By Jeff Knox : Opinion
Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- In her, now controversial, recruiting ad for the NRA, Dana Loesch talks about a shadowy and ubiquitous “they” using “their” media and influence to mislead, misdirect, foster dissent, generate accusations of racism, sexism, and xenophobia, and foment protests that often include violence.
She concludes the ad by stating that the only way to combat the “violence of lies” is with the “clinched fist of truth.”
The response to the ad, which debuted in April, but wasn't picked up by the media until late June, was a textbook example of exactly what Loesch talked about in the ad – and of course, the irony of that has been completely overlooked by traditional media.
The ad was produced in April as violent protesters were attacking invited, conservative speakers and those who came to hear them, on college campuses around the country, and brawling with supporters of free speech in the streets of Berkeley, California. It painted a picture of lying media and academia distorting reality to gin up anger and protests. It denounced the violence that accompanied some of those protests, and called for viewers to join the NRA to combat the lies and distortions with truth.
But that's not how the ad was depicted in the media. Instead it was reported as a racist, xenophobic rant calling for NRA members to arm-up and go to war with “liberals.” The brief scenes of violent and disruptive protests used in the ad, were dissected and the one brief scene depicting African Americans verbally clashing with police was freeze-framed, and held up as proof that the ad was an attack on people of color. The use of the phrase “clinched fist of truth” was presented as a call to arms and violence against liberal politicians and activists. One U.S. senator suggested that NRA was calling on its members to “shoot us.” And all of these lies and distortions were flooding the media just days after a “progressive” Bernie Sanders supporter with a hit-list of Republicans in his pocket, had shot-up a park where Republican lawmakers were playing baseball.
The organizers of the Women's March that flooded D.C. the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated, turned their ire toward the NRA, and announced that they would mount a protest at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, then march 17 or so miles to the Department of Justice building in D.C., disrupting traffic, and demanding an apology for all of the things that Loesch and NRA never actually said or implied in the short commercial.
Early reports indicate that the march was pretty much a bust, with only a small number of people from a wide variety of “progressive” and gun control groups showing up, along with a small contingent of NRA-supporting, counter-protesters, all peacefully sweating in the sweltering Virginia heat and humidity.
NRA and Loesch responded with a series of videos and media appearances defending the original ad, but media continues to mischaracterize the ad, and NRA's responses.
The timing of the medias reporting on the NRA ad, suggests that it was probably dug up by a reporter combing through NRA content looking for comments about the Philando Castile shooting. NRA has been widely criticized for not leaping to Castile's defense, with many accusations that they only failed to do so because Castile happened to be African American. As I've pointed out before, that's a bogus claim, as NRA has a long and consistent record of steering clear of criminal cases, particularly those involving police shootings. Castile's race had nothing to do with NRA's cautious and minimal comments on the case.
I do think that the Loesch ad was a strategic mistake. It wasn't an ad about gun rights or defending the Second Amendment, but rather a political statement, focused on the “left v. right” divide that has gotten so heated, especially over the past year or so. That's not the territory of the NRA, and it is foolish for them to be wading into that broader political arena. Unfortunately, that is a direction some at NRA have chosen to go, building alliances with “conservative” causes, and denouncing “liberal” ones.
While it is Democrats and “progressives” who drew out the battle lines, making gun control a key aspect of their platform and broader agenda, it is a mistake for NRA to be sucked into this sort of sweeping “left v. right” activism. It alienates potential allies, and serves only to bolster and fire-up an already overheated base. They should let other groups deal with issues of political philosophy, the mission of the NRA is to support the safe and responsible exercise of the right to arms. This tack is particularly surprising in light of the fact that Wayne LaPierre himself got his start in Washington politics as a legislative aid to Democrat politicians. He was hired by NRA in large part due to his close ties with Democrats and his ability to work with them to bolster support for rights legislation on both sides of the aisle. The rights movement needs to make inroads into the “left,” and intentionally vilifying and alienating those potential allies is just foolish.
My personal views aside, the elephant in the room is the obvious irony of the “left” taking this NRA ad, and doing exactly what Dana Loesch accused them of doing in the ad.
I'm not holding my breath waiting for the special CNN exposé on this phenomenon though.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.