Grant Stinchfield | Media Matters for America

Grant Stinchfield

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  • NRATV host: Allowing gun manufacturers to face civil liability is “tyranny”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield called a proposal allowing gun manufacturers and dealers to face civil liability lawsuits a form of “persecution” and “tyranny.”

    Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) rolled out an eight-point plan to curb gun violence on June 17, presenting it outside the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Virginia. The plan includes repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and allowing victims of gun violence to sue firearm manufacturers.

    Passed in 2005, the PLCAA prohibits “qualified civil liability actions” which “result from the criminal or lawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition from being brought against their manufacturers. Though there are a few specific exceptions to the law, no other type of industry has this kind of blanket civil immunity. Democrats in Congress recently proposed repealing the PLCAA by introducing the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act.

    During the June 19 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield said repealing the protections for gun manufacturers would be using “your government to persecute a group of people” and called it “tyrannical behavior.” He went on to claim that Swalwell’s ultimate goal is to put gun manufacturers “out of business”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): It is an outrageous proposal, it is an anti-freedom proposal, and it is persecution. And in fact, I could also throw it onto the list of tyranny. Because when you use your government to persecute a group of people -- whether it’s gun manufacturers, whether it’s you or me -- that is tyrannical behavior and the only reason he does that is because he doesn’t believe in what they are producing or manufacturing, he doesn’t believe in what we are saying or supporting: the Second Amendment. So in the end, he wants lawsuit after lawsuit to pile up against these manufacturers, blaming them for crimes they have nothing to do with, to ultimately put them out of business so they can’t manufacture any more guns, so you can’t buy them, so ultimately they disappear after he buys them all back and the people who don’t sell them back are all thrown into prison. What a country. Is that what you want to live in? I don’t think so.

  • NRATV host takes seemingly veiled shot at NRA leadership

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield on Friday offered a scathing critique of his critics that seemed aimed at the leadership of the National Rifle Association. The NRA has been feuding with its ad firm, which produces NRATV.

    “If you think I’m too blunt, our words are too strong, quit your whining, get serious about this fight or move over and let someone else fight for you,” Stinchfield said during his June 7 show. He also denied that he has ever broadcast any extreme content on NRATV.

    In March, members of NRA’s leadership, including CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, publicly questioned the value of NRATV, which the NRA contracts ad firm Ackerman McQueen to produce, and expressed concern about the inflammatory content it airs.

    The NRA and Ackerman McQueen are now wrapped up in multimillion-dollar lawsuits and are making salacious allegations of financial misdeeds against each other. The infighting has resulted in the ousting of former NRA President Oliver North (who remains an employee of Ackerman McQueen) and has exposed a rift at the NRA that puts a pro-LaPierre faction that questions the value of NRATV against a pro-North faction that supports the network.

    On May 29, Ackerman McQueen submitted a notice of intent to terminate its nearly four-decade-long partnership with the pro-gun organization. The NRA responded with a statement that said it can now refocus its messaging back to issues related to firearms. As of June 2, the NRA acknowledged that the concept of NRATV “remains under review.”

    Even though the NRA and Ackerman McQueen have apparently agreed to terminate their relationship, NRATV has, for now, continued to air as usual. And during his June 7 broadcast, Stinchfield seemed to critique the leadership at the NRA. He also attempted to justify his decision to regularly cover issues unrelated to firearms on his show, saying, “Make no mistake: All the issues we face today, from immigration to spending to the battle over our guns to the war on terror and free speech, they are all connected. If you only fight for the Second [Amendment], you ignore the others”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): I laugh at those who claim the NRA is an extremist group. Some even call us terrorists. Others say NRATV is a right-wing propaganda machine. Have these people seen or heard what those on the left say and do? We don’t push hate, we push truth. I challenge anyone to tell me one thing I’ve said on this network that’s extreme. I call out the media’s bias, I point to their-almost daily lies, I back up my points with facts, I support the Second Amendment and I push and fight for freedom daily. But then again, to those on the left, all that is extreme. Supporting the values America was founded on, to them, is extreme.

    The New York Times and The Washington Post have done everything in its power to disparage and destroy the NRA. These media outlets, along with MSNBC and CNN, know that to get to the Second [Amendment], they have to go straight through the NRA, and who do you think is on the front lines of that information war? NRATV.

    So yes, I will call out the left’s bullcorn. And I will tell the world again and again, you are either with us or against us. Because this battle that we are engaged in, yes it can be harsh, it is not for the faint of heart, but it is for the soul of this nation. Our rights are absolute. So is our straight talk. And make no mistake: All the issues we face today, from immigration to spending to the battle over our guns to the war on terror and free speech, they are all connected. If you only fight for the Second, you ignore the others. If you only fight for the others, the Second will be destroyed and the others will soon follow. My commitment is to never give up. If you think I’m too blunt, our words are too strong, quit your whining, get serious about this fight or move over and let someone else fight for you. 2020 is almost here, and if we lose that one election, we could lose so much more. So join us, join the five-and-a-half million members of the NRA. Stand and fight with us.

    While defending his rhetoric, Stinchfield challenged “anyone” to show him his extremism on NRATV, which is well-documented. It ranges, in topic, from immigration and sexual assault and includes white nationalist talking points and conspiracy theories.

  • As turmoil within the NRA mounts, NRATV pretends nothing is wrong

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A public feud between the National Rifle Association and its longtime ad firm Ackerman McQueen is escalating, creating a bizarre dynamic in which the ad firm continues its role producing the NRA’s media outlet even as it wages a scorched-earth campaign against the group’s leadership. Supporters of the Ackerman faction are now leaking embarrassing information about NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre that could threaten his job as well as the NRA’s tax-exempt nonprofit status. Yet NRATV continues to put forward a facade of normalcy.

    The first public sign of trouble between the NRA and Ackerman -- which have worked together for nearly four decades -- was revealed in a March 11 article in The New York Times. Noting that NRATV “has adopted an increasingly apocalyptic, hard-right tone, warning of race wars, describing Barack Obama as a ‘fresh-faced flower-child president,’ calling for a march on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and comparing journalists to rodents,” the Times quoted NRA board members, including past NRA President Marion Hammer, expressing concern about NRATV’s direction. The Times reported that LaPierre was “livid and embarrassed” after NRA national spokesperson and Ackerman employee Dana Loesch aired an episode of her NRATV show -- first reported on by Media Matters -- that depicted Thomas the Tank Engine in a Ku Klux Klan hood in an attempt to criticize the children’s television show Thomas and Friends for adding diversity to its cast of characters.

    Then in April, the NRA sued Ackerman in Virginia state court, alleging that the ad firm has not fulfilled its contractual obligations to the NRA. The NRA’s complaint mentioned that it paid Ackerman $42.6 million in 2017 alone and alleged that Ackerman refused to turn over metrics that could be used to evaluate NRATV’s effectiveness and that it would not provide full details about a contract with then-NRA President Oliver North to produce an NRATV series. (The NRA would later update its legal complaint to accuse North of duplicitously attempting to draw a salary from both the NRA and Ackerman.)

    The conflict between the NRA and its own advertising firm came to a head during the 2019 NRA annual meeting, when a series of events pitted LaPierre and Brewer Attorneys & Counselors -- an outside legal contractor that allegedly costs the NRA nearly $100,000 per day -- against North and Ackerman McQueen. (Another strange aspect to the infighting: William Brewer, the CEO of Brewer Attorneys, is the brother-in-law of Ackerman McQueen CEO Revan McQueen.) As the meetings were unfolding, North sent the NRA board a letter alleging LaPierre participated in various financial misdeeds. LaPierre responded by accusing North of attempting to extort him and said he would not resign. In the end, LaPierre was reelected by the board of the directors, while North was ousted from the presidency after acknowledging he did not have the support of the board.

    That outcome appears to have done little to stem the infighting. In one recent major development, on May 10, the letter that North sent to the board leaked and its embarrassing claims about LaPierre’s spending became public. In recent years, LaPierre often used Ackerman to pay for things that the NRA would later reimburse. Among the expenses: more than $274,000 in clothing purchases from a single Beverly Hills, CA, clothing boutique, including as much as $39,000 spent in a single day, and an additional $267,000-plus for travel and rent, including $18,300 for a car and driver during a trip in Europe and $13,800 to rent an apartment for a summer intern. The letter also highlighted legal fees charged by Brewer that North said were exorbitant.

    NRATV has continued its regular broadcasts during this infighting, with no mention of any of these new developments. Ackerman has produced the NRA’s media operation since 2004, when the outlet was originally called NRA News. In 2016, NRA News changed its name to NRATV and massively expanded to become a 24/7 online broadcast. NRATV has three shows that broadcast live on weekdays; the rest of the airtime is filled with rebroadcasts, prerecorded series, and other videos from the massive NRATV archive.

    NRATV’s news-of-the-day show Stinchfield has continued its focus on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, which the NRA terms the ”disarmament primary.” A snapshot of “disarmament primary” segments broadcast on May 15 and 16 shows the type of unhinged and apocalyptic claims that host Grant Stinchfield routinely makes about Democratic candidates:

    • On former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX): “The cornerstone of his [2018 Senate] campaign was to ban AR-15s, a dopey move, even if just by political standards. There are some 22 million gun owners in Texas, many of whom own AR-15s. So gaffe after gaffe put the privileged white kid from boarder school who goes by Beto in a dunce cap in the back of the disarmament primary room.” (Note: Texas has an estimated population of 28.7 million people, making Stinchfield’s claim about the number of gun owners in that state incredibly unlikely.) [NRATV, Stinchfield, 5/15/19]
    • On Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) comment that she would use executive actions to ban the imports of assault weapons: “She’s going to undermine the Second Amendment using executive orders. … The arrogance there, to think that she has a right to do that. We live in a representative government world here in the United States where we send people to Congress to have a say in the laws that are passed. She wants to make an end run around Congress, that’s what Kamala Harris is willing to do, use executive action in a tyrannical fashion to take away your rights.” [NRATV, Stinchfield, 5/15/19]
    • On New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Another socialist gun grabber says he’s ready to be president. Let’s welcome New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to the disarmament primary. … He’ll take your money, he’ll take your guns and your home because that’s how his socialist mind works. But de Bozo is oh so late to this party.” [NRATV, Stinchfield, 5/16/19]
    • On former Vice President Joe Biden: “He declared that everyone is not entitled to a gun and … we should all ‘put a damn trigger lock on it, put it in a case, you have an obligation,’ he says. My only obligation, Sloppy Joe, is to keep my family safe. Don’t tell me how to store my firearm when you know nothing about them.” [NRATV, Stinchfield, 5/16/19]

    Stinchfield has also continued its regular attacks on the press. On May 16, Stinchfield ran three different segments on a local news story about preventing home burglaries. The reporter who wrote the story interviewed convicted burglars about what makes them more or less likely to target a home. According to the report, “That National Rifle Association (NRA) sticker on the door that once deterred burglars is now often viewed as a clue that valuable guns are in the home for the taking.” Stinchfield was apoplectic, apparently not grasping that the reporter wasn’t endorsing the interviewees’ views but was simply sharing what he was told. According to Stinchfield:

    The bottom line is this: The reporter’s apparent bias toward guns and the NRA got in the way of telling a meaningful story with some good tips. His credibility is shot now, to me, and sadly, most people will miss that little shot across the bow that he fires at the NRA in this piece. But this is what we’re up against: a mainstream media waging an information war against us. “How dare you be an NRA member,” they say. “How dare you show it proudly. If you do, you’ll be burglarized.” Give me a break.

    The theory that an NRA sticker could increase the odds of a burglary has come up in other recent local news investigations, and it has even been discussed in pro-gun media without allegations of a mainstream media conspiracy.

    NRATV’s two other live shows, Relentless, hosted by Dana Loesch, and Cam & Co., hosted by Cam Edwards, were unremarkable on May 15 and 16 , featuring criticism of Democratic presidential candidates and discussion of gun issues. In one segment characteristic of Loesch’s tendency to sometimes veer into bizarre commentary, Loesch cautioned NRATV viewers to make sure not to leave guns behind in public bathrooms or else “the disarmament left” could “use an accident in an attempt to get rid of your Second Amendment rights.”
     

    Despite his ouster as NRA president, North remains a prominent face at NRATV.com. That appears to be because he still works for Ackerman; his NRATV bio page currently describes him as “Past NRA President, Host.” (North also appears to continue to serve on the NRA board of directors. He was reelected to a three-year term at the annual meeting in voting that occurred before the latest NRA infighting became public.) On NRATV’s “series” page, North is seen alongside his nemesis LaPierre.  

    The show that North hosts, American Heroes, is a major part of the NRA’s lawsuit against Ackerman. In an updated legal complaint filed against Ackerman, the NRA alleged that the series did not deliver as many episodes as promised and did not generate as much sponsorship revenue for the NRA as expected. The few episodes that North and Ackerman have managed to produce so far are available for view at NRATV.com. Just four episodes have been released since the series’s launch in November 2018.

    The civil litigation between the NRA and Ackerman is in its earliest stages and there appears to be no end in sight for the gun group’s infighting. But for now, NRATV will continue to serve as the NRA’s messaging apparatus -- even as the PR company that produces it continues to cause massive public relations problems for the NRA.

  • NRATV host calls judge's decision to give probation to child rapist "liberal leadership," but the judge is Republican

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    On the National Rifle Association’s media outlet, NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield blamed “liberal leadership” for a rapist who received no jail time -- even though the judge in the case is a registered Republican.

    On April 25, a former school bus driver in Watertown, NY, received 10 years' probation and “the lowest level status on New York’s sex offender registry” after he pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl. When issuing the ruling, Judge James P. McClusky pointed out that the defendant “had no prior arrests and that there was only one victim in the case,” according to The Washington Post.

    During the April 30 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Stinchfield railed against McClusky’s decision, calling it an example of “liberal leadership” that “give(s) passes to the criminals.” Stinchfield went on to say that “actions have consequences,” which is “a staple of the justice system, unless of course you’re a liberal”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): You’ve got to be kidding me. Really? He made the choice to  do what he did. He made the choice to change that 14-year-old girl’s life forever, and somehow the judge buys into the fact that he’s sorry and we should feel sorry for him? No jail time needed? This is what liberal leadership is: Give passes to criminals. While the victim’s mother clearly isn’t happy about all this. Quote -- is what she says: “He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety. I wish he would have received jail time for the harm he caused to my child.” We all do, at least those of us with common sense and those of us who believe actions have consequences. A staple of the justice system, unless of course you’re a liberal.

    In reality, McClusky is a registered Republican and was endorsed by both the Republican and Conservative parties when he ran for the New York Supreme Court’s 5th Judicial District in 2011.

  • NRATV misrepresents what happened during Poway synagogue shooting to push pro-gun propaganda

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s media arm, NRATV, broadcast a false retelling of the April 27 California synagogue shooting in order to credit an armed worshipper with “almost instantly” stopping the incident. In fact, the gunman was confronted and chased out of the synagogue by an unarmed worshipper.

    On April 27, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire in the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, CA, killing one and injuring three others. According to witnesses, the gunman’s semi-automatic rifle jammed and that gave U.S. Army veteran Oscar Stewart an opportunity to chase him out of the building before another worshipper, Jonathan Morales, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, fired several shots at the gunman’s car. Stewart told The San Diego Union-Tribune that he “screamed as loud as he could” to startle the gunman before chasing him out to his car. Stewart then began punching the gunman’s car before the agent advised him to move out of the way so he could fire on the vehicle. The gunman was arrested a short time later after he pulled over and called 911 on himself.

    In a manifesto that he allegedly wrote before the shooting, the gunman claimed responsibility for setting a nearby mosque on fire in March, and championed previous hate crimes including the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand and the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, PA.

    During the April 29 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, host Grant Stinchfield erroneously claimed “the shooter was almost instantly chased out of the sanctuary by an off-duty Border Patrol agent with a gun.” He went on to say “That confrontation, I am convinced, prevented the shooter from killing others,” failing to mention the rifle malfunction or Stewart, who had actually rushed the gunman:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Religious leaders across America are on edge as a deranged, hate-filled teen entered a California synagogue killing one woman and wounding three others, including the rabbi. There is so much not being reported about this story that needs to be. This synagogue actually trained for an active shooter situation. The rabbi says that training saved lives. The shooter was almost instantly chased out of the sanctuary by an off-duty Border Patrol agent with a gun. No matter what you say, that confrontation, I am convinced, prevented the shooter from killing others. Then, even with all the California gun laws, the shooting still happened. With guns bans and waiting periods, mandates for classes, this vile human responsible still managed to get a gun and go on this rampage. These are the stories the mainstream media refuses to cover. Sometimes there are brief mentions of these issues, but almost always buried at the bottom of the piece. The strength of Americans is what should be celebrated after this horrific loss.

    NRA spokesperson and NRATV host Dana Loesch also retweeted frequent NRATV guest Amy Swearer misrepresenting the facts of the shooting.

    In the wake of the Christchurch shootings on March 15, Loesch also ran with an early and ultimately false report that a “good guy with a gun” fired at the gunman and stopped the incident. The gunman in that incident was actually confronted by a man who threw a credit card reader at him, but Loesch never issued a correction for her claim.

  • NRATV host attacks Sen. Bernie Sanders over a fake Sanders Twitter account 

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s media operation NRATV aired a tweet sent by an obviously fake Bernie Sanders account, with NRATV host Grant Stinchfield falsely claiming that Sanders asked on Twitter, “Who cares about a few terrorists?”

    The April 25 broadcast of NRATV show Stinchfield had a segment on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) position that all people in prison should be allowed to vote, regardless of the crime they were convicted for. Stinchfield mentioned that entertainer Cher had criticized Sanders' proposal on Twitter and creduously quoted a fake Sanders account that had responded to Cher's tweet. The account using the name “President Bernie Sanders” and the handle “@Ryan35186771” had written: “Why are you playing into this? Who cares about a few terrorists?”

    Stinchfield represented that Sanders actually sent the tweet, saying, “It may be one of Bernie Sanders’ responses to Cher that is the most offensive. ‘Who cares about a few terrorists,’ he writes.” The NRATV host went on to say: “We care, Bernie Sanders and your supporters. We care about terrorists not voting from behind bars. The 5 1/2 million members of the NRA care because we love this country”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The fact is it may be one of Bernie Sanders’ responses to Cher that is the most offensive. “Who cares about a few terrorists,” he writes. Who cares about a few terrorists? I would argue the family members of hundreds of victims of the Boston bombings, that’s who, all of us who lived through 9/11, who knew people who died there and felt it first hand, what jihad means and what it is: Death to America. We care, Bernie Sanders and your supporters. We care about terrorists not voting from behind bars. The 5 1/2 million members of the NRA care because we love this country.

    Stinchfield often broadcasts patently false information on his NRATV show. On Election Day 2016, Stinchfield read from and discussed an article in an NRA magazine about the supposed horrors a Hillary Clinton presidency would bring while urging people not to vote for her. The article -- which raised the prospect of Syrian refugees establishing an “Islamic State in the United States” culminating in a nuclear attack on U.S. soil -- was labeled “fiction” by the NRA magazine.

  • The worst of NRATV, the NRA's extremist and bigoted media operation

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & MILES LE

    NRATV is the media operation for the National Rifle Association, and it regularly spews bigotry, extremist pro-gun talking points, and fact-free defenses of President Donald Trump. While the outlet does sometimes cover gun policy, NRATV is largely a platform where conspiracy theories, white nationalism, and extremism flourish during broadcasts covering a wide variety of topics.        

    After NRATV host and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch shared on her program an image of children’s TV show characters wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods, several members of the organization’s board “questioned the value” of NRATV, highlighting a fracture within the NRA over the purpose of its media operation.

    Below are some of the worst examples of inflammatory rhetoric broadcast on NRATV: