The NRA has attacked the teenage survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. They’ve also been waging a forceful campaign for stricter gun control legislation and they’re not backing down. The NRA is trying to shift the debate away from gun control by attacking the media, including calling out specific cable news hosts. One father of a Parkland victim has had enough.
Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg who was killed in the Marjoy Douglas High School shooting in February, delivered a scathing indictment of the NRA recently, comparing the gun lobby to a terrorist organization:
Father of Parkland victim slams NRA videos:— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 7, 2018
"If this was put out by a terrorist organization, we would be raising the terror threat level in this country. Why are we letting this lobby have anything to do with DC? I don't understand it!" https://t.co/4hcz6lRFLO pic.twitter.com/WgzzJA8CXI
In his moving appeal, Gutenberg pleaded,
”She had an hourglass at the end of her talking she turned it over and she said, ‘Your time’s up.’ A few days before this video she had another video called ‘A Call To Arms.’ I ask you a question: If this was put out by a terrorist organization, we would be raising the terror threat level in this country. Why are we letting this lobby have anything to do with DC? I don’t understand it!”
The video in questions come from NRATV, the streaming service carried by iTunes, Amazon, and Google Chromecast and features NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch holding an hourglass and calling out specific MSNBC personalities, telling them their “time is up”:
“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…Your Time is running out. The clock starts now."— NRATV (@NRATV) March 4, 2018
–@DLoesch #Oscars90 pic.twitter.com/SDVjeTxyfB
The unhinged monologue she delivers says,
“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 matters, 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.”
Republican Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough, who was named in the video along with his fiancée and co-host Mika Brzezinski, angrily denounced the NRA’s escalation of the culture war:
I ask any corporations still involved with the NRA to google NRATV ads and watch their threats against my fiancé and others. Then watch their ads threatening others and inciting violence. And then ask why the hell they would be associated with a group encouraging violence.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 6, 2018
And I ask Wayne LaPierre why he is threatening violence against my fiancé saying “her time is running out?” Wayne, you know that language increases violent threats against her. So why, Wayne?— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 6, 2018
The Parkland students made their own video mocking Loesch and promoting the March 24th March For Our Lives:
"To every spokeswoman with an hourglass who uses free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents...Your Time is running out. The clock starts now."— Sarah Chadwick// #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) March 6, 2018
-@sarahchad_ #MarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/k29FB2vHPI
The NRA is in a bit of a bind right now. It’s losing corporate partners and financing left and right and—perhaps most importantly—no longer has their favorite “gun-grabbing” bogeyman Barack Obama as a foil to stoke the fears of their members. In order to keep their members in a pique of paranoid anger, keep donations flowing, and to shift the conversation as far away from gun control as possible. That means pivoting to other right-wing culture war topics like NFL protests of police violence that have nothing to do with guns or gun control.
Mass shootings used to be great for gun manufacturers’ bottom line, an earnings report from American Outdoor Brands (AOB), the parent company of Smith & Wesson that makes assault-style rifles even said as much:
What might be most distressing to the gun lobby is how the latest mass shooting failed to yield a spike in gun sales as the some of the Obama-era massacres did.
It’s a ghoulish trend, but it’s likely driven by which party is in power, and deep down gun enthusiasts know that their assault rifles as safe as long as Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are writing (or not writing) the gun laws.
Rather than respond to Guttenberg or the Parkland survivors, the NRA decided to pretend their feud was with Rosie O’Donnell and spent the day attacking her on Twitter while comparing Democrats to terrorists.
"The leader of a state-sponsor of terror wants us to disarm because it makes us all weak...So Iran's Supreme Ruler took talking points directly from @NancyPelosi…This is an evil, brutal man who is telling liberals to keep up the fight against the #NRA." —@stinchfield1776 pic.twitter.com/Kv51K5vWb1— NRATV (@NRATV) March 7, 2018
The NRA shows no sign of stopping its shift towards a new media company fueled by the right-wing rage it stokes. But the problem with constantly tossing red meat to a rabid base is that you can wind up with blood on your hands.