Ted Nugent | Media Matters for America

Ted Nugent

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  • In the wake of mass shootings at schools, conservatives blame everything but guns

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE, SANAM MALIK & NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    After nearly every school shooting, right-wing media scramble to find reasons why guns should not be blamed for gun violence.

    After 10 people were killed during a mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, TX, pro-gun proselytizers in the conservative media sphere insisted that gun safety laws would not have prevented the shooting and instead pointed to other aspects of American culture that they said required reform. Here are some of the excuses right-wing pundits offered for the May 18 shooting:

    In February, after the school shooting in Parkland, FL, claimed 17 lives, conservative media took the very same approach:

    • Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce claimed that talking about firearms doesn’t get to the “core issue” of “the human condition.” She and the hosts of Fox & Friends also blamed drugs, virtual reality, and video games for the shooting.
    • Radio host Michael Savage tweeted that “liberal judges and the ACLU” were to blame.
    • Fox guest Lou Palumbo blamed “the media, the entertainment industry,” and “the lack of parenting.”
    • Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson blamed “Leftist-run schools” and falsely claimed that the shooter was linked to antifa.
    • Fox News host Laura Ingraham blamed “mental illness”and “broken or damaged families” for the shooting on her show.
    • The Gateway Pundit suggested that the shooter supposedly being a registered Democrat was a factor. (He was not actually a registered Democrat; the blog was forced to correct the story.)
    • Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter blamed the FBI’s Russia probe for the shooting, tweeting, “The FBI was too busy trying to undermine the president to bother with doing it's (sic) freaking job.”
    • The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson suggested that the shooting was related to the shooter growing up without a father.
    • Liberty One TV’s Joe Biggs (formerly of Infowars) tweeted that the FBI was “too busy chasing Trump/Russia nothing burgers” to have prevented the shooting.
    • Pamela Geller falsely claimed that the shooter was connected to antifa and Islamic terrorist groups.
    • Laura Loomer shared a fake photo of the shooter and speculated that he was a “radical leftist” with potential ties to antifa and Islamic resistance groups.
    • Infowars claimed that the “MSM” (mainstream media) was “already covering it up” that the shooter was likely a “Democratic voter” and had clothing “similar to the style worn by ISIS fighters in Syria.”

    But as others have pointed out, most of the phenomena listed above are also present in other countries that don’t experience nearly as much gun violence as the United States does.

  • Notorious misogynist and accused child molester Ted Nugent spoke at the NRA Women's Leadership Forum

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent was allowed to address the Women’s Leadership Forum at this year’s NRA annual meeting in Dallas, TX, despite his history of misogyny and reports that he engaged in sexual misconduct involving minors.

    In a May 5 Facebook post, Nugent shared this picture of himself speaking at the Women’s Leadership Forum, writing, “A grand American freedom celebration was had by all at the mighty NRA party in Dallas”:

    Nugent has a long record of making profane attacks against women, including telling a CBS News producer that he would “fuck” her in a lewd off-camera remark, claiming “fat chicks” will kill you, defining the term feminist as “some fat pig who doesn’t get it often enough,” calling former Attorney General Janet Reno a “dirty whore,” and referring to Hillary Clinton as both a “worthless bitch” and a “toxic cunt.”

    Back in the 1970s, a 30-year-old Nugent became the legal guardian of a 17-year-old girl with whom he had a romantic relationship. The woman later said, “It just really wasn’t a terribly appropriate situation in most people’s eyes. And now, it would be criminal.” In 2004, singer Courtney Love said that she performed oral sex on Nugent when she was 12 years old. According to Mediaite, “Nugent apparently declined to comment” about Love’s statement when she made it.

    The Women’s Leadership Forum was held on May 4 and billed as an event for “philanthropic women united with the mission of infusing new enthusiasm, new excitement, new leaders and new opportunities into the fight for Second Amendment freedoms.” This year’s forum featured professional sexist Tucker Carlson as its keynote speaker.

  • A gun that looks like a cellphone isn't the only tone deaf thing on display at the NRA annual meeting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    The National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting in Dallas, TX, this year. The event kicked off on May 3 with an evening banquet and is now in full swing with a three-day exhibition at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. In addition to exhibiting guns, ammunition, gun accessories, tactical gear, and other merchandise, the event features speeches, seminars, and workshops.

    The preeminent event at the annual meeting will be the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, which will begin at noon CST on May 4. (The Institute for Legislative Action, or ILA, is the NRA’s lobbying wing.) NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, chief lobbyist Chris Cox, and national spokesperson Dana Loesch are scheduled to speak at the forum. Elected officials speaking at the event include President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and several conservative media figures will round out the lineup. The following day will feature the event’s official “Annual Meeting of Members,” where the election results for the NRA's board of directors will be announced and other NRA business will be conducted.

    There are many notable facts about the event, but none highlight the disconnect between the NRA and public sentiment on firearms regulation and the role of guns in society more than a pistol featured in the exhibition hall that can be disguised to look like a cell phone:



    The pistol is manufactured by Ideal Conceal, whose website says, “Smartphones are EVERYWHERE, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment.” A demonstration video shows that the weapon can be pulled from a pocket, unfolded, and fired in just seconds.





    The display comes less than two months after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police in Sacramento, CA, after the cops mistook the cellphone he was holding for a gun. As Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the mass Parkland, FL, shooting, noted on Twitter, the existence of the firearm could be used as a pretext to justify police shootings of unarmed people:

    Here are some other highlights of the NRA’s annual meeting:

    Speeches, seminars, and other events

    • Trump’s will give a speech at the meeting for the fourth year in a row. The Kremlin reportedly sought to use the 2016 annual meeting as a venue to attempt to make “first contact” with Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • The meeting will have a “Women’s Leadership Forum” and the keynote speaker will be white nationalist favorite Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host. This isn’t the first time a Fox host has keynoted the event; Sean Hannity was the featured speaker in 2013.

    • The NRA announced that pro-Trump media figures Diamond and Silk will speak at the event’s NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. The announcement came just days after the duo appeared before Congress and made false statements under oath.

    • NRA board member Ted Nugent will be attending the meeting. Nugent has made several controversial statements this year including saying the Parkland shooting survivors are liars who “have no soul.” Nugent has been a regular figure at NRA annual meetings, where he’s talked about shooting former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called then-President Barack Obama “Osama Obama” and offered to “pilot” a boat to send him to Kenya.   

    • Discredited gun researcher John Lott will give a seminar on “false and misleading claims that will be made to advance gun control this year” ranging from “claims about Australia’s and the UK’s gun laws to … the true costs of expanded background checks to mass public shootings and gun-free zones.” His group, the Crime Prevention Research Center, will also have a booth.  

    • During the meeting’s “Youth Day,” the NRA will introduce children to firearms by using “nerf guns.” The NRA was previously criticized for pushing an ineffective program to teach kids gun safety and for rewriting children’s fairy tales to include pro-gun narratives.

    • The NRA has stated that no guns will be allowed in the arena during appearances by Trump and Pence at the behest of the Secret Service, undermining the NRA’s frequent claims that so-called “gun-free zones” imperil people’s lives, enable mass shootings, and draw terrorists.

    The exhibition hall

    • Smith & Wesson, the maker of the assault weapon used in the Parkland, FL, school shooting, will exhibit several products in the “Featured Product Center & Demo Area.” Smith & Wesson has donated more than $1 million to the NRA.

    • Aagil Arms, a sister company of TuffZone and the “official manufacurer (sic) of the Ted Nugent Signature Series upper assemblies,” will have a booth on the exhibit floor that will feature a line called “Ted Nugent’s American Spearchucker Series AR15-style Upper kits,” which reference an obscure racial slur.

    • Trump-supporting Liberty University, conservative Hillsdale College, and right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation -- entities with no direct connection to the gun industry  -- will all have booths at the meeting.

    • U.S. Border Patrol will also have a booth at the meeting, even though members of NRA leadership routinely demean and attack immigrants.  

    • There will likely be a lot of men. Eighty-five percent of attendees last year were men, according to information posted on the NRA annual meeting website for potential exhibitors.

    • According to The Texas Tribune, the NRA is “getting a free ride” for this event and will not pay the usual $410,000 rent for the space.

  • NRA annual meeting to feature Ted Nugent’s racist “spearchucker” gun line

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The 2018 National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Dallas, TX, will spotlight a gun line sponsored by NRA board member Ted Nugent, who branded the product his “American spearchucker series,” a reference to an obscure racial slur used to disparage Africans.

    The multiday meeting, which begins May 3, will feature exhibits in which manufacturers of guns, ammunition, firearm parts and accessories, and tactical gear can showcase their merchandise. Additionally, the meeting will feature several speaking events, including a May 4 “Leadership Forum” where President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will speak.

    Aagil Arms -- a “sister company of Tuff Zone and the official manufacurer (sic) of the Ted Nugent Signature Series upper assemblies” -- will be featured in the meeting’s exhibit hall. According to an image of the product's packaging Nugent posted on Facebook in December, the line is officially called “Ted Nugent’s American Spearchucker Series AR15-style Upper Kits.” An "upper," terminology for an upper receiver, is a firearm component that is used, along with other parts, by enthusiasts to assemble their own custom weapons.    

    A product ad posted on the annual meeting website includes an image of a Facebook post by Nugent that calls the series “Custom Ted Nugent zebra and red white & blue American spearchucker artwork”:

    Nugent is no stranger to using racial slurs. He has repeatedly used the N-word, called then-President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel” in 2014, and once defended apartheid in South Africa while calling African people “a different breed of man” who “still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands.” 

    Nugent on April 30 tweeted that he will “see you all in Dallas standing against tyranny.” He has caused controversy during past annual meetings for comments he has made, including his 2012 statement that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was re-elected, and his 2015 comment about shooting then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) during a speech and offer to “pilot” a boat that would take Obama to Kenya.

  • The NRA is running ads on Parkland conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel

    UPDATE: The NRA’s media operation, NRATV, is also running ads on Jones’ channel

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While many major brands are ensuring that their ads do not appear on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ YouTube channel, the National Rifle Association is continuing to advertise with Jones.

    CNN reported on March 3 that it had “discovered ads on InfoWars' channels from companies and organizations such as Nike (NKE), Acer, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Network, the Mormon Church, Moen, Expedia (EXPE), Alibaba (BABA), HomeAway, Mozilla, the NRA, Honey, Wix and ClassPass.” Many companies that were running ads on Jones’ YouTube channel told CNN that they terminated the ads after being made aware of them.

    The NRA, however, is continuing to run ads, like this one that appeared before a video of NRA board member Ted Nugent’s February 26 appearance on Jones’ show:

    Jones has pushed conspiracy theories about numerous mass shootings, including calling the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School “fake” and a “giant hoax.” Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, last month, Jones has waged a campaign against several student survivors who have spoken out about gun violence, claiming that the students are “Democratic Party operatives” and are “scripted.”

    Jones has become a vocal supporter of the NRA since the gun group’s release of a 2017 ad that critics say was an incitement to violence against critics of President Trump. Following the Parkland shooting, Jones invited Nugent on his show to make an NRA membership pitch. This past weekend, Jones visited Nugent at his house; he says he will broadcast footage of that interview this week.

    UPDATE:

    NRATV, the NRA’s 24/7 online media outlet, is also running ads on Jones' channel. This ad featuring NRATV commentator Dom Raso was observed on March 6:

  • NRA board member Ted Nugent pushes conspiracy theory that Parkland school shooting survivors are actors

    Nugent “liked” Facebook comment calling student David Hogg a “crisis actor”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that the Parkland school shooting survivors who are currently calling for gun regulation are “coached” actors.

    In a February 20 Facebook post, less than a week after the shooting, Nugent shared a February 19 Natural News article claiming “these kids were coached to repeat scripted lines, just like actors reading lines for a movie production.” The article claims that “It’s all scripted, in other words, to push a gun control narrative rooted in emotional reaction rather than constructive solutions" and includes the tags “false-flag” and “hoax.” The bulk of the article is a reprint of Lucian Wintrich’s post at The Gateway Pundit, which first started spreading the conspiracy theory.

    Nugent then “liked” a comment left below his article claiming that one of the students, David Hogg, “is a paid crisis actor” who “has been at multiple shootings as a 'survivor'.”

    Nugent promoted similar conspiracy theories after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, CT, claiming that no assault weapons were used in the elementary school shooting despite the fact that authorities confirmed the shooting was carried out with a Bushmaster AR-15 assault weapon.

    Following the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nugent appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show and backed his baseless theory that the massacre was “scripted by deep state Democrats.”

    As recently as February 2016, there were calls for Nugent to resign from the NRA board after he shared a Facebook image claiming prominent Jewish figures were the ones “really behind gun control.”

    UPDATE:

    The post no longer appears on Nugent’s Facebook page.

  • 8 ridiculous NRA defenses of the AR-15

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In the wake of yet another massacre carried out with an AR-15 assault weapon, here are eight ridiculous defenses of the murder machine from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a major recipient of donations from assault weapons makers:

    1. Banning assault weapons is like racial discrimination

    Discussing Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) bill to ban assault weapons following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, past NRA president and current NRA board member Marion Hammer said, “Banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again: the color of a gun, the way it looks. It's just bad politics.”

    2. The NRA put on demonstrations of the AR-15 that downplayed the weapon’s capabilities by highlighting how it makes smaller bullet holes than some other guns​

    In 2013, the NRA held two AR-15 demonstrations at the shooting range it has at its national headquarters, one for Fox News show Hannity and the other for its own media outlet, then called NRA News. Each demonstration dishonestly highlighted the small bullet hole the weapon makes compared to some other guns in order to to downplay the weapon’s lethality. In fact, the AR-15 inflicts grievous harm on human bodies, even in comparison to other commonly owned firearms.

    3. The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was carried out with handguns (it was carried out with an AR-15)

    Months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, NRA board member Ted Nugent cited a conspiracy theory surrounding the tragedy to claim that “no so-called assault weapon was used in the grisly murders of the children and teachers in Newton,” but that instead “NBC has reported the butcher used four handguns.” The day after the shooting NBC had reported that only handguns were recovered at the site, but corrected its reporting the same day. The weapon used in the attack was an AR-15 manufactured by NRA donor Bushmaster.

    4. Blaming AR-15 manufacturer Bushmaster for Sandy Hook is like “blaming Kleenex for the flu​"

    Then-NRA News commentator Natalie Foster made the claim in a 2014 video released by the NRA:

    5. If the Founding Fathers had foreseen the invention of the AR-15, they would have “fortified” the Second Amendment “in stone”

    Days after a gunman used an AR-15 to massacre churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, TX, (and weeks after a gunman used assault weapons to carry out a massacre in Las Vegas), the NRA released a video that encouraged people to buy more AR-15 weapons. NRATV commentator Dom Raso said in the video, “I guarantee if the Founding Fathers had known this gun would have been invented, they wouldn't have rewritten the Second Amendment -- they would've fortified it in stone. Because they knew the only way for us to stay free was by having whatever guns the bad guys have.”

    6. The AR-15 is “easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable” and more people should buy it as protection from terrorists

    The NRA released another video days after the Pulse nightclub shooting also narrated by Raso. The video made a number of arguments praising the abilities of the AR-15: “It’s easy to learn, and easy to use. It’s accurate, it’s reliable." All these characteristics also inadvertently explained how the Pulse gunman was able to kill and wound so many people in a short period of time:

    7. The AR-15 as a good defense against the government

    On June 15, 2017, one day after Rep. Steve. Scalise (R-LA) was shot and others were wounded in a mass shooting, then-NRATV commentator Bill Whittle said, “I personally think it is a mistake for people to say [the AR-15] is used for hunting, or it's used for target shooting. I have my AR-15 to kill people.” Whittle added, “I am not worried about a deer breaking into my house at 4 o’clock in the morning and coming through the window and maybe murdering me or raping my wife, or anything. I am not worried so much about a coalition of deer marching people into extermination camps.”

    He also added, “My weapons are here to defend me against my government.”

    (Whittle left NRATV in September 2017. He was recently uninvited to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for an Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate after his history of making racist comments was raised.)

    8. Regulating the AR-15 “is a war on women”

    During a discussion of assault weapons days after the Pulse massacre, Dana Loesch appeared on Fox News to claim proposals to regulate the AR-15 were “about disarming women” and were a “war on women.” Earlier that day the NRA had announced Loesch had been hired to be the group’s “Special Adviser on Women’s Policy.” She is now the NRA’s national spokesperson.

  • 23 reasons why the NRA is racist

    An NRA op-ed argues the gun group is being unfairly attacked as racist. But its actions speak for themselves.

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    In the October edition of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) magazine America’s 1st Freedom, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre takes on what he calls the “false notion” from the “gun-ban media” that “somehow the NRA is racist.”

    Outlets covering the NRA and race should consider these examples -- starting with LaPierre himself -- in evaluating his claims:

    1. After Hurricane Sandy struck New York City and other parts of the East Coast in 2013, LaPierre was criticized for writing an op-ed in which he falsely claimed that “looters ran wild in south Brooklyn” and fearmongered about “Latin American drug gangs.” Conservative commentator Joe Scarborough described the claims as “so laced with racial overtones.” Progressive commentator Touré pointed out that LaPierre “spoke of supposedly rampant crime and murder in some place he called South Brooklyn. … Put aside that no reporting bears that out. I live in Brooklyn, I have for a long time, and there is no place referred to as South Brooklyn, but I think it’s safe to say that when he says that, much of the country envisions a place clogged with black people.”

    2. During the NRA’s 2015 annual meeting, LaPierre referenced the end of the Obama administration and told the crowd, “Eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.” Reacting to the comment, Pulitzer-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote, “LaPierre traded his dog whistle for an air horn.”

    3. During a 2014 speech, LaPierre adopted conservative media’s racially charged claims about the (nonexistent) “knockout game” phenomenon -- in which black youths supposedly assault unsuspecting, mostly white, victims on the street for fun -- to hype gun ownership.

    4. Activists and some gun owners castigated the NRA for its feckless response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black, law-abiding gun owner, by a Minnesota police officer in 2016.

    5. Despite its purported hyperfocus on terrorism, the NRA’s news show was silent after a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a group of anti-racist demonstrators, killing activist Heather Heyer and wounding 19 others, during a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, VA, in August.

    6. NRATV, one of the NRA’s media outlets, recently hired conservative commentator Bill Whittle, who has a long track record of making race-baiting comments. Whittle has promoted discredited theories that posit black people are less innately intelligent than members of other races and claimed that African-Americans commit voter fraud on behalf of Democrats as a condition of ongoing slavery. Whittle also once said that people in inner cities are “unemployable -- unemployed and unemployable -- they’ve been on assistance their entire lives, they’ve never had to work before,” and that these people should get jobs because a job “beats the laziness” out of people and “disciplines” them into “civility.”

    7. While appearing on NRATV, Whittle claimed there is no “genuine black oppression as there was in the past” and that President Barack Obama “set race relations back 100 years in this country.”

    8. Another recent NRATV hire, Grant Stinchfield, who anchors the NRA’s “news” show, once wrote on social media concerning gun violence: “Blame minorities killing each other not law abiding conservatives.”

    9. Following Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, Chuck Holton, an NRATV correspondent who is a daily guest on the gun group’s programming, wrote on Twitter that the “party’s over” and it's time to scrub “Obama’s mocacchino stain off of America!” using a term for a chocolate coffee drink.

    10. In 2016, Holton claimed on an NRA program that white privilege is “just simply the culture that we have created, that our fathers and grandfathers have worked hard to create,” before saying that it would be nice if blacks joined whites in “respecting authority and taking responsibility for your own actions.”

    11. In July, Holton warned on NRATV about the prospect of Black Lives Matter members committing mass murder and rape against whites in the United States.

    12. Long-serving NRA board member Ted Nugent devoted an entire 2015 column at conspiracy website WorldNetDaily to praising the word “nigger,” including its use as a racial slur.

    13. In 2016, Nugent posted a racist meme on Facebook about a fake moving company called “2 niggers and a stolen truck.”

    14. Nugent attempted to smear Philando Castile on social media by promoting a false report that Castile was a suspect in an armed robbery implying Castile did not have “enuf brainmatter (sic)" to avoid being shot.

    15. Nugent responded to a critic on Facebook with a Spanish name by calling the man “beanochimp.”

    16. Amid controversy over Nugent’s labeling of murdered black teenager Trayvon Martin as a "dope smoking, racist gangsta wannabe,” Nugent made racist claims in several media interviews, including saying people should profile African-Americans in the same way members of a community might profile a breed of dog that was biting children, that African-Americans could solve “the black problem" if they were more honest and law-abiding, and that the African-American community has a "mindless tendency to violence" and an inability to "read or speak clearly."

    17. Nugent infamously called Obama a “subhuman mongrel” in 2014.

    18. The NRA did not publicly condemn or dispute any of Nugent’s comments, and he was re-elected for another term on its board in 2016.

    19. NRA News, the prior name for NRATV, attempted to rewrite the history surrounding a series of incidents after Hurricane Katrina in which white residents in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans shot at least 11 black people in racially motivated attacks.

    20. In August 2016, the NRA told its supporters to read a “laugh-out-loud funny” newsletter that was published by the late Jeff Cooper, a former NRA board member. Called “Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries,” the newsletter frequently defended slavery, often featured racial slurs, and compared black South Africans to orangutans.

    21. A leaked 2006 NRA graphic novel was filled with racial overtones including via images of “illegal alien” gang members included to promote gun ownership.

    22. In 1996, an NRA researcher attempted to blame race rather than gun availability for high rates of gun violence in the United States, leading then-Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to respond, "The NRA has consistently refused to admit the obvious: The number of guns on our streets increase the number of murders of police, children and others. Now they are going to a new extreme. To say it's not guns, but the genetics of race, is a tawdry and evil form of race-baiting."

    23. The NRA broke its records for election spending in 2016, giving more than $30 million in support of Donald Trump.