the officers and rained bullets over them.

    Despite Stinchfield’s claim, investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting.

    The Associated Press reported that 74-year-old suspect Fred Hopkins posted on social media about “being a competitive marksman and taking his children shooting with him.” In one post, he wrote that he has been “shooting competitively since 1984.” On his Facebook page, Hopkins listed “Shooting sports” and “Long Time Member of the Nra” among his likes.

  • NRATV mentions one-year anniversary of Las Vegas shooting only to attack idea of banning bump stocks

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV all but ignored the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, that left at least 58 dead and over 500 injured.

    The National Rifle Association’s broadcast outlet weighed in on the anniversary only once, mentioning it to attack the idea of a ban on bump stocks -- a firearm accessory that allowed the Las Vegas gunman to fire his rifles at nearly machine gun rate -- by claiming “criminals will still find ways around the ban.” During the October 1 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield said the NRA is “fine … with letting the ATF regulate them” but that it “won’t solve the real problem.” He went on to say, “Violent people exist and they will always find ways to kill.”

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): One year ago today, a massacre unfolded in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the worst crimes ever in America. Today I, like so many, want answers. Why? How? And what could we have done to stop the madman who opened fire on that concert from his perch in his hotel room from across the street? It’s odd, really, that we still have very little answers. Nothing makes sense when you look at the man who committed the crime and you try to come up with a motive. Here’s what I do know: No new law would have stopped him. I also know the victims are their families are still hurting. They are ingrained in my mind -- I will never forget the horror on their faces, and I still pray for them today. Also today, the left-wing media continued to focus on what? Bump stocks. Just moments ago the media got the president to announce bump stocks are quote “gone, done,” he says. He said that in a news conference at the White House. I’m fine, just as the NRA is, with letting the ATF regulate them like machine guns. But let’s not kid ourselves -- even that won’t solve the real problem. Violent people exist and they will always find ways to kill. Still, the president acknowledged that being done with bump stocks involves a process, which also includes public comment and the like. Let’s let the process play out. But make no mistake: If you ban bump stocks, criminals will still find ways around the ban. Just because they’re deemed illegal doesn’t mean criminals will stop using them.    

    In the days following the Las Vegas shooting, the NRA deceptively offered its support for a bump stock ban by calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to “review” the legality of the devices. The ATF previously said it does not have that authority -- that it’s reserved for Congress -- but in March 2018, the DOJ and the ATF declared “that the agency can ban bump stocks under current law.”

    The Department of Justice has proposed a rule that would ban “the manufacture, importation and possession of bump stocks” and would require “anyone owning one … to destroy it.” The rule is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget. During an October 1 press conference, President Donald Trump said bump stocks would be banned “over the next couple of weeks,” though the the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Trump asked the DOJ to write regulations in February and that the White House said the approval process “takes about a year.”  

    Stinchfield previously claimed Congress will “start with bump stocks” and “end with an all-out assault on the Second Amendment.”

  • NRATV runs defense for Brett Kavanaugh and falsely smears his protesters as “violent thugs”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    As protests mounted following the sexual assault reports against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, NRATV went to bat for President Donald Trump’s pick by mischaracterizing these peaceful demonstrations as “violent” actions by “radical thugs.”

    Protests initially began the first day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, and they continued to gain momentum after two women came forward to report Kavanaugh for sexual misconduct when they were in high school and college. On September 24, NRATV released a video featuring the organization’s president and disgraced Iran-Contra figure, Oliver North, who accused Democrats of coordinating “violent protests to smear a father and run his children out of the room.” While Kavanaugh’s family did leave the hearings, sources told CNN, “That was always the plan.” And the footage of “violent protests” shown in the NRATV video actually featured peaceful protesters being escorted out by police.

    During one of NRATV’s hourly 10-minute updates, Stinchfield, which aired at 9 a.m. on September 25, host Grant Stinchfield aired a video of a crowd of protesters confronting Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in a restaurant chanting, “We believe survivors” and said, “The violent left is at it again.” Stinchfield also claimed he had “gotten word” that there are “busloads of people headed for D.C., leftists willing to enact in actions just like that one” and to “disrupt the next round of hearings for Brett Kavanaugh.”

    Two hours later, Stinchfield called the protesters “a bunch of radical thugs who see nothing wrong with mob rule” and demanded their behavior be “stamped out”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): A bunch of radical thugs who see nothing wrong with mob rule went at a United States senator last night.

    So that threatening mob surrounded Sen. Ted Cruz at a restaurant last night. Their speech is disgusting -- we had to clean it up. These threatening and violent thugs are the new face of the liberal left. These people pack houses and crowds and they say they’ll resist at all costs. And they say that they will do that. They’re dangerous and extremism should be called out, but it’s not. The liberal leaders encourage it, work it into their plans and call for more of it. I wish the mainstream media would wake up and stop supporting these violent thugs. This behavior should be stamped out. There is no place in it in a civil society.

    During the September 26 edition of his show, Stinchfield again warned the capital should “prepare for an onslaught of violent, left wing disruptors. … Many busloads of anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-American chaos creators are headed to D.C. to unleash havoc on the next phase of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.” He claimed this strategy is “straight out of their anarchist playbook” and that protesters “think nothing about forcing those they target to live in fear, and they think nothing about ultimately turning to violence to get their way or make their point.”  

    NRATV previously aired footage of Antifa members causing property damage on Inauguration Day, falsely identifying the footage as from the Women’s March, which took place the next day.

    NRATV has long been a propaganda outlet for Trump, particularly during the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference. This isn’t the first time NRATV has run defense in Kavanaugh’s support. The network’s hosts have worked to discredit the sexual assault reports against Kavanaugh since they surfaced, and the NRA itself followed suit by launching an ad campaign in support of his nomination.

  • Florida GOP officials are running a private conspiracy theory Facebook group

    The group “Florida Republicans United" has trafficked in conspiracy theories about the Parkland, FL, school shooting and the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA 

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Two Orange County Republican Party officials in Florida are administrators of the private conspiracy theory Facebook group Florida Republicans United. Lou Marin and Kathy Gibson are the vice chair and state committeewoman, respectively, for the Orange County Republican Executive Committee. Gibson recently came under fire for posting a racist meme targeting Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, which she claims was posted by someone who had hacked into her Facebook account.

    Administrators, including Marin, have pushed far-right conspiracy theories like QAnon and others related to the Parkland shooting, the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, and the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. They have also posted anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim content. The official Facebook page of the Orange County Republican Executive Committee often posts the same links to far-right conspiracy theories and fake news that Marin posts in the group.

    Other administrators of the group include far-right conspiracy theorist Trevor Loudon of New Zealand (who is also an administrator of the racist, conspiracy theory-pushing Facebook group Tea Party) and Keith Flaugh, who founded the conservative anti-science group Florida Citizens’ Alliance.

    The group has ties to Republican candidates and lawmakers

    Marin created a private event in the Facebook group for a meet-and-greet with Republican candidates where Florida gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is slated to speak. DeSantis is not currently listed as a member of Florida Republicans United (his personal Facebook account was deactivated after he was outed as an administrator for the group Tea Party). However, eight other Florida Republicans -- a mix of candidates for office and current lawmakers -- appear to be listed as members. They are:

    Virginia Fuller is the only Republican candidate listed above who appears to have campaigned in the group. She shared posts from her campaign page and sought paid volunteers in the group multiple times.

    Former Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward is also a member of this group.

    Administrators spread far-right conspiracies and fake news

    Marin posted various conspiracy theories and fake news articles related to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. One article Marin shared from a fake news website speculated that the Parkland shooting was “just another false flag designed to take your guns.” He shared articles from far-right conspiracy theory websites accusing Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg of being coached before televised interviews, of conspiring with CNN, and of changing his story in different interviews. Marin also shared various articles from fake news sites that smeared Hogg, including one which said Hogg “should not be taken seriously as a ‘mass shooting survivor.’”

    Marin and another administrator of the group, John Lofgren, spread conspiracy theories about the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Lofgren called the rally a “false flag operation” and also encouraged group members to ask their representatives and senators to “support Trump’s ‘both sides are wrong’ statement” because “the agitators from the left were paid - and they probably paid those fake ‘right wing’ activists, too.”

    Marin posted articles from fake news sites saying that CNN lied about Charlottesville; claiming that philanthropist George Soros and the CIA were connected to the Charlottesville rally; and defending James Alex Fields Jr., the neo-Nazi who killed counterprotester Heather Heyer by charging into a crowd with a car. Marin also shared a post questioning the legitimacy of reporting surrounding Charlottesville, which said that “the media and the political establishment [are] just capitalizing on a tragedy to sell tickets.”

    Marin also shared various posts related to the QAnon right-wing conspiracy theory. Lofgren and Marin also shared multiple articles supporting far-right conspiracy theories related to DNC staffer Seth Rich’s murder.

    Florida GOP officials and other admins also made bigoted remarks in the group

    Lofgren made multiple anti-Muslim posts, including two that linked to the hate site The Religion of Peace, which claims that it “examines the ideological threat that Islam poses to human dignity and freedom.” Marin posted an article titled “Islam and the West are incompatible.” Marin also posted an article claiming that “new evidence” from the 2016 shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, FL, was “not LGBT motivated.” And GOP official Kathy Gibson made various bigoted remarks about immigrants in a post criticizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Gibson wrote that immigration has “everything to do with culture” and added that immigrants are part of “a third-world culture that does not value education that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by age 15, and that refuses to assimilate.”