Two days after the deadliest mass gunfire in US history, the arms lobby remains completely silent, but in recent months it has set fire to social media with very aggressive videos against those pushing for greater controls even by the standards of the organization.
The guns lobyists, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been remained silent after the massacre of 59 people on Sunday in Las Vegas, which is a common tactic every time there a massive impact shooting in the US.
But before the biggest such event in American history , the NRA was calling for confrontation against its critics and advocates for arms sales with a belligerence similar to that of President Donald Trump. The group’s latest ads have become incendiary, starring, among others, Dana Loesch, the group’s new spokeswoman, a popular conservative commentator.
In a June announcement, Loesch called for “saving the country” while images of the New York Times building, Hollywood, the Capitol, alleged violent left-wing protesters and a wounded Trump supporter were superimposed .
Here is the full transcript of the ad.
“They use their media to murder the real news, they use their schools to teach their children that their president is another Hitler, they use their movie stars and singers and prize shows to repeat their narrative over and over.”
“And they use their president to support the resistance, everything to make them march, make them protest, make them shout racism and machismo and xenophobia and homophobia and break windows, burn cars, cut highways and airports and bully and terrorize citizens who respect law, until the only option left is for the police to do their job and end the madness. ”
“And when that happens, they will resort to an excuse for outrage. The only way to stop this, the only way to save our country and our freedom is to fight against this violence lies with the fist closed truth. I am the National Association of the Rifle and I am the safest place of freedom “.
In this other April announcement, the NRA spokesperson targeted the New York Times with the message “Let’s go for you.”
Loesch, 39, has more than 600,000 followers on Twitter. She was hired in February by the NRA as the new official spokeswoman. Loesch presents a syndicated radio show daily, “The Dana Show,” and a television show on TheBlazeTV , a multiplatform television property owned by former Fox News ex-commentator Glenn Beck.
In 2014, Loesch wrote the book “Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America” (Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm the US).
In July, the NRA published another ad targeting The Washington Post, this time starring Grant Stinchfield, host of NRATV, the organization’s video platform.
“You do more damage to our country with a keyboard than all members of the NRA together with a weapon,” he said in the video.
And in this other July announcement, former Navy Seal Don Raso warns that there is “organized anarchy” in the US led by people who hate the president and his voters.
NRA ads have been broadcast on YouTube, social networks and NRATV. On Facebook NRATV has more than 1.2 million followers.
Liberal commentators, journalists and politicians have criticized the new belligerence of the NRA.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said in a tweet, “I think the NRA is asking people to kill us. Now may be the time to cancel your membership.” Connecticut was the state of the Sandy Hook School Massacre in 2012 when 20 children were shot dead.
A large media group, Digital Context Next, sent a letter last month to Loesch in which she accused her of “irresponsible” behavior.
“99% of people who see the ad interpret this language as threatening and suggest the opposite is at best dishonest and at worst dangerous. In conclusion: it is anti-American threatening journalists,” said the letter.
It is not the first time that the NRA uses aggressive language to defend the right to bear arms. The most famous example of such a strategy is the speech in the 2000 presidential campaign of the then-president of the NRA, actor Charlton Heston. With a rifle raised, Heston challenged Democrat candidate Gore, a defender of arms controls, to snatch his weapon: “Out of my hands, dead and cold.”
But the confrontational rhetoric of the new NRA videos has surprised even those who have been investigating for years the arms lobby.
Journalist Michael Luo wrote in The New Yorker that he had never been targeted by direct NRA attacks during the years he reported on the organization in The New York Times with sometimes very critical reports. Luo said the videos are “surprisingly bellicose even by association standards”.
In part, the NRA has taken the lesson from its ally, President Trump, whose political strategy is to seek enemies to fuel their voter base.
The lobby and Trump have a close relationship since the presidential campaign. The NRA soon supported Trump as a candidate and, according to Open Secrets data, invested more than $ 30 million in supporting his presidential campaign, the biggest expense he has ever made in the history of his political contributions.
Trump has returned the favor by promoting the agenda of the NRA. In April he attended the group’s annual convention, an event that had not been attended by any active president since Ronald Reagan. There he proclaimed that the “assault of the last eight years against the Second Amendment” was over.
For the NRA to search for an enemy was also a vital necessity. Every time a Republican governs the arms sale collapses, that is why a Trump presidency can be good in legislative terms for the lobby but not in monetary terms.
Federal background check data, often used to assess the ups and downs in US arms sales, show that this is a bad year for the industry, with declines in all months compared to 2016 except in May and August.
The change of enemies is clearly noticeable in an August Washington Post analysis of the mentions in the Twitter accounts of @NRA and @NRATV. As of December last year, mentions of Clinton fall dramatically and are replaced by “left”, “media” and “violence.”
The strategy of replacing enemies is even more clearly seen in the analysis that made the newspaper of ads paid on Twitter.
The goal of the NRA is not to directly impact arms sales, but there is a clear correlation between the urgency with which people want to buy weapons and the urgency with which they feel the need to give to the NRA, wrote the journalist. Washington Post Philip Bump.
If what happened after other massacres serves as a guide, the silence of the NRA should not last long. Almost 48 hours have passed and their accounts on social networks have entered a latent state, but connoisseurs assume that they will soon resume their usual belligerence.