National Rifle Association

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  • Here is the NRA's latest in a laundry list of attacks against the First Amendment

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association’s broadcast platform NRATV has launched its latest attack against freedom of the press, this time targeting The Washington Post, calling the newspaper a “fake news outlet” and claiming it is where “journalism dies.”

    On July 11, the Post published an article calling an NRATV video about political unrest in the U.S. “dark.” The article noted that the video condemned “Democratic politicians, the media and activists as the catalysts for political upheaval” in this country, “with one glaring omission: firearms.” According to the article, the video focused on “political discussions” around public safety during civil unrest, “with less clear connections to Second Amendment rights.”

    On July 17, NRATV released a response video featuring NRATV host Grant Stinchfield, who called out the Post reporter by name and slammed him for “tell[ing] us we can’t have an opinion unless it’s about guns.”

    The video also accused the Post of “spreading lies about those who disagree with their radical agenda” and said the newspaper is pushing “organized anarchy” that is “destroying our country.” Stinchfield went on to claim, “You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm.”

    Less than one day after the video’s release, The New York Times’ Max Fisher tweeted that the video is “edging right up to the line of endorsing violence against journalists,” while HuffPost called it “disturbing.”

    Despite the mounting criticism, Stinchfield doubled down on his video during the noon edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield on July 18, claiming the newspaper uses its “keyboards as weapons of destruction”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD: The Washington Post is out of line. They claim to uphold the standards of journalism when, in fact, they use their keyboards as weapons of destruction as they try to tear apart the Trump administration in an effort not just to destroy him, but to destroy America, and it is wrong.

    This video is just the latest in a growing number of attacks the NRA has launched against both the press and freedom of the press since Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president and was ultimately elected. During an October 26, 2016, broadcast, Stinchfield characterized dissent against Trump as an “assault against … the Constitution.” A month later, during a November 29 broadcast, Stinchfield called “mainstream” media “dishonest and downright dirty,” suggesting that it is “anti-patriotic” to report critically on Trump and his transition team, and said that the media instead “needs to get on board.”

    After The New York Times ran an advertisement during this year’s Oscar awards about the importance of journalism, the NRA fired back with its own 75-second ad claiming Americans have “stopped looking to The New York Times for the truth.” And in April, the NRA announced a “series of messages” against the newspaper, which the organization claims has “gone on the offensive to take away your liberties.”

  • A timeline of the NRA's divisive actions ahead of Friday’s Women's March

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Following widespread criticism over an inflammatory video from the National Rifle Association that called on supporters to use the “clenched fist of truth” against critics of President Donald Trump, the organization has repeatedly doubled down and issued more statements that falsely conflate dissent against Trump with violence. The organization proceeded to lob smears against Women’s March participants and co-founders after they announced an 18-mile march to protest the NRA on July 14.

  • NRA’s news outlet smears Women's March as violent by equating it with a completely different and unrelated event

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The National Rifle Association’s news outlet, NRATV, attempted to smear the Women’s March in Washington as “certainly not peaceful” by conflating it with an entirely different event from another day.

    While discussing the upcoming July 14 Women’s March on the NRA, guest host and NRATV commentator Bill Whittle said these “so-called peaceful left-wing marches” are “not exactly as they’re advertised” said and that he was hosting NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton to talk about “a story about a woman's march.”

    Holton then discussed people who damaged property in Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day as the NRATV feed played footage of windows being broken on January 20. According to CBS News, 217 protesters were arrested and six police officers received minor injuries.

    But the Women’s March, an entirely different event that took place on January 21, made headlines because it was peaceful and there were “exactly zero arrests” that day.

    From the July 7 edition of the NRATV’s hourly updates: 

    BILL WHITTLE (GUEST HOST): Chuck, you’re probably wondering why we’d bring a tough guy like you into a story about a woman's march, but what I find very interesting is that you have in fact been on some of these so-called peaceful left-wing marches and they’re not exactly as they’re advertised, are they?

    CHUCK HOLTON: Well, they’re certainly not peaceful. And they’re certainly not even protests. What they are is sort of temper tantrums by spoiled children, is the best way I can describe them. And when I was at the Inauguration Day protest in Washington, D.C., this is the thing that really struck me is that these people have no sense of irony. They have -- they don’t get that here they are protesting fascism and they’re using fascist tactics. When they were going around breaking windows and setting cars on fire, and then the police came and did what police do when you break windows and set cars on fire. That is start arresting people. They started chanting, “This is what a police state looks like.” Over and over again. “This is what a police state looks like.” And I kept thinking, no, this is what it looks like when you act like an idiot. This is not what a police state looks like, this is what it looks like when you burn cars and break windows. 

  • NRA spokesperson "proud" of controversial NRA ad that smeared anti-Trump resistance movement

    NRA’s Dana Loesch on video that conflated dissent against Trump with violence: “It’s a fantastic ad”

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch doubled down on her earlier video that characterized dissent against President Donald Trump as “the violence of lies” that needed to be countered with the “clenched fist of truth.” Loesch said she was “proud” of the video and “endorse[d]” it “personally.”

    In the ad, which was originally posted on the YouTube page of NRA’s news outlet NRATV in April 2017, Loesch claimed that in their opposition to Trump, left-wing Americans “scream racism, and sexism, and xenophobia, and homophobia, [and] bully and terrorize the law-abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.” She went on to say the only way to save “our country and our freedom” is with “the clenched fist of truth.”

    The video drew widespread criticism after NRATV reposted it on its Facebook page on June 28. In a June 29 article, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp called the video “chilling” and said it “comes this close to calling for a civil war against liberals.” The same day, ThinkProgress’ Aaron Rupar wrote a piece saying the video “stops just short of calling for violence against … progressives.”

    During the noon edition of NRATV’s program Stinchfield, which provides live updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, Loesch, who is also an NRATV commentator, doubled down on the spot, calling it a “fantastic ad” that “holds up a mirror to the violent aspects of the left.” Loesch denied that she was inciting violence in the ad, saying that she meant “meeting that violence with simple truth and simple peaceful ideas”: 

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Dana, this video is like two and a half months old. I’m glad it's getting attention, it got some attention before. More people to watch it, the better in my book.

    DANA LOESCH: Absolutely, and Grant, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, I am proud of this ad and I endorse personally the message of this ad. It’s a fantastic ad and it holds up a mirror to the violent aspects of the left. And, Grant, we have seen this time and time again. We saw this violence in Chicago during the campaign for the general election. We saw this violence in the streets of Washington, D.C., during the inauguration -- where there were not just a few, mind you, but a number of a very far leftists who thought that breaking store windows, arson, property damage, physical assault, setting fires in the middle of the street, et cetera, et cetera -- that these were all forms of protected speech and that they were generally acceptable forms of dissent to a fair election. And then of course, Grant, we have seen time and time again on college campuses, individuals react so physically, hostilely to a simple difference of opinion. And so they set fire on their college campuses and once again we see arson, and we see property destruction, and we see physical assault over and over again. I know, Grant, that I don't have to remind you or anyone else of what happened sadly just two weeks ago when a leftist went to a ballfield with a list of Republican congressmen and decided to open fire on GOP congressional members because they were simply Republicans. Now with this ad, Grant, when I say the clenched fists of truth, I mean the clenched fists of truth. And this is where I get the inspiration for that line. Everybody knows what this is, right? Everybody can recognize this? It’s the symbol of the resistance movement. It’s the symbol of the movement that by and large has sanctioned the violence of which I speak. It has sanctioned the arson, and the property destruction, and it has sanctioned the physical assault. So, I didn’t say meet fist with fist. And I didn’t even mention anywhere in this ad to go and purchase a firearm. I specifically, Grant, said clenched fist, not of physical altercation like they promote, but of truth. Meeting in the battleground of ideas, meeting that violence with simple truth and simple, peaceful ideas. That is what we have always been about, and even in the face of continued aggression and violence and destruction from the left, that is what we will continue to be about. 

  • NRATV calls London attack on Muslims a "maybe attack"

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Hours after police called an attack on pedestrians outside a Finsbury Park mosque in north London an act of terrorism, the National Rifle Association’s news outlet, NRATV, attempted to cast doubt on that determination. During the 10 am edition of his June 19 show, host Grant Stinchfield claimed that “something just seems odd” about the attack and referred to the violent incident as a “maybe attack.” London Metropolitan Police declared that the attack was an act of terrorism eight minutes after a 48 year-old-man drove a van into a crowd of people outside a mosque, killing one and injuring ten. Despite this, Stinchfield said that he would “like to get more information about what really happened there.” From the June 19 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): I was going to first ask you about the maybe attack in London, where again we had a van drive through folks it appears, in front of a mosque. What do you make of early this morning's events?

    DAN PERKINS: Well it's interesting, it’s 180 degrees from the last one. This attack was civilians on the Muslims. They ran into, right outside of a mosque as people were coming out from the worship services for Ramadan. And the guy was shouting, basically he was saying, "it's our turn, this is for the people [that] you killed earlier.” So he was specifically out after Muslims, not after British citizens, per say. But in retaliation for the recent attacks in London. One guy decided he was going to do something about it, and he ran his van, he killed one person and injured a bunch of others. But it was at a mosque in London.

    STINCHFIELD: Alright, so we see an escalating number of attacks, as that is still under investigation. And I would like to get more information about what really happened there, as it’s still very early in this investigation. But something just seems odd about the whole thing to me.

    Immediately after two previous attacks in London, in March and in June, Stinchfield used the violent events to advocate for increased gun ownership both in the U.S. and in the U.K. -- going so far as to calling unarmed victims “sheep.”

  • The NRA's "inappropriate" response to the congressional baseball shooting

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    The National Rifle Association hypocritically used its news outlet to repeatedly assign collective blame to the "left" for a shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) critically wounded. When former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, the NRA was largely silent, claiming, “At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate.”

    On June 14, a 66-year-old gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice and shot five, including Scalise. The attacker, later identified as James Hodgkinson, was shot at the scene by U.S. Capitol Police and later died from his injuries. A Capitol Hill staffer, a man who helps organize the baseball practice, and two police officers were also shot.

    Based on his Facebook profile, Hodgkinson was an avid Bernie Sanders supporter with a hatred of conservatives and President Donald Trump. His numerous posts included one on March 22 in which he called Trump a “traitor” who had “Destroyed our Democracy,” adding, “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.,” according to CNN. In a February post, he called Republicans “the Taliban of the USA.”

    Sanders condemned the shooting, saying, “I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be — violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

    Just hours after the shooting, during the 10 a.m. edition NRATV’s program Stinchfield, which provides live news updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, host Grant Stinchfield said, “There is an atmosphere of violence being pushed across America by the left” that “motivates unstable people.” During the 1 p.m. update, Stinchfield said the “violent rhetoric being pushed by the left-wing elitists amounts to political terrorism” and claimed that this “motivates unstable people to do … unspeakable things.”

    The next day, Stinchfield jumped at the chance, during the 9 a.m. edition of the program, to partially blame “those on the left” and the “violent atmosphere” they have created “against conservatives” for the shooting. While he conceded that “the shooter has accountability in this,” Stinchfield claimed, “There is culpability on those on the left that push this violent atmosphere against conservatives”:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Look, I want everyone to know that certainly the shooter has accountability in this. He gets the ultimate responsibility for his actions. But when you are unstable, when you are deranged, it only takes a little bit to provoke you to do something. There is culpability for those on the left that push this violent atmosphere against conservatives, against people that don’t believe in what they do. And that’s what’s got to stop.

    On June 15, Breitbart columnist AWR Hawkins wrote a piece for NRA’s magazine, America’s 1st Freedom, outlining how “the left incites violence.” Hawkins wrote that Democrats “push protests past the limit of decency” and that their “goal is to divide the country,” noting that “such division … grows into hatred that can erupt into the kind of violence” that took place in Alexandria:

    Trump haters push protests past the limit of decency, with media fanning the hateful flames. People like Kathy Griffin and those who produce New York Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park series, whose goal is to divide the country, then use the division to their political benefit. Such division births animosity, which grows into hatred that can erupt into the kind of violence we saw when 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on the GOP lawmakers.

    [...]

    The left has created a climate in which violence is imminent; the divisions they foster and maintain to be elected to office—or to preserve their Hollywood and media fiefdoms—are coming back to haunt us in real time. Shame on them for exploiting the very violence their ideology births; for seeking to spin a heinous crime into another gun control law.

  • NRATV host suggests Kim Kardashian West's "PTSD" from robbery at gunpoint makes her too mentally ill to own gun

    NRATV’s Colion Noir deleted the video shortly after posting it

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    In a video posted to his personal YouTube page, NRATV host Colion Noir attacked Kim Kardashian West’s support for National Gun Violence Awareness Day by baselessly claiming she has “several mental illnesses” including "PTSD."

    Noir’s video was a direct response to an open letter Kardashian West posted on her website on June 2 in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. In her letter, Kardashian West pledged to wear “orange to show my support for stricter gun control laws” and expressed her disbelief that President Donald Trump signed a bill “revoking a regulation … that would have added 75,000 names of people with registered mental illnesses to a national background check database.” In February, Trump repealed a Social Security Administration (SSA) regulation that barred approximately 75,000 beneficiaries who had been adjudicated as having severe mental illness from owning guns. The National Rifle Association (NRA) championed the legislation with the false claim the SSA regulation prohibited gun ownership for people who merely need help with their finances. 

    Kardashian West closed her letter by reiterating that she is not against gun ownership entirely, adding that she understands the need for self-protection after she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris. 

    Noir hosts a program on NRATV, the NRA's news outlet, and also serves as a commentator for the gun organization. He frequently offers inflammatory commentary on the gun violence issue, including once telling the parents of the victims of a high-profile shooting to not “become so emotional” in response to the tragedy.

    In his June 9 video, Noir called Kardashian West’s letter “disgustingly elitist, narcissistic, misleading, [and] flaming hot cheeto garbage." He went on to slam Kardashian West’s outrage at Trump’s decision to revoke the Obama-era regulation by repeating NRA's false claim that the regulation barred gun ownership for people who "simply need help with their personal finances," and claimed she has “several mental illnesses,” including “PTSD” after being robbed at gunpoint. Noir rhetorically asked Kardashian West how she would like her name added to the list of people who cannot own guns:

    COLION NOIR (HOST): In her unquenchable lust for attention, Kim Kardashian led the charge for Everytown [for Gun Safety] by releasing an open letter begging for more gun control. Kim, I don’t have a problem with you having an opinion on guns. It's a free country. If you want to fetishize gun violence awareness by posting a half-naked video of yourself in an orange sweatshirt, more power to you, boo boo. ... But I have to call you out on this disgustingly elitist, narcissistic, misleading, flaming hot cheeto garbage of an open letter you wrote. I have to admit, you’re the best spokesperson for this issue because you have a massive audience of mindless, superficial drones at your beck and call. But you’re also the worst spokesperson because your knowledge on the issue doesn’t go beyond “like, guns are bad, OK?” And you have a massive audience of mindless, superficial drones at your beck and call.

    [...]

    NOIR: Kim, let’s be real. You have a book of selfies. You are the epitome of a narcissist, which, last I checked, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness. Not to mention your self-admitted dealings with anxiety and the PTSD you suffered from being robbed at gunpoint. My dear, you have several mental illnesses. So should we make your name number 75,001 of people who should not be allowed to own guns? Then again, you are an elitist of the highest order, so I’m sure you’d consider yourself an exception.

    [...]

    NOIR: Do you see now how egregiously moronic your open letter makes you look?

    Noir deleted the video shortly after it was posted, but a copy was saved by Media Matters.

    Kardashian West reportedly sought counseling to deal with the traumatic aftermath of being robbed at gunpoint last year, but she never said that she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The federal prohibition on gun ownership -- which the SSA regulation comported to -- requires an individual be “adjudicated as” having severe mental illness or to have been “committed to any mental institution.” Noir offered no evidence that Kardashian West meets those criteria.

    This isn’t the first time NRA has gone after Kardashian West. On October 3, after Kardashian West -- who has previously called for Congress to take action on gun violence -- was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, the NRA mocked her on social media. The next day, the organization called her an “anti-gun zealot” in a write-up of the crime in its magazine America’s First Freedom. NRATV host Cam Edwards has also accused Kardashian West of hypocrisy, saying that she “get rid of her armed security” if she’s going to advocate for gun safety laws.