The National Rifle Association’s media outlet NRATV has announced that spokesperson Dana Loesch will take on the “lying” media in a new hour-long show debuting March 26. Commentators are increasingly realizing that the NRA -- which has a history of making bad-faith attacks on media -- uses the national press as a boogeyman to deflect criticism while the group continues to oppose reforms to gun laws amid an ongoing American gun violence epidemic.
NRATV announces new show hosted by Dana Loesch
Loesch is the NRA’s national spokesperson. After appearing in commentary videos for the NRA’s media outlet, then called NRA News, Loesch was hired by the NRA in 2016 as a “special adviser on women’s policy.” In 2017, Loesch was promoted to be the group’s national spokesperson. She continues to make daily appearances on NRATV and also hosts a conservative talk radio show that is unaffiliated with the NRA. [Media Matters, 2/21/18; The Dana Show, accessed 2/27/18]
In an NRATV announcement video, Loesch told the “lying” media and others, “Your time is running out.” In a February 2017 video, Loesch told media figures and others that “we’ve had enough of the lies” and that “we are done with you agenda to undermine voters’ will and individual liberty in America.” Loesch went on to warn “every lying member of the media,” among others: “Your time is running out.” Meanwhile, the on-screen text said, “Dana Loesch’s newest show comes to NRATV. March 2018”:
DANA LOESCH: We've had enough of the lies, the sanctimony, the arrogance, the hatred, the pettiness, the fake news. We are done with your agenda to undermine voters' will and individual liberty in America. So to every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phony, to the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents, to the politicians who would rather watch America burn than lose one ounce of their own personal power, to the late-night hosts who think their opinions are the only opinions that matter, to the Joy-Ann Reids, the Morning Joes, the Mikas, to those who stain honest reporting with partisanship, to those who bring bias and propaganda to CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Your time is running out. The clock starts now." [NRATV, February 2017]
Loesch claimed her show will bring “accountability in media.” Loesch described her upcoming program to NRATV host Grant Stinchfield as a fact-checking show:
DANA LOESCH: We’ll be there to fisk it and that’s exactly one of the things that I’m going to be focusing on with this new program is fisking that’s -- when you talk about “time’s up,” I think that there needs to be accountability in media. And I’ve always said that a free people have every right to fact-check their free press. Are we not free people? I mean, being a free press doesn’t mean that you’re a free press without responsibility or accountability to the free people to whom you’re reporting. So that is the focus of this program.
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): So here is the great thing for NRA members and NRATV viewers. So think about what Dana and I do here every hour at this hour, we have Dana on every day. And Dana we often fisk the media, our segments here. You’re taking this to a new level. You’re going to be going for what is it, an hour?
LOESCH: Yes, an hour with no commercial breaks. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 2/14/18]
Loesch’s show premieres on March 26
On NRATV, Loesch announced the premiere of Relentless. During the March 26 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Loesch announced that her show, Relentless, would premiere that night. She teased the first episode as a “packed show” and said she will “talk about some of those who attended the march, what were their experiences,” referring to the March 24 March for Our Lives, and that she will also “explore Citibank because … Citibank has had some second thoughts about working with law-abiding gun owners”:
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): It’s a really big day today. Your show gets kicked off this evening.
DANA LOESCH: It is, it is. My one-hour, commercial-free program Relentless airs today on NRATV. I am incredibly excited about all of this. It’ll be live, I believe 5 p.m. Central. And so I can’t wait to see what the reaction is. It’s a packed show. I have a huge show planned for the first hour out. And I’ve been chomping at the bit to get going. And we have some really good guests. We’re going to talk about some of those who attended the march, what were their experiences. And I’ll also talk to Matt Schlapp to get maybe perhaps a little bit lay of the land for midterms coming up. And we’ll also, Grant, we’re also going to explore Citibank, because, as you know, Citibank has had some second thoughts about working with law-abiding gun owners. But yet they didn’t seem to have any second thoughts when it came to questionably violating sanctions and working with Iran or China even. So we’re going to explore that in depth tonight at 5 p.m. Central. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 3/26/18]
Loesch repeatedly attacked and lied to the Parkland school shooting survivors
Loesch: NRA members are “victims of a different sort” of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. During the March 19 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Loesch claimed that NRA members were “victims of a different sort” after the school shooting in Parkland, FL, killed 17:
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): It was all about money and trying to make themselves look good. And it ended up costing people's lives, and that’s the shame of it all.
DANA LOESCH: Yeah well, it cost people’s lives and it also contributed to a state of poison in our national discourse where you have politicians and celebrities and everyone else impugning the characters of millions of law-abiding members just because they choose to voluntarily enter into a fellowship and call themselves the NRA. That’s the problem here; it created even more victims of a different sort. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 3/19/18]
Loesch lied to Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez during a CNN town hall. During CNN’s February 21 town hall on gun violence prevention after the Parkland shooting, student Emma Gonzalez asked Loesch if she believe “that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic … weapons and the modifications for these weapons to make them fully automatic, like bump stocks?” Loesch lied in response, saying that neither she nor the “millions of people” she represents supports someone like the Parkland gunman “getting their hands on a firearm.” In reality, the NRA’s website states that the organization opposes expanding the firearms background checks system and the “Gun Violence Restraining Order,” both of which could have stopped the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. [Media Matters, 2/22/18]
Loesch appropriated Parkland student’s “we call BS” line during a speech at CPAC. Just days after the Parkland school shooting, student survivor Gonzalez told President Donald Trump and politicians supported by the NRA, “We call BS.” Loesch appropriated this line during her February 22 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, telling the “legacy media” that “I am here, we are here, we’re not going anywhere. I call BS”:
DANA LOESCH : And I don’t mean to ignore you all here, but I really – I’m really looking at a lot of the legacy media back there on the platform. And you can write whatever you want about me, and you can come find me in the hallways, and you can scream at me, and you can try to confront me. But I am here, we are here, we’re not going anywhere. I call BS. [CNN, 2/17/18; Conservative Political Action Conference, 2/22/18]
Loesch has a well-documented history of making unhinged, bad-faith attacks on the media
Loesch claimed the media “love mass shootings” because they lead to high ratings. During her speech at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, Loesch said that “many in legacy media love mass shootings” because of a supposed resulting increase in ratings:
DANA LOESCH: I’m going to say something that some people are going to say is controversial. So I’ll say it really slowly so all the people on the platform in the back can hear me loud and clear. Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it. Now, I’m not saying that you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back. [NRATV, Conservative Political Action Conference, 2/22/18]
Loesch held a lighter to a copy of The New York Times in an NRATV ad. In her latest ad for NRATV, from February 7, Loesch held a lighter to a copy of The New York Times before saying, “I don’t even have to do this” because the Times is “burning down” its reputation by itself. [Media Matters, 2/7/18]
Loesch: “Rat bastards” in the mainstream media got “curb-stomped” by Trump’s victory. Loesch referred to herself as a longtime “critic of the media” on a November 2016 broadcast of NRATV’s Stinchfield. She went on to say mainstream media are “the rat bastards of the earth” and the “boil on the backside of American politics” and added that she is “happy, just frankly, to see them curb-stomped” by President Trump:
DANA LOESCH: I think that in a campaign there are certain things that you are going to hear and certain behaviors that you will see that will be tempered by the -- after the election -- tempered by simply just going into the White House. However, that being said, I don’t think that the, for the lack of a better way to put it, the zero relationship with the mainstream media is going to be one of those things. Look, this media has not only impugned the character of half of the country, they’ve done this since 2008, 2009, they’ve definitely did this in 2010. Particularly when they were going to push the unaffordable health care act and get that passed. And they were trying to say anyone who disagreed with it, well you may have to check your soul and have a talk with Jesus, cause something’s seriously wrong with you. It’s probably because the president’s black. That’s one of the things that we all heard over and over again. They questioned everybody’s character. And so I am actually happy, because I have long been a huge critic of the media. And I hate that what I do is considered part of it. Because I don’t consider myself part of them. However, I am very glad to see -- I said this actually on television not too long ago -- I am happy, just frankly, to see them curb-stomped. I mean, let’s be real about it, Grant. These people are just the worst thing that could ever possibly happen just to the American political system right now with the way that they cover so many things. For instance, when -- nobody gets a fair shake on policy, no one gets a fair shake where it concerns immigration. They conflate illegal and legal immigration. They conflate a number of things, particularly the coverage on gun control. I have so many things that I hate about mainstream media, there is no way we’re going to fit it in the allotted time today. They are the rat bastards of the earth. They are the boil on the backside of American politics. I have no other nice way to put it. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 11/23/17]
Loesch: “The media … is culpable” in congressional candidate’s assault on reporter. After then-candidate Greg Gianforte, who was running as a Republican for Montana’s U.S. House seat, assaulted a reporter who asked him a question, Loesch told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the media are “in some respects” “culpable” because they have “ignored” the “the violent behavior of many on the progressive left.” Loesch went on to question if we’d “even be having this conversation about Greg Gianforte … if media had done their job the past 10, 20 years?” From the May 25 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:
DANA LOESCH: First off, you can believe two things simultaneously. That Gianforte behaved wrongly. You can believe that, but you can also, Tucker, believe that the media in some respects is culpable. That the violent progressive left is, in some respects, culpable. Let's keep this in mind. We're talking about the same media that has ignored the behavior and really underreported, and in some cases not reported at all, the violent behavior of many on the progressive left. This is the same media, Tucker, that promoted the “hands up, don't shoot” that left many communities including the communities in my hometown of St. Louis actually burned to ash. This is a media right now, Tucker, you want to talk about violence, what about the story that Luke Rosiak at Daily Caller reported, how you had Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatening Capitol Police because they seized government computers in an ongoing scandal that should be really rocking every headline about these two IT staffers that hacked and were stealing government information. But yet we don’t see that. Would we even be having this conversation about Greg Gianforte and the anger of so many people in America if media had done their job the past 10, 20 years? If they hadn’t looked the other way at all of the violent actions that we have seen so many of the progressive leftists promote? [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 5/25/17]
Loesch to NY Times: “We're coming for you.” The NRA released an April 2017 video about The New York Times that alleged the paper had failed to cover major stories such as the tea party movement, Mexican drug cartel violence, and the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. A spokesperson for the Times responded that the paper had actually covered all the stories mentioned in the ad. In response, NRATV issued a video in which Loesch said, “Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow. We are going to fisk the The New York Times and find out just what ‘deep and rich’ means to this old gray hag, this untrustworthy, dishonest rag that has subsisted on the welfare of mediocrity for one, two, three, more decades. We're going to laser-focus on your so-called ‘honest pursuit of truth.’ In short, we're coming for you.” [NRATV, 4/10/17]
Loesch claimed the left “use[s] their media to assassinate real news” in her infamous “clenched fist of truth video.” In an April 10, 2017, video for the NRA, Loesch claimed Democrats use the mainstream media “to assassinate real news” in an effort to gin up hatred towards conservatives and Trump. Loesch went on to say, “The only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.” Critics of the ad said that Loesch was inciting violence against critics of the president. [NRATV, 4/7/17; Business Insider, 6/29/17]
Mainstream media outlets have called out the group’s increasingly inflammatory rhetoric
Press trade group Digital Content Next slammed the “blatantly irresponsible” NRA for releasing videos that “may incite violence against journalists.” The press trade group Digital Content Next, which represents publishers including The New York Times, The Associated Press, 21st Century Fox, and dozens of other major outlets, sent a letter in September 2017 criticizing the NRA for it’s rhetoric toward the press. From a CNN article about the letter:
A trade group that represents The New York Times, the Associated Press and other major publishers is calling out the NRA, accusing the gun rights group of crossing a line and threatening journalists.
“We were taken aback by your recent criticism of The New York Times,” the group Digital Content Next wrote in a letter to NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch on Tuesday.
In a viral video last month, Loesch harshly attacked the Times as an “untrustworthy, dishonest rag.” She said her video was a “shot across your proverbial bow.”
“We're going to laser-focus on your so-called honest pursuit of truth,” Loesch said. “In short: We're coming for you.”
The video received ample attention in conservative media circles. Fox News said the NRA was “targeting” the Times.
Without a Democratic president in power to be a focus of its messaging, the NRA has increasingly criticized media outlets like The Times. Analysts have speculated that the group is doing so to motivate existing members and recruit new members.
Michael Luo, editor of NewYorker.com, wrote last month that Loesch's web videos are “strikingly bellicose even by the standards of the association.” [CNN.com, 9/5/17]
CNN’s Brian Stelter: Attacks on press may help the NRA distract from Florida mass shooting. In an article reacting to Loesch’s claim that media “love” mass shootings, CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote that a possible explanation is that “she's trying to portray the news media as an enemy at a time when many outlets are covering the aftermath of the Florida mass shooting.” He also added, “Some analysts have speculated that the NRA has ramped up its anti-media messaging to motivate existing members and to recruit new ones. In the absence of a Democratic president in power to focus their attacks, the NRA has taken to criticizing media outlets instead.” [CNN.com, 2/23/18]
Vox’s German Lopez: Recent NRA press attacks are “a convenient bit of blame-shifting for the NRA.” Vox’s German Lopez noted that the NRA uses attacks on the press as a way of “passing the buck” when people point out that the organization stands in the way of reforming America’s gun laws:
I have been covering these travesties for years — and I am personally sick of it. Every single reporter I know, inside and outside of Vox, who has to cover these tragedies does so in almost constant horror that this keeps happening. It’s incredibly offensive to suggest that the journalists working on this beat — and actively reporting on solutions to prevent these shootings — are in any way glad to see more mass killings.
But this is a convenient bit of blame-shifting for the NRA. The NRA is the major national organization standing against gun control, lobbying lawmakers into opposing any new restrictions on firearms and propagating an interpretation of the Second Amendment that makes it hard to pass policies that significantly limit access to guns. Based on the research, that makes it more likely that America’s extraordinary levels of gun violence will remain extraordinary.
The NRA, in this video, is ignoring its role in perpetuating gun violence and passing the buck to someone else.
The reality, though, is that reporters like me would love to never cover another mass shooting again. If only we could. [Vox, 2/22/18]