Conservative media figures, as well as other conservatives, criticized the National Rifle Association for releasing an ad that politicized the protection afforded to President Obama's daughters, calling the ad “over the line” and “beyond the pale.” MSNBC's Joe Scarborough strongly criticized the ad and the NRA, saying, “this extremism is so frightening.”
NRA Released Ad Politicizing Protection For Obama's Kids
NRA Ad Politicized The Security Of President Obama's Children. On Tuesday, the NRA released an ad calling Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for questioning the viability of putting armed guards in schools while his children attend a school protected by armed security. From The Washington Post:
The National Rifle Association released a new video on its Web site Tuesday calling President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for having Secret Service protection of his daughters at school but saying he was “skeptical” about installing armed guards in all schools.
The NRA's provocative, 35-second video is as harsh as any attack ad in a political campaign and illustrates how emotionally charged and personal the debate over gun control is becoming.
“Are the president's kids more important than yours?” a deep-voiced narrator asks. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he's just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.”
“Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement Wednesday. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the President's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”
The video takes issue with Obama's comments in a recent interview on NBC's “Meet the Press,” in which the president voiced uncertainty about the NRA's proposal to put armed security guards in schools nationwide. [The Washington Post, 1/15/13]
White House: Ad “Repugnant And Cowardly.” In response, the White House called the ad “repugnant and cowardly.” From The Washington Post:
The White House has responded to a provocative ad posted online Tuesday by the National Rifle Association, calling the video “repugnant and cowardly.”
The ad labels President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for letting armed guards protect his own school-aged children while expressing skepticism towards an NRA proposal to put armed security in schools.
“Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.” [The Washington Post, 1/16/13]
“Beyond The Pale” And “Deranged”: Conservatives Criticized Ad
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: “This Extremism Is So Frightening And Just, Over, Over, Over The Line.” MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough responded to the ad by saying: “What's wrong with these people?” He concluded, “This extremism is so frightening and just, over, over, over the line”:
SCARBOROUGH: What's wrong with these people, Mika? What's wrong with these people? You have, you have children that had no say in the decision on whether their father is going to step forward to be President of the United States, to run for President, one of the most bone-crushing sacrificing things any husband or wife can do to their family, and the second they make that decision, their children and their entire family have targets on their backs. And the NRA is putting something out like -- what's wrong with these people? Putting out apps that four-year-olds can play on the anniversary of the Newtown murders, and now putting out an ad talking about the President's daughters?
They need new leadership is what they need. Their leadership has dragged them over the cliff. They are now a fringe organization with millions of mainstream Americans gun, you know, hunting, guys and women that love to hunt, and believe that they have the right to protect their families, and what the NRA once was it no longer is. This extremism is so frightening and just, over, over, over the line." [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 1/16/13, via Media Matters]
David Frum: “The NRA's Sneering References To The President's Family Are Beyond The Pale.” In a piece headlined “The NRA Guns For Sasha And Malia,” CNN contributor and Daily Beast contributing editor David Frum wrote “the NRA's sneering references to the president's family are beyond the pale” and argued “a president's family should not be subject to political criticism”:
[T]he NRA's sneering references to the president's family are beyond the pale. As the makers of the NRA ad should know, and probably do know, the First Family has come under years of racially coded attack for their “uppityism,” as Rush Limbaugh phrased it. This latest attack ad looks to many like only one more attempt to enflame an ancient American wound.
Generally speaking, a president's family should not be subject to political criticism. That rule was honorably upheld in the case of the Bush daughters, who grew into fine young people, and the rule should be same for the Obama daughters - especially if it's true, as has been widely reported, that this first family has faced a unique degree of threat. [The Daily Beast, 1/16/13]
Fox's Megyn Kelly: “You're Always At Risk Of Kidnapping When You're The President's Daughter.” On the January 16 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly criticized the ad, saying that “obviously the president's children are in a special circumstance”:
KELLY: The thing is, obviously the president's children are in a special circumstance. They are under threat at all times, sadly, because they are the children of the president of the United States. There's a reason why they have 24-7 Secret Service protection, and it's something that we in the media don't often highlight. We tend to stay away from, and I don't know we should be discussing the security situation of the Obama girls. But now we are because this ad put -- I understand the point they're trying to make, Julie, but is it appropriate to talk about the security these two little girls have?
KELLY: You're always at risk of kidnapping when you're the president's daughter.
KELLY: If you read the blogs, that argument that they're making is not new, right? You've seen that out there, like why does the president, why does the president's family -- they get gun protection and why can't my family get gun protection, you know, I know they're not under special threat, but now all children are under threat in the wake of Newtown, is the argument. So who is he to tell me I can't have it? But it's one thing for bloggers to talk about it, and it's another thing for the NRA, a hugely powerful group, to come out with an ad like that. [Fox News, America Live, 1/16/13]
GOP Consultant John Weaver: Ad “Deranged,” “Over-The-Top, ”Out-Of-Touch." In a series of posts on his Twitter feed, GOP consultant John Weaver called the ad “deranged,” “over-the-top,” and “out-of-touch.”
Other Media Figures: NRA In “The Fever-Swamps Of Anti-Obama Hatred”
CBS News Political Director John Dickerson: “Very Incendiary” NRA Ad “About Hypocrisy, Not Safety.” CBS News political director John Dickerson described the ad as a “very incendiary message,” adding that the “NRA is making this about hypocrisy, not safety.” From CBS News:
The ad, described by CBS News political director John Dickerson as a “very incendiary message,” tries to “expand charges against the president -- it's not just about guns, it's going into people who have very negative views about the president,” pushing emotional buttons unrelated to gun violence.
“The NRA is making this about hypocrisy, not safety,” Dickerson said. [CBS News, 1/16/13]
Salon's Joan Walsh: NRA In “The Fever-Swamps Of Anti-Obama Hatred.” In a January 16 response to the ad, Joan Walsh, Salon's editor at large, criticized the NRA for “wallowing in anti-Obama hatred and paranoia” and for being “part of the vast and increasingly incompetent right wing conspiracy that's sacrificed its own effectiveness for the pleasure of hating Democrats generally and our first black president in particular”:
Instead, they showed us the truth: They're part of the vast and increasingly incompetent right wing conspiracy that's sacrificed its own effectiveness for the pleasure of hating Democrats generally and our first black president in particular.
Of course, the NRA ignores the common sense answer to its own question: Every president's child is protected by armed guards. They're called the Secret Service. Outside of the fever-swamps of anti-Obama hatred, no one could possibly have a problem with that, let alone call it hypocrisy.
Just the way Fox News's insularity and reality-denial has been a form of media and political malpractice, harming its viewers by shielding them from the Obama victory to come in 2012, the NRA has disabled itself by wallowing in anti-Obama hatred and paranoia. On the eve of the president's big stand, when they most needed to show their supposedly formidable political muscle, instead they showed that they're completely tone deaf and politically silly. That's because they've been marinating in the bile of Obama's enemies, where the president's modest moves on guns, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, are a trigger to call for his impeachment - thanks, Ed Meese, Mr. Iran-Contra! - or worse.
And on that fringe, of course, everyone knows the president is just a big fat elitist hypocrite. Over on that fringe, Sasha and Malia Obama don't elicit feelings of tenderness and protectiveness like they do in the rest of the country. They elicit feelings of contempt, as the children of “elitist hypocrites,” if they provoke any feelings at all. [Salon, 1/16/13]
National Journal's Fournier: Ad “Is Arguably A Dangerous Appeal To The Base Instincts Of Gun-Rights Activists.” In a January 16 Twitter post, Fournier wrote: " 'Has the NRA Finally Gone Too Far?' My take: Hell, yes." Fournier linked to a National Journal article, in which he wrote, “The ad is indisputably misleading, and is arguably a dangerous appeal to the base instincts of gun-rights activists.”
NYMag.com Editor Margaret Hartmann: “NRA Violates The Long-Standing Tradition Of Keeping The President's Children Out Of The Political Debate.” In a January 16 NYMag.com post, editor Margaret Hartmann wrote, “In a new ad, the NRA violates the long-standing tradition of keeping the president's children out of the political debate, attacking the president for dismissing the group's proposal to put armed guards in schools, though his own daughters have Secret Service protection.” She described the ad as “wildly sensational” and wrote that it “ignores the obvious explanation that unlike the average American kids, Sasha and Malia are the target of regular threats.” [NYMag.com, 1/16/13]
Daily Beast Senior Columnist John Avlon: Ad “Is A Simple Question Of Decency And ... The NRA Failed That Test In Spectacular Fashion.” In a January 16 article, John Avlon, senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, wrote that the NRA's shooting app for children and its ad are “a rare and ugly combination of cluelessness and callousness -- and almost makes you think someone inside the NRA is trying to ruin its reputation.” He described the ad as “a deliberate insult” to Obama, and added, “This is a simple question of decency and, surprise, the NRA failed that test in spectacular fashion.” [The Daily Beast, 1/16/13]