How Did NRA-TV Get Undone?

              Poor Dana Loesch. America’s home school queen and one of the country’s foremost practitioners of the art of armed, self-defense, all of a sudden finds herself unemployed. For that matter, she’ll be lining up for unemployment benefits with all the other media luminaries who have spent the last few years gracing the digital portals of NRA-TV, because NRA-TV is finished and dead.

              Of course you can watch some reruns any time you want and see Colion Noir prancing around some shooting range or Grant Stinchfield bemoaning the continued downward slide of America into a socialist mess. You can even find some old videos starring Oliver North pretending to kn ow something about guns. Remember him?

              Until all the sturm und drang broke out between the boys in Fairfax and their advertising agency, Ackerman-McQueen, I didn’t know that Dana wasn’t employed by the NRA.  The press release that came from Wayne LaPierre defined her role like this: “Dana Loesch, the conservative leader, online pioneer and nationally syndicated radio host, will serve as a major national spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre named Loesch as a Special Assistant to his office for Public Communication, with direct attributable authority on NRA matters.”

              Now this statement doesn’t actually say that her salary was being paid by the NRA. But it was obviously written to give that impression, okay?  And this impression, it turns out, was a lie. Because Dana and all the other talking heads on NRA-TV were employees of Ackerman-McQueen, which happens to be suing the NRA to recover the monies they need to compensate these employees for acting jobs which will now not get done.

              All of this raises an interesting question about the past relationship between the NRA and Ackerman-McQueen, namely, which organization was the dog and which was the tail. Did the video messaging reflect what the NRA leadership wanted its members to see and hear, or was the content of NRA-TV determined by what the folks at Ackerman-McQueen thought was the best way to sell the NRA?  The answer to this question isn’t just an issue of nuance because either the membership belongs to an organization which controls its own affairs, or the organization itself has become a subsidiary to an advertising agency who viewed America’s ‘first civil-rights organization’ as just another product to be marketed and sold.

              Either way, some of the information coming out from this imbroglio makes me begin to think that maybe, just maybe the boys in Fairfax may be hanging onto the ropes.  Last week I mentioned that monthly visits to the NRA-TV website had dropped from 370,000 in February to 210,000 in May, a decline in viewership of nearly 50 percent. But an even more ominous statistic is that the number of unique visitors to the video channel in January was only 49,000; in other words, NRA-TV hasn’t even been attracting one percent of the organization’s membership – a pretty pathetic state of affairs.

              The NRA has always presented itself as the only group out there which stands between law-abiding gun owners and the anti-gun hordes. And whenever the hordes put one of their own into the White House, the NRA ramps up its messaging to underscore the ‘threat’ to our 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ But that’s a pretty tough sell when, to everyone’s astonishment, the tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue turned out to be a guy who basically ran an entire national campaign on his love of guns. And when this guy turns around and invites Wayne-o to the White House for the Easter Egg hunt, it gets pretty hard to convince anyone that their guns are about to be taken away.

              It’s been more than forty years since the NRA stopped promoting sports shooting and  began pushing a more extreme messaging which became the staple content for NRA-TV. But maybe this  reflected the degree to which the NRA had become the tail wagged by a dog named Ackerman-McQueen. To quote Queen Elizabeth and Tony Montana: “Every dog has his day.”

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Can The NRA Get Back In Front Of The Gun Debate?

              I was going to take a week off and let some of our pro-gun friends contribute the rest of the content for this week, but a rant on ‘the failing’ NRA-TV gave me no choice but to respond in kind. I’m talking about a spiel by Cam Edwards who’s joined the parade marching against that Socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is attracting lots of attention from the alt-right attack-dogs because she’s using some of the same language about Trump that Sleazy Don uses against everyone else. After all, she had the unmitigated nerve to call Trump a racist. What could be more contemptible than that?

              But the problem facing the NRA isn’t going to just go away just because the boys in Fairfax can serve their membership some red meat by saying something nasty or stupid or both about AOC. The problem is much more fundamental, namely, the fact that for the first time since America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ began promoting itself as a true-blue defender of everything that’s great about America (and guns), there’s serious competition from the other side.

              The last time a gun bill became law at the federal level was 1994 – the Brady bill along with the assault weapons ban. But these bills had two things going for them which don’t exist right now: (1). Control of both houses of Congress by the blue team; and (2). a liberal Southerner in the White House who could grease the legislative wheels with federal cash. Which happens to have been the same political alignment which produced the previous national gun law in 1968.

On the other hand, and it’s a big other, both in 1968 and again in 1994 you didn’t have the upsurge of grass-roots energy on the gun-control side of the ledger that we are seeing right now. And if Gun-nut Nation wants to continue promoting the idea that the noise being made by the other side since Parkland is nothing more than money being secretly funneled into a gun-control campaign by Socialists like Bloomberg and Soros, they can go right ahead. They happen to be wrong. Dead wrong.

              The problem facing Gun-nut Nation is that a majority of Americans have always supported gun ownership by law-abiding citizens, but the percentage of Americans who hold negative views of the NRA has not been as high as they are right now since 1995. That year, the annual Gallup gun poll found that 51% of respondents held ‘mostly’ or ‘very’ unfavorable views of the boys from Fairfax, last year the percentage was 42%, but the number was only 34% in 2005.

              What seems to be clear is that, for the very first time, lots of Americans are now thinking about the gun issue and not thinking about it in a very positive way. I don’t notice, for example, that the boys in Fairfax have yet figured out how to deal with yesterday’s Senate hearing on ‘red flag’ laws, at which time two of Gun-nut Nation’s most stalwart supporters, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said all the correct things about gun violence and even suggested that maybe, just maybe, a legislative response might be coming down the road although nobody’s holding their breath. On the other hand, if the Senate in 2020 goes the way the House went in 2018….

              So what does the NRA do? They have no choice but to try and stick more fingers into the 2nd-Amendment ‘freedom’ dike before it springs some real serious leaks. And the way you do that is to double-down on  the red-meat messaging which your base wants to hear. Which is why Cam Edwards filled his anti-ACO spiel with just one lie after another, in particular alleging that her support for the New Zealand buyback means she’ll vote in favor of the confiscation of every, single privately-owned gun in the U.S. of A.

              I’m not saying that the NRA is the Emperor without clothes. What I am saying is that this particular Emperor may be riding the wrong horse, because the NRA  horse is no longer the only one in the race.