The NRA used advertising agency Ackerman McQueen to transform itself from a pro-gun group into a right-wing media toilet, then fired the firm when it woke up to the consequences of spokespeople issuing shameless calls for violence against political enemies and the media in its name. Now a lawsuit is exposing all the dirty laundry: the NRA claims its executives found Dana Loesch's NRA TV antics "distasteful and racist", that they were lied to by Ackerman McQueen about traffic, and eventually realized they were being looted for "tens of millions of dollars."
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... NRA officials believed the short-lived TV outlet—which featured shows from right-wing stars like Dana Loesch and Dan Bongino—“strayed from the Second Amendment to themes which some NRA leaders found distasteful and racist.” As an example of a “damaging” segment, the NRA filing alludes to an instance on Loesch’s show Relentless, in which an on-air graph featured a picture of kid’s cartoon character Thomas the Tank Engine wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. “Attempts by the NRA to ‘rein in’ AMc and its messaging were met with responses from AMc that ranged from evasive to hostile,” the gun lobby further alleges.
Molly Osberg and Dhruv Mehrotra at Splinter have done some great work tracing at least 150 Wikipedia edits back to IP addresses at the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. Like the @CongressEdits Twitter account, which tracked edits from IP addresses on Capitol Hill, it's difficult to say for certain whether these were intentionally duplicitous acts under order from above, or just some bored administrative office worker with a comprehensive knowledge of crystal skulls and stinkbugs.
Given the NRA's long history with the savvy PR firm Ackerman McQueen, however, it's hard to chalk up the selectively-edited articles on Holocaust Denialism, George Zimmerman, or the history of "stand your ground" laws as mere coincidence.
In 2013, a few days after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges after shooting the unarmed Trayvon Martin, and as “stand your ground” laws made national news, a Wikipedia user named SkippG created the first Wikipedia page for Brown v. United States, the 1921 case that set a precedent for Americans with no “duty to retreat” to legally kill someone in “self-defense.” SkippG also attempted some revisions to Marion Hammer’s page, insisting so thoroughly on their edits despite the protests of other editors that their account was later frozen. Coincidentally, a man named Skipp Galythly has been an assistant general counsel at the NRA for 20 years.
It's too bad Splinter will be shutting down soon, the latest casualty of the various clueless finance bros who scooped up the former Gawker Media sites after the company's evisceration by Peter Thiel. Read the rest
Sandy Hook Promise, an organization dedicated to protecting children from gun violence released a truly chilling Back to School PSA earlier today. Titled "Back to School Essentials," it's a graphic look at the ways children are expected to defend themselves at school because their government refuses to do anything to protect them.
Latest Sandy Hook Promise PSA gives nightmarish look at school shootings (USA Today) (Photo: YouTube screenshot) Read the rest
After two shootings in their El Paso, Texas and Southaven, Mississippi stores, the CEO of Walmart has announced major changes to the chain's gun sale policies, including no longer selling ammunition for assault-style weapons and discontinuing the sale of handgun ammunition. Read the rest
The NRA's internal finances have come under close scrutiny this past year, after Oliver North launched a failed coup intended to unseat longtime CEO/cult leader Wayne LaPierre, triggering so much internal strife that the organization's dirtiest laundry ended up getting aired in retaliatory strategic leaks by each camp.
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Wayne LaPierre, the embattled leader of the National Russian Asso— whups, typo there, the National Rifle Association, is opposed to new so-called 'red flag' gun restrictions being proposed by lawmakers after back-to-back gun massacres in Dayton and El Paso this week. Read the rest
The attorney general for Washington, DC has issued subpoenas for the National Rifle Association and its charitable foundation. The gun rights organization is in the sights of nonprofit regulators, and under fire separately for connections to convicted Russian military intelligence agent Maria Butina -- not to mention the NRA's own internal power struggles, interpersonal petty drama, and financial ruin. Read the rest
The NRA announced that it is firing its longtime advertising firm and spokesperson Dana Loesch. It's the latest episode in the grifter civil war that's engulfed the gun lobby group.
The N.R.A. on Tuesday also severed all business with its estranged advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, which operates NRATV, the N.R.A.’s live broadcasting media arm, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The New York Times.
While NRATV may continue to air past content, its live broadcasting will end and its on-air personalities — Ackerman employees including Dana Loesch — will no longer be the public faces of the N.R.A. It remained unclear whether the N.R.A. might try to hire some of those employees, but there was no indication it was negotiating to do so.
Earlier reports claimed that Ackerman McQueen had effectively overtaken the NRA, with media provocateurs such as Loesch more prominent than its official leadership despite not even being employed by the organization. Ackerman transformed the lobby group into a highly-optimized grift on gun nuts, who eventually decided they'd had enough of the bullshit.
The Times cites one episode in particular as a wake-up call to NRA leaders about where they'd been led: NRATV and Loesch's portrayal of Thomas the Tank Engine in Klan hoods:
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Despite all they've achieved for Trump and Putin, it really does seem like The End is beginning for the National Russian Association. Read the rest
Despite heavy backing from the big gun manufacturers, the NRA is absolutely dependent on small-money donations from ammosexuals and musketfuckers across America, who donate to fund the political operations of the nonprofit.
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While speaking at the National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis, Indiana just now, President Donald Trump spoke to pro-weapons advocates about a failed coup against him. Read the rest
As Donald Trump spoke at today's National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis, someone threw an object on stage.
Also at the NRA convention today, Trump went on a bananas rant about a failed “coup,” and told the audience at the NRA’s “leadership forum” he will “never, ever let [them] down.”
Oh. And Trump also announced the U.S. is withdrawing from a global arms treaty. Read the rest
NRA training instructor and program coordinator Mark Richardson is a veteran of the organization, having worked there since at least 2006; in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting, Richardson used his NRA email account to correspond with Infowars correspondent Wolfgang Halbig, a Sandy Hook denier who has pursued a career of harassing the grieving parents of the children murdered there and accusing them of being "crisis actors" in a "false flag operation" whose children were either imaginary or unharmed.
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The admitted agent for Russia was connected with the NRA and pro-Trump U.S. political groups.
Australian Al Jazeera reporter Rodger Muller infiltrated a meeting between the US National Rifle Association and Australia's far-right/white nationalist party One Nation, where the NRA gave party bosses advice on how to reverse Australia's tough anti-automatic/semi-automatic gun laws (passed after a 1996 mass shooting that killed 35 people) and what to do to deflect public calls for gun control when the next mass shooting happens.
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While mass-shootings are the most visible and spectacular consequence of America's love affair with guns, the person most likely to shoot you is you (either accidentally or deliberately), with a loved one or a friend (again, either accidentally or deliberately) close behind.
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Another story came out this week about gun owners letting their NRA memberships lapse.
My gun-owning family — admittedly more my husband than me — falls into that middle ground. He chose to drop his NRA affiliation and his favored gun range when its mandatory NRA membership tipped from practical tips into political advocacy.
Apparently, he is not alone.
The National Rifle Association of America reported $98 million in contributions in 2017, down from nearly $125 million in 2016, according to The Daily Beast, even though it has in President Donald Trump a champion it helped elect. The NRA’s more than $128 million in dues last year was a drop from the $163 million it took in the year before, the report said.
Moreover, there's growing dismay at the decadent lifestyles of NRA leaders amid belt-tightening and layoffs.
The National Rifle Association paid more than $100,000 in personal expenses for an official who is now leading an austerity campaign within the organization, new tax filings show.
The official, Josh Powell, is the NRA’s executive director for general operations. The Trace and Mother Jones reported two weeks ago that Powell, along with the NRA’s new treasurer, Craig Spray, is seeking to impose steep cuts to the gun group’s budget. The effort is so stringent that the NRA did away with free coffee and water coolers in its Fairfax headquarters, causing consternation among NRA staffers.
Even conservative gun owners are getting tired of the NRA's political bullshit and lavish expenses, all paid for on their dime. Read the rest