The Right Wing

The NRA's New Television Network Is Part Breitbart, Part InfoWars and Completely Deranged

In its parallel universe, Rep. John Lewis poses a unique threat to American democracy.

Photo Credit: YouTube Screengrab

Launched in late 2016, NRATV serves as the news outlet for the National Rifle Association, regularly defending President Donald Trump, slamming mainstream media outlets as “dishonest rags,” and viciously criticizing any politician or activist who speaks out against the president and his policies. While some of the outlet’s coverage focuses on gun policy, the newest developments in firearms technology, and tactical shooting, the programming has largely become a platform for far-right conservative talking points that are often unrelated to gun policy. As NRATV has strayed away from gun coverage, it has sparked a number of controversies and drawn widespread criticism in its inaugural year.

What is NRATV?

Launched in October 2016, NRATV is a rebrand of the National Rifle Association’s long-running news outlet NRA News -- which began airing in 2004 -- with the aim of offering more live programming. NRATV broadcasts via online streaming at NRATV.com and satellite radio. Like with NRA News, the outlet’s operations are supported by the gun group’s advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen. While ostensibly a news outlet with a heavy focus on gun issues, NRATV has proven itself to be a platform for attacks on press freedoms and freedom of assembly, pro-Trump propaganda defending anything the president does, sometimes with blatant falsehoods, and xenophobic commentary, particularly on the topic of Islam.

Since Donald Trump won the Republican primary race in 2016, NRATV has been strident in its defense of the president. For example, in one of the first NRATV episodes, host Grant Stinchfield attacked the media for covering numerous reports of sexual assault against Trump, saying outlets should instead cover instances where guns are used in self-defense. After Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, NRATV released a video in which NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called his organization Trump’s “strongest ally.” Meanwhile, the executive director of NRA’s lobbying wing -- the Institute for Legislative Action -- has frequently appeared on various NRATV programs to exclaim that “NRA members all across this country … helped deliver one of the most historic, come-from-behind wins in American history, and that was the election of President Trump.”

While the NRA has long claimed that the news media are part of a conspiracy to disarm everyday Americans, the group’s recent attacks against the press in defense of Trump have entered new territory. The gun outlet has labeled both dissent against Trump and protected-speech reporting about the president and his administration contrary to the U.S. Constitution and American values, including claiming that the press who question Trump’s conduct are “anti-American.”

What are its programs?

NRATV broadcasts online for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The outlet’s live programming includes a news show, a talk radio format show focused on pro-gun commentary, a “pop culture” show, and a shooting sports show. When live programming is not airing, NRATV broadcasts pre-recorded segments that cover topics including tactical firearm instructions and international affairs.

Stinchfield: NRATV airs live 10-minute updates weekdays at the top of every hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST covering news of the day. Hosted by Texas-based radio personality Grant Stinchfield, the updates include a variety of regular guests -- usually other NRATV hosts, as well as a variety of conservative and pro-Second Amendment guests. While claiming to tackle “the issues the mainstream media won’t,” Stinchfield typically serves as an outlet to fearmonger over refugees, advocate for Trump’s planned border wall and other policies, repeat anti-Muslim talking points in the midst of a terror attacks, and relentlessly push for the loosest possible gun laws.

Hot Mic: The newest addition to NRATV’s programming, Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic airs every Monday through Thursday from 5 to 5:30 p.m. The show says it “takes a look at left-wing pop culture’s war on our freedom and rights,” but it routinely veers off topic to discuss race, with African-Americans bearing the brunt of criticism. Whittle has repeatedly slammed Black Lives Matter for focusing on police brutality instead of black-on-black homicide, has claimed “90 percent or more of the racial problems that we have in this country are manufactured by the left,” and has accused both cities run by Democrats and mainstream news organizations of being racist. On the topic of pop culture, Whittle claimed left-wing entertainment is unaccepting of Christianity, treats Republicans the way Nazis treated Jews, and that awards shows undeservingly honor African-American actors and films. Whittle also appears as a regular guest on the 1 p.m. edition of Stinchfield.

Cam & Co.: Hosted by Cam Edwards, a holdover from NRA News, this is NRATV’s three-hour talk radio format weekday afternoon program, airing daily from 2 to 5 p.m. Edwards spends his show interviewing conservative pundits, journalists and columnists as well as pro-Second Amendment advocates and NRA Institute for Legislative Actions officials. Edwards endlessly pushes the debunked notion that increased gun ownership and availability typically make people and communities safer, routinely highlights the crime rates of cities including ChicagoSt. Louis, and Baltimore to argue against gun safety laws, and rejects any attempt to propose common sense gun regulation as an infringement on liberties and freedom. Cam & Co. also runs daily segments on instances of self-defense with guns that give the false impression that guns are more often used to prevent, rather than commit, crime. Edwards spends a good amount of his show on non-Second Amendment issues, most recently pushing for the repeal of Obamacare and complaining that gun violence supposedly gets more media coverage than the opioid epidemic.

The DL With Dana Loesch: Before being named NRA national spokesperson in February, Dana Loesch hosted the first season of a pre-recorded show called The DL. About 10 minutes long, each episode included commentary from other NRATV hosts, NRATV commentators, and conservative journalists. Episodes of The DL attempted to paint gun violence prevention in a negative light by highlighting the effort’s “racist” history as well as hyping anecdotal claims of increases in female and LGBTQ gun ownership. In the last few episodes of the show’s only season, The DL advocated for gun ownership “in an age of terrorism” despite statistics that prove this practice is misguided. Loesch is also a regular guest on the noon update of Stinchfield.

Noir: Currently on its fifth season and hosted by Colion Noir, NRATV’s Noir claims to “push past the politics” to talk about firearms and gun ownership from a more tactical standpoint. Airing at 5:30 for half an hour, Noirfeatures interviews with gun manufacturers, professional shooters, and owners of tactical and instructional YouTube channels. Noir also tests out different firearms during his show.

Frontlines: Hosted by foreign correspondents Chuck Holton and Iran-Contra figure Oliver North, the pre-recorded Frontlines episodes focus on international affairs and range anywhere from five to 30 minutes long. Most recently, the episodes have focused on fearmongering about terrorism and the refugee “crisis” in Europe.

Tips & Tactics: Currently in its seventh season, Tips & Tactics is hosted by firearms instructor Gabby Franco and focuses largely on “interactive firearms training” and “step-by-step lessons.” Franco is also a frequent guest on NRATV’s Cam & Co.

Other programming: In addition to these prominent shows, NRATV streams over 20 additionalprograms, aired on four channels, “NRA News,” “NRA Women,” “NRA Country,” -- a music channel -- and “NRA Hunting.” Many programs on NRATV are sponsored by gun companies and ammunition manufacturers, including Mossberg, Hornady, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger.

Who are the major figures and what do they say on NRATV?

NRA NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON AND NRATV COMMENTATOR DANA LOESCH:

Loesch: Penalizing gun owners for improperly storing firearms is “like shaming a rape survivor.” NRA national spokesperson and NRATV commentator Dana Loesch criticized a report from the Center for American Progress that said “states should consider implementing laws or policies that require or incentivize gun owners to store guns securely to help protect against theft” by claiming adopting those policies was “like shaming a rape survivor.” From the July 28 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): All right, so the other that topic we talked about just a little bit earlier here is, this new study out -- now, I need everyone to know, the American Center for Progress (sic) is a left-wing group. They issued a study that gun thefts are up in the southern United States. They may or may not be, doesn’t matter. The end result of the study is they want to increase storage laws and give penalties to the victims for not storing their guns properly, and they make no mention of going after the criminals.

DANA LOESCH : That's like shaming a rape survivor. It’s the exact same logic. How about this? How about they make tougher penalties for individuals who steal? Steal firearms. How about they have harsher punishments for those individuals who break the law? These individuals that they are seeking to punish haven’t broken the law. They have been victimized, as you accurately noted. So why in the world would they pass legislation that seeks to further victimize the already victims of these criminal acts? [NRATV, Stinchfield7/28/17; NRATV, Stinchfield7/31/17]

Loesch: Women’s March co-founder “believes in overthrowing U.S. government for Sharia law.” During the July 10 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Dana Loesch attempted to smear Linda Sarsour, one of the co-founders of the Women’s March organization, ahead of the group’s rally against the NRA. Among other things, Loesch baselessly claimed Sarsour believes in “overthrowing the U.S. government in support of Islamic jurisprudence”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Explain to us exactly who [Linda] Sarsour is, for those of us – for those of them at home that don’t know who she is.

DANA LOESCH: Linda Sarsour is the head of the Women’s March, she is the main organizer of the Women’s March, she works with Everytown, she partners with people like Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts. She works with Black Lives Matter, she believes in Sharia, meaning the full Sharia -- she believes in overthrowing the U.S. government in support of Islamic jurisprudence -- and at a rally at a very controversial North American Islamic conference where in 2001, Grant, Anwar al-Awlaki spoke and she thanked her mentor before she went on this 20-minute rant. Her mentor, Grant, is one of the unindicted co-conspirators from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. And she believes in overthrowing U.S. government for Sharia law. And she called jihad against the White House. [NRATV, Stinchfield7/10/17]

Loesch: Rep. “John Lewis … is posing to be a threat to democracy.” During the January 16 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Loesch called civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (GA-D) a “threat to democracy” after he announced he would not attend Trump’s inauguration and said Trump is not a “legitimate” president. Loesch called his actions “unfortunate” and said it’s not voters’ fault “if they refused to vote as John Lewis would have had them”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Yesterday on Meet the Press, John Lewis, the congressman who really is a civil rights hero, comes out and he says that Donald Trump’s presidency is illegitimate. He is doing this to delegitimize Trump’s entire presidency. I think it's anti-American, it's unpatriotic, and it's sad coming from a guy -- especially today, it's Martin Luther King Day. Lewis is a guy who marched with Martin Luther King. I think it's sad.

DANA LOESCH: I think it is as well, and while I believe that Lewis is a civil rights icon, it's unfortunate that he chose to behave in this particular manner.

[...]

LOESCH: John Lewis, by his actions is -- he is posing to be a threat to democracy by refusing to acknowledge the results of this election, by refusing to acknowledge the results of the Electoral College. The individuals spoke, and it's not their fault if they refused to vote as John Lewis would have had them voted. [NRATV, Stinchfield1/16/17]

Loesch: “Rat bastards” in the mainstream media got “curb-stomped” by Trump’s victory. Loesch referred to herself as a longtime “critic of the media” on the November 23 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield. She went on to say mainstream media are “the rat bastards of the earth” and the “boil on the backside of American politics” and added she is “happy, frankly, to see them curb-stomped” by Trump:

DANA LOESCH: I think that in a campaign there are certain things that you are going to hear and certain behaviors that you will see that will be tempered by the -- after the election -- tempered by simply just going into the White House. However, that being said, I don’t think that the, for lack of a better way to put it, the zero relationship with the mainstream media is going to be one of those things. Look, this media has not only impugned the character of half of the country, they’ve done this since 2008, 2009, they’ve definitely done this in 2010. Particularly when they were going to push the unaffordable health care act and get that passed. And they were trying to say that anyone who disagreed with it, well you may have to check your soul and have a talk with Jesus, cause something is seriously wrong with you. It’s probably because the president is black. That’s one of the things that we all heard over and over again. They questioned everybody’s character. And so I am actually happy, because I have long been a huge critic of the media. And I hate that what I do is considered part of it. Because I don’t consider myself part of them. However, I am very glad to see -- I said this actually on television not too long ago -- I am happy, frankly, to see them curb-stomped. I mean, let’s be real about it, Grant. These people are just the worst thing that could ever possibly happen just to the American political system right now with the way that they cover so many things. For instance, when -- nobody gets a fair shake on policy, no one gets a fair shake where it concerns immigration. They conflate legal and illegal immigration. They conflate a number of things, particularly the coverage on gun control. I have so many things that I hate about mainstream media, there is no way we’re going to fit it in the allotted time today. They are the rat bastards of the earth. They are the boil on the backside of American politics. I have no other nice way to put it. [NRATV, Stinchfield11/23/17

NRATV HOST GRANT STINCHFIELD:

Stinchfield: Tell North Korea “Sacramento changed its name to Guam.” Amid fears North Korea could imminently strike U.S. territory Guam, NRATV host Grant Stinchfield suggested telling North Korea that Sacramento, CA, had changed its name to Guam, tweeting on August 1, “Let’s send a note to North Korea that Sacramento changed its name to Guam!” Stinchfield apologized after being reached by the New York Daily News and deleted the tweet.

[Media Matters8/11/17;The Hill8/11/17]

Stinchfield: Media criticizing Trump’s response to threats from North Korea are “anti-American.” During the August 10 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, Stinchfield slammed the media’s coverage of President Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” against North Korea. Stinchfield claimed the mainstream media are “not used to a commander-in-chief talking tough to a rogue dictator.” The NRATV host went on to call all media criticisms of Trump’s comments “deceitful” and “anti-American”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Watching the mainstream media cover this story is almost comical, if the topic wasn’t so serious, that is. Apparently after eight years, they are not used to a commander-in-chief talking tough to a rogue dictator that has made it no secret he wants to annihilate the United States. And I mean annihilate it. So let’s go through some of the coverage and break it down for you. This is NBC’s coverage of the North Korean conflict.

[…]

STINCHFIELD: Inflammatory, dangerous red line? We know what the red line was when Barack Obama drew one -- it was nothing. It was made out of chalk to be wiped away by our enemies, simply kicked to the side. Donald Trump issued a stern warning to not just North Korea, but our enemies everywhere. His statements, his statements and threat of using force to anyone that threatens the safety and security of America was certainly meant for the leader of North Korea. It was also meant, in many respects, for the leaders of China, of Russia, of Iran, and more. And so for these news anchors to be so flabbergasted that a president would speak toughly about protecting the United States just goes to show you that they really are anti-American.

[…]

STINCHFIELD: What allies of ours think that they can’t tell the difference between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un and who is crazier? That's the kind of lies that we have come to expect from the mainstream media, and it's comments like that that has viewership dwindling on all of these networks. It is deceitful to make a comment like that, it is anti-American, and, truthfully, the one goal that they have in doing it is simply to tear our country apart. [NRATV, Stinchfield8/10/17]

Stinchfield called Pulse nightclub victims "sheep" on the one-year anniversary of the Orlando massacre. On the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, Stinchfield said the perpetrator chose to “exploit” the nightclub because the shooter knew “there would be no armed security.” (An armed policeman on the scene actually engaged the suspect in the first moments of the attack.) Stinchfield went on to call the victims “sheep” that were “just, sadly, trapped there.” From the June 12 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): We saw protests around the country over Sharia law and groups coming out and literally protesting what Sharia law stands for. Now the mainstream media wanted to make it out as if they were protesting Islam. They were not. They were protesting just how oppressive Sharia law is. That gays should be killed, homosexual behavior not tolerated, we know how they feel about women. And I also think if you can learn from what happened –

[CROSSTALK]

STINCHFIELD: Dana, I also think what we can learn from Orlando is the fact that they will also exploit weakness. And they knew inside that nightclub there would be no armed security, there would be nobody else there to fight back. And they took advantage of sheep that were just, sadly, trapped there. [NRATV, Stinchfield6/12/17]

Stinchfield blatantly lied about the James Comey hearing to protect Trump. During the June 8 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, the same day former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, host Grant Stinchfield spent his segments blatantly lying about what was happening at the hearing in order to protect Trump. Stinchfield said Comey answered “no” when asked if Trump ever “tr[ied] to obstruct justice.” In actuality, Comey said it wasn’t for him to say whether Trump was attempting to obstruct justice, but that his conversation with the president was disturbing.

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Now as I look and listen to this hearing, what I see is James Comey being questioned. One, being led by the Democrats to try to sink Donald Trump, and two, by the Republicans trying to get to the heart of what this hearing is all about. Did Donald Trump try to obstruct justice when it came to this Russian investigation in any way? A direct quote when he was asked about this by the chairman of the committee, a Republican, “Did Donald Trump ever ask you to stop the Russian investigation?” James Comey’s answer, “No.” “Did he ever try to obstruct justice in any way?” James Comey’s answer, “No.” [NRATV, Stinchfield6/8/17Media Matters6/8/17]

Stinchfield: “All radicalized terrorists are Muslims.” Stinchfield defended Trump’s Muslim travel ban with the false claim that “all radicalized terrorists are Muslims.” In fact, most terror attacks in the U.S. since the 9/11 attack were carried out by right-wing extremists. [Media Matters1/30/17; Vox, 9/9/16]

Stinchfield: Obama accomplished his secret plan to “inflict harm on America.” Eight days before Trump was inaugurated, Stinchfield said former President Obama accomplished “something that he secretly set out to do … inflict harm on America.” From the January 12 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Well, I think [Obama] did accomplish something that he secretly set out to do, he won't talk about it, but that is inflict harm on America. And so I wondered what he was going to talk about when he gave his farewell speech. Look at what the man has done. He has given us more regulations to hurt industries, he's increased our taxes, we have a health care system that is basically beaten down, you talk about the military that has been absolutely decimated, we have foreign relations with other countries that they laugh at America now. What did he talk about for an hour? He said that race relations are better now than they were 10 years ago. I had to fall out of my chair when I heard him say that. [NRATV, Stinchfield1/12/17]

Stinchfield compared former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to a Nazi. During a January 3 broadcast, Stinchfield compared former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is Jewish, to a member of the Nazi’s secret police, the Gestapo:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): 2016 actually shaped up pretty well for the Second Amendment -- take a look. In Texas and Ohio, campus carry was victorious, making students and faculty on campus safer in those states on public universities. In Idaho and Mississippi, voters took the Second Amendment word for word and passed a permitless carry bill, making it every law-abiding citizen’s right in those states to carry a firearm without government intrusion. Florida reduced the cost of getting a concealed carry license, and Texas is set to take up similar legislation. In Maine we fought back and beat billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s quest for expanded background checks, and in Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill offering protections for public employees to carry firearms while at work. We did suffer some setbacks. Washington and Oregon are planning to join California to establish a “West Coast wall” against bogusly named assault weapons. That after California continued its own assault on the Second Amendment, banning the AR-15 and severely limiting how gun owners can buy ammunition. And with all of that, the members of the NRA can claim their biggest victory with the election of Donald Trump. But remember, nearly every candidate supported by Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun Gestapo lost. And that, too, is something we can smile about. [Media Matters1/3/17]

Stinchfield: “Blame minorities … not law abiding conservatives” for gun violence. In an October 8, 2015, tweet, Stinchfield commented on a New York Times article highlighting the 30-plus gun homicides that occur in an average day in the U.S. Stinchfield wrote that people should blame the violence on “minorities killing each other” and that the country needs to “look harder at broken families not gun laws.” [Twitter.com, 10/8/15

NRATV CORRESPONDENT CHUCK HOLTON:

Holton suggested that Black Lives Matter will commit mass violence -- including rape and murder -- against whites. Referencing reports of attacks on white farmers in South Africa, NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton mentioned “the parallels between what’s happening in South Africa and the blatant racism and violence we’re seeing from people like the Black Lives Matter crowd.” He added, “This has to stop, and if you want to see why it has to stop, you look at South Africa. Over -- between three and four thousand white South Africans have been killed in the most horrific ways, brutalized, raped, tortured, drug behind cars, had drills taken to them.” From the July 19 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Our race relations are strained here in America after eight years of Barack Obama, but nowhere is near as bad as it is in South Africa, where white families are being tortured and killed almost every day in racist violence. It is a warning for the United States that you will never hear from the mainstream media in this country. Veteran Army Ranger and Frontlines correspondent Chuck Holton joins me with more on this. Chuck, I know you’ve been looking into this, particularly doing some research, and really the things that we’re starting to learn are frightening and I guess it's not shocking that the mainstream media is not talking about this.

CHUCK HOLTON: Right, you know the parallels between what’s happening in South Africa and the blatant racism and violence we’re seeing from people like the Black Lives Matter crowd, from people like Louis Farrakhan and his minions, is happening in spades in South Africa. The violence against farmers is being called for by government officials, it's being celebrated by politicians, and the scary thing is, it's kind of a warning for what could happen in the United States if we continue to let this get out of control, to go down this path of this racial tension, this racial hatred that is being forced on the American culture by the Black Lives Matter crowd.

[….]

HOLTON: This has to stop, and if you want to see why it has to stop, you look at South Africa. Over -- between three and four thousand white South Africans have been killed in the most horrific ways, brutalized, raped, tortured, drug behind cars, had drills taken to them. Some really horrific things. [Media Matters7/19/17]

Holton blamed Manchester Arena attack on multiculturalism and “gender-bending.” The day after an ISIS terror attack in Manchester, England, left 22 dead, Holton said the U.K. had this attacking coming “for a long time.” Holton went on to say this was in part because “they have opened their borders to so many refugees” and have “done away with the personal protections” of firearms. He also blamed it on multiculturalism and “gender-bending.” From the May 23 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

CHUCK HOLTON: Because they think that that actually counts as doing something. It doesn't. And you know in reality, England has had this coming for a long time in that they have -- look, they have opened their borders to so many refugees, they have done away with the personal protections, of their own people being able to protect their families with firearms. And so what we’re seeing is, you know what? Terrorists don’t need firearms to perpetrate their heinous crimes. They are weaponizing the European culture. That’s what they’re doing. They are taking advantage of this multiculturalism and the, you know, gender-bending -- we could go on and on about this. The European male is disappearing in Europe -- the actual men who will stand up and fight for their country. You could also talk about the fact that the Europeans need these people to come in to help support their massive social welfare program. Do you know that, I was reading the other day, nine European -- major European leaders now are absolutely childless, and that reflects the broader culture in Europe, that places like Germany, 30 percent of German women have no children and will never have children. In England it’s something like 20 percent, but that’s rising. And so when you’re not making babies, you need people to come in and work and pay taxes to support your massive social welfare programs. So this is, in some ways, this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism. [NRATV, Stinchfield5/23/17]

Holton: Time to scrub “Obama’s mocacchino stain off of America.” Two days after Trump’s inauguration, Holton wrote on Twitter that the “party’s over” and it’s time to “get busy scrubbing Obama’s mocacchino stain off of America!” While normally a term for a chocolate coffee drink, “mocacchino” in this case is an apparent reference to Obama’s race. [Media Matters1/23/17]

Holton: Obama is a “pussy.” In a November 16, 2016, Twitter post, Holton responded to a comedian who posted a picture of Trump and Obama shaking hands, writing, “Photo finally surfaces of Trump grabbing a pussy.” [Media Matters11/16/2016]

Holton: “White privilege” is “simply the culture that … our fathers and grandfathers have worked hard to create.” Holton said white privilege is “a culture of individual responsibility … that respects authority” during an August 2016 appearance on Cam & Co. when that show was broadcast on NRA News. Holton went on to say that “our fathers and grandfathers have worked hard to create” the culture of white privilege, and he invited anyone who doesn’t like living in an “inner city” to come “join our community and take advantage of this quote unquote privilege that we have.” From the August 18, 2016, edition of NRA News’ Cam & Co:

HOLTON: I heard this said very well by an economist named Stefan Molyneux. He said America doesn’t have a gun problem, it has a gang problem. And America really doesn’t have a gang problem, it has a fatherlessness problem. And America really doesn’t have a fatherlessness problem, it has a welfare problem. Because when the state tries to step in and buy people’s votes by providing for mothers instead of encouraging the fathers for provide for the mothers, they create this whole circle of violence. And it all comes down to the fathers. These guys -- these communities are so incredibly dysfunctional. And, you know, you hear colleges complain about white privilege. My definition of white privilege, it’s just simply the culture that we have created. That our fathers and grandfathers have worked hard to create. A culture of individual responsibility where you take responsibility for your own actions. A culture that respects authority. And you know what? If that creates a community that is better than these inner city communities where there is no respect for authority, where there is no fathers in the home, guess what? If you live in that inner city community and you don’t like it, you are welcome to join our community and take advantage of this quote unquote privilege that we have, any time you want. You’re welcome to come -- all you have to do is join us in respecting authority and taking responsibility for your own actions. [NRA News, Cam & Co8/18/16]

NRATV HOST BILL WHITTLE:

Whittle: “If there is no … genuine black oppression as there was in the past, then what do you need the left for?” Bill Whittle, who hosts the NRATV show Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic, criticized the left for talking about race by claiming there is no oppression of African-Americans in the United States anymore while he appeared as a guest on the July 7 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

BILL WHITTLE: Here is what they're doing, though, right? I mean, the entire offensive -- political correctness is the left’s defensive position, but their offensive position is critical theory. Critical theory says we divide the country up into groups, the entire idea of "e pluribus unum," the fact that we’re made into new people just as individuals, that has to go out the window. The country has to be divided up into tribes, the tribes have to be sent to attack the middle, and that is why you are not a real woman, you see, that’s why [NRATV host] Colion Noir is not a real black man, and so on and so on and so on. Because if you are, then their entire narrative falls apart. If there is no black oppression to speak of, no institutionalized, genuine black oppression as there was in the past, then what do you need the left for? And if women aren’t oppressed, then what do you need the left for? And if people like you can take care of yourself and defend yourself in your own life, then why on earth would you need some sort of left-wing overlord to tell you what to do and take all your money? Pretty much how it works, I think. [Media Matters7/7/17]

Whittle: The majority of racial problems in this country “are manufactured by the left.” During the June 26 edition of Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic, Whittle claimed that “90 percent or more of the racial problems” in this country “are manufactured by the left”:

BILL WHITTLE (HOST): This tells me, this tells me that 90 percent or more of the racial problems that we have in this country are manufactured by the left, they’re just made up. They’re manufactured by it. So you can call them community organizations, used to call them agitators. They’re just manufactured so much of this. [NRATV, Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic6/26/17]

Whittle: Leftists “have one weapon … and it’s the racism weapon.” Whittle claimed the left “excels at rhetorical skills” but has only “the racism weapon” in its “arsenal.” Whittle went on to claim that every time progressives cry racism, it gets “a little bit weaker,” but “if you’re a one-trick pony, you better know how to do the trick.” From the July 5 edition of NRATV’s Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic:

BILL WHITTLE (HOST): The left excels at rhetorical skills, they excel at the ability to talk about things, they’re very, very, very good at it. It’s actions that they have a problem with. And they see rhetoric to be the same as actual violence. But let’s look at some of these examples that Grant [Stinchfield] listed. First, the first one, this woman is saying that a clenched fist, the clenched fist of truth, is racist somehow? You know, I know you guys keep reaching for this, and when I say you guys, I mean the left. I know you have one weapon, basically, and it’s the racism weapon. You’re people that have nothing in your arsenal except for nuclear weapons. And here’s the problem for you, you leftists. Every time you use racism like this when there is no racism, your bomb gets a little bit weaker, and it a little bit weaker, and a little bit weaker. There was nothing racist in that video in terms of [NRA national spokesperson Dana Loesch’s] language. Nothing. But, you know, you’ve got to call racism, right? Because if you’re a one-trick pony, you better know how to do the trick. [NRATV, Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic7/5/17]

Whittle called Black Lives Matter “a con game” and “not a serious movement” before falsely claiming blacks kill thousands of police officers each year. During the July 13 edition of NRATV’s Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic, Whittle lambasted the Black Lives Matter movement for not focusing on “the actual problem,” which according to him is “black-on-black homicide.” Whittle then claimed that for every black person killed by a police officer, 18 police officers are killed by a black person, which would mean -- by his own count -- that African-Americans kill more than 4,600 police officers a year. In fact, a total of about 50 police officers are killed each year as a result of a crime, by all races. Whittle followed this false claim by saying, “As far as I’m concerned, statistics and truth are truth. I go where the truth is”:

BILL WHITTLE (HOST): In 2014, 6,095 black people died of homicide in this country; that’s a horrific number. It’s a horrific number. People like me and the NRA and Dana Loesch are more concerned about this than Black Lives Matter are because Black Lives Matter is trying to make this all about policemen killing these people when you saw in 2014 6,095 blacks killed in this country of which 258 were shot by police. And let’s be clear about this. That’s not shot by police with hands up. That’s the total number of blacks that were killed that year by police officers and in virtually every one of these cases the police officer was being threatened with a gun, or so on. That turns out to be 4 percent. So if I am running a political movement called Black Lives Matter, and my entire goal is to do something about the black homicide in this country, and I decide to make the whole thing about 4 percent of the problem and not 96 percent of the problem, what would you call that? I’d call it a con game. I’d call it not a serious movement. I’d call it a political fig leaf and I’d call it a bunch of other things, but it sure as hell is not black lives mattering to the people who claim black lives matter, too. Because if it was, they’d be dealing with the actual problem. Which is black homicide. Of the 6,095 blacks that were killed in this country, virtually all of them were killed by other blacks. Later on in that video, which you can see at BillWhittle.com, by the way, there’s a couple of other statistics that Black Lives Matter is going to find a little bit inconvenient. One of them is blacks murder whites at a rate of 11-to-1 in this country, 11-to-1. And blacks murder policemen at a rate of 18-to-1. Did you get that, folks? For every black person killed by a police officer, there are 18 police officers killed by blacks.

[...]

WHITTLE: If you really were serious about this, you’d be serious about dealing with the problem, which is black-on-black homicide. If you want to call me a racist for saying this, that's your business. As far as I’m concerned, statistics and truth are truth. I go where the truth is. If -- if it turned out you were right, if it turned out you were right and the majority, or half or a third of the black homicides in this country were in fact caused by police officers -- I know you find this impossible to believe -- but if that were true, I would not only be on your side, I’d be campaigning on your side. You see -- I know you don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter to me whether you believe it or not, if it were true, you’d have a point. If it were true, you’d have sympathy from me and action from me and from the NRA. But it's not true, I know it, we know it, you know it, everybody knows it. So stop playing these games because we can add, OK? We can do addition and we can do division and we can come up with percentages. [NRATV, Bill Whittle’s Hot Mic7/13/17; BBC 7/26/16]

Whittle has a history of promoting academic racism and making racist claims. During a 2016 appearance on “alt-right” figure Stefan Molyneux’s YouTube channel, Whittle promoted the discredited racist theory that black people are inherently intellectually inferior to other races and suggested that different races could be divided along the lines of “civilized man” and “barbarian.” During other appearances on Molyneux’s program in 2015 and 2016, Whittle suggested that black people who support the Democratic Party are literal slaves who trade a willingness to engage in voter fraud for welfare benefits, called Obama an “unqualified, unknown individual” who was elected “specifically and only because he is black” while claiming “there’s nothing in this country that survived the Civil War that was the result of slavery,” and said that people who live in the inner cities are “unemployable -- unemployed and unemployable -- they’ve been on assistance their entire lives, they’ve never had to work before,” and that these people should get jobs because a job “beats the laziness” out of people and “disciplines” them into “civility.” [Media Matters4/27/17

NRATV HOST CAM EDWARDS:

Edwards uses the growing opioid epidemic to downplay the toll of gun violence. During his three-hour weekday NRATV show, host Cam Edwards has repeatedly highlighted the country’s opioid epidemic while simultaneously arguing that America’s gun violence epidemic gets too much attention by comparison. Edwards regularly delves into the increase in opioid overdose deaths between 2014 and 2016 in states including Ohio, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and West Virginia. However, Edwards often ends his monologues by claiming gun violence prevention activists, organizations, and the media are “much more interested in researching reasons why we should go after the Second Amendment rights of Americans” than in fighting the opioid epidemic. [Media Matters4/10/17]

Edwards compared gun violence sit-in participants to “criminals and terrorists.” During a June 2016 broadcast of Cam & Co, host Edwards admonished House Democrats during their sit-in protest on the House floor to call for action on gun violence, saying participants were “in violation of the House rule on photography” because they were livestreaming the sit-in on their cell phones. Edwards went on to compare these senators to the “criminals and terrorists” who also break “rules that we have in place right now”:

CAM EDWARDS (HOST): We’ve got several, more than several -- I think about 70 House Democrats, that’s the last number that I’ve seen -- are staging a sit-in on the floor of the House demanding a vote on gun control measures. I’ve not heard them offer any specific legislation. I am trying to see if there is any specific legislation. I think generally they’re talking about again some sort of watchlist bill, but who knows what form that would take. But again it’s not necessarily about the legislation. It’s about the attention. It is about the -- and by the way, it’s fascinating. So C-SPAN is not airing this. The House has turned the cameras off because the House is in recess. But you’ve got every member of Congress who is taking part in this event is there with their staffers, of course, they’ve got their smartphones, and some of them are streaming this on Periscope and others are taking their selfies. Or they’re having a staffer take their picture. And they are posting this on social media, in violation of the House rule on photography. Really? OK. So, in order to push legislation that the sponsors say would not have prevented the attacks in Orlando, Florida, they are also going to flout the House rules. Kind of like criminals and terrorists flout rules that we have in place right now. And will continue to do so. This is -- this is just my opinion, but this is just the worst form of political theater, and it’s for media consumption. [NRA News, Cam & Co6/22/16]

Edwards later lectured Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and other sit-in participants on “what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement.” Later, as the sit-in continued, Edwards gave a lecture on “what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement.” During the June 22 edition of NRATV’s Cam & Co, Edwards said the gun violence prevention sit-in wasn’t about “demanding more rights for Americans,” but instead was “Congress demanding power.” Edwards went on to say participants in the sit-in, which was led by civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), were “lawmakers who just want to ignore the Bill of Rights”:

CAM EDWARDS (HOST): And again, the pro- -- I don’t know what to call it. A sit-in, again, generally speaking we saw the sit-ins in the civil rights movement that were advocating for individuals being able to enjoy the same rights that other Americans enjoyed, right? I mean, that’s what the protests were, that’s what -- we’re sitting at this lunch counter and we’re not leaving until we get served. Not we’re sitting at this lunch counter and we’re not leaving until you remove this item from the menu. We’re going to sit right here and we’re not leaving until you recognize us as human beings, as Americans who have the same rights that that guy has over there and that she has over there. That’s what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement. This, on the other hand, this isn’t Congress demanding more rights for Americans, this isn’t Congress demanding rights for themselves, this is Congress demanding power. These are House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit, to view the Bill of Rights as an impediment to lawmakers, to treat it as such and to try to degrade. Kind of like what they say with ISIS, right? Degrade and destroy. We’re kind of witnessing the degradation and the destruction of the Bill of Rights right now. Where again you’ve got self-professed thought leaders who say it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment, the Constitution itself is outdated, and then you've got lawmakers who just want to ignore the Bill of Rights. [NRA News Cam & Co6/22/16

Three troubling trends on NRATV thus far:

“CLENCHED FIST OF TRUTH” CONTROVERSY: NRATV ATTACKS THE FREEDOM TO ASSEMBLE

NRATV’s Loesch appeared in an inflammatory ad targeting the resistance movement against President Trump. In an NRA video, spokesperson Loesch characterized dissent against Trump as the “violence of lies” and said it should be countered with “the clenched fist of truth.” The video claimed that in their opposition to Trump, left-wing Americans “scream racism, and sexism, and xenophobia, and homophobia [and] smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.” She went on to say the only way to “save our country and our freedom” is with “the clenched fist of truth.” The ad conflated isolated incidents of property damage during anti-Trump protests with the resistance movement at large, giving viewers the false impression that protests against Trump are often violent. [NRATV, 4/7/17]

NRATV’s “clenched fist of truth” video was reposted to Facebook in late June, igniting widespread condemnation. On June 28, the NRATV video was reposted to the group’s Facebook page, where it generated waves of criticism, with critics saying that it was an incitement to violence against protesters who oppose Trump. NRATV promoted the video on Facebook as “Loesch tak[ing] on the left’s violence of lies.” [Facebook, 6/28/17The Washington Post, 6/29/17The New York Times, 6/29/17]

NRATV released a follow-up video that smeared critics. During a four-minute follow-up video posted on July 1, Stinchfield told those “having a meltdown” over Loesch’s initial video to “get over yourself.” Among several activists he singled out, Stinchfield claimed that anti-police-brutality activist DeRay McKesson, who had criticized the original NRA spot, is a “professional rioter” who has organized riots that injured police officers. Stinchfield closed by insisting an apology from the NRA will “never happen” and saying that “we stand firm with the clenched fist of truth.” [NRATV, 7/1/17]

NRATV released a third video claiming opponents of Trump are an “organized anarchy.” The NRA released a third video on the topic, featuring NRATV commentator Dom Raso, who conflated isolated incidents of violence with the entire resistance movement. For example, the video sought to connect property damage on Inauguration Day with remarks made by Rep. John Lewis. Raso slammed resistance protesters by playing footage of concentration camps from a Holocaust documentary to show what “fascism is.” [NRATV, 7/9/17]

NRATV MAKES EXTREME ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, OFTEN IN DEFENSE OF TRUMP

Stinchfield: Reporting on sexual assault allegations against Trump is part of “the mainstream media’s assault against freedom and the Constitution.” Weeks before the 2016 presidential election, as allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Trump mounted, Stinchfield claimed that then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s questions to a Trump surrogate about the reports were oppositional to the U.S. Constitution and “a diversion from the important topics we need to be talking about, like save the Second Amendment”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The mainstream media’s assault against freedom and the Constitution has played out every night on the airwaves of America. The overwhelmingly biased attacks against Donald Trump are usually cloaked as real news, when in reality it’s a diversion from the important topics we need to be talking about, like save the Second Amendment. Megyn Kelly performed this sleight-of-hand magic trick last night while she was interviewing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. She only wanted to talk about the sexual allegations leveled against Donald Trump, but the speaker fought back. [NRATV, Stinchfield10/26/16]

Stinchfield: Critical reporting on the Trump transition was “anti-patriotic” and part of a plot to “destroy our republic.” Following Trump’s victory in the presidential election, Stinchfield called on the media to “get on board,” suggesting that reporting on Trump and his transition team was “anti-patriotic” and alleging a plot by media to “destroy our republic”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): [Trump] is not a loser. Hillary Clinton was the loser. The media needs to get on board. They talk about being anti-patriotic -- when you call into question every single thing that this president-elect does and his transition does, it’s the media that is trying to destroy our republic. They are trying to tear it down piece by piece by sending you false information. It started two years and longer before election night, and it continues to this day. [NRATV, Stinchfield11/29/16]

NRATV accused NYTimes of “aiding terrorists” by correcting false Trump surrogate claim. After Trump aide Kellyanne Conway was widely criticized in media for inventing a terrorist attack that never happened -- the “Bowling Green Massacre” -- NRATV claimed The New York Times was “aiding terrorists” by reporting on the story:

 

When #MSM like @nytimes attacks Kellyanne Conway for Bowling Green Massacre more than it covers threat of ISIS, they are aiding terrorists pic.twitter.com/LnKunW2z00

— NRATV (@NRATV) February 3, 2017

NRATV to NY Times: “We're coming for you.” In February, the NRA released a video about The New York Times that alleged the paper had failed to cover major stories such as the tea party movement, Mexican drug cartel violence, and the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. A spokesperson for the Times responded that the paper had actually covered all the stories mentioned in the ad. In response, NRATV issued a video in which Loesch said, “Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow. We are going to fisk the The New York Times and find out just what ‘deep and rich’ means to this old gray hag, this untrustworthy, dishonest rag that has subsisted on the welfare of mediocrity for one, two, three, more decades. We're going to laser-focus on your so-called ‘honest pursuit of truth.’ In short, we're coming for you.” [NRATV, 4/10/17]

NRATV to Wash. Post: “You people do more damage to our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm.” After a Washington Post article used the word “dark” to describe a video released by the NRATV claiming there is “organized anarchy” on the left, NRATV responded by attacking the paper, claiming the outlet has a “role in the organized anarchy of the violent left by spreading lies about those who disagree with their radical agenda” and implying its First Amendment rights should be taken away:

GRANT STINCHFIELD: But The Washington Post isn't mad about the lack of guns, it's upset about an abundance of truth. The truth about their role in the organized anarchy of the violent left by spreading lies about those who disagree with their radical agenda, while refusing to cover the extremist beliefs and tactics of people like Carmen Perez, DeRay Mckesson and the liberal politicians like Chuck Schumer and Al Franken who refuse to condemn them.

[...]

So here's a suggestion for The Washington Post: Don't worry about how many guns are in our videos. Worry about how many facts are in your articles. Because if gun owners abused our Second Amendment the way you abuse your paper and the First Amendment, our rights would have been taken away long ago. You people do more damage to our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm. [NRATV, 7/17/17]

NRATV'S DECEITFUL PRO-TRUMP PROPAGANDA

On Election Day, NRATV host read an article clearly labeled “fiction” to urge listeners to vote against Hillary Clinton. During NRATV’s November 8 broadcast, Stinchfield cited an article from an NRA magazine labeled a “work of fiction” that predicted over-the-top calamities if Clinton was elected. Treating the article as if it were serious, Stinchfield said, “America’s 1st Freedom published an eye-opening piece about what the country would look like in 2020 if Hillary Clinton is elected president today. One of those projections is that she would appoint [former New York City Mayor] Michael Bloomberg as ambassador to the United Nations. There he would help push through an international arms treaty that would severely limit our ability to purchase guns here in the United States, taking away our sovereignty as a nation and putting our rights under international control. That alone should be enough motivation to head to the polls right now.” [NRATV, 11/8/16Media Matters11/7/16]

NRATV fabricated quotes from Comey’s appearance before the Senate in an attempt to protect Trump. While Comey was testifying before Congress, Stinchfield claimed on NRATV that Comey was asked, “Did [Trump] ever try to obstruct justice in any way?” and that Comey responded, “No.” Stinchfield characterized his telling of the exchange as a “direct quote.” In fact, a transcript of the hearing indicates that when Comey was asked whether he had a “sense” that Trump obstructed justice in actions related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Comey answered, “I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense.” [Media Matters6/8/17]

NRATV blamed Trump’s Russia troubles on “Obama loyalists” who are “trying to destroy America from the inside.” Following reporting in February indicating that U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted communications between Trump campaign officials and “senior Russian intelligence officials,” Stinchfield blamed the controversy on “Obama loyalists”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): You know, there’s a big issue in Washington now, all this discussion over what's been going on with Russia, the Trump administration, Michael Flynn, the national security adviser, who is now out. You've made a career of being able to communicate with people, many times being able to communicate with criminals. I believe what is going on in Washington is you have a concerted effort with Obama loyalists inside these bureaucratic agencies, from the Justice Department to the intelligence community, trying to undermine the president every step of the way. Is there anything Congress can do to root out those loyalists who are really, I believe, trying to destroy America from the inside? [NRATV, Stinchfield2/15/17]

NRATV made the false claim that there is a murder every 11 minutes in Chicago to push for the confirmation of Trump attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions. During his January 9 broadcast, Stinchfield claimed there is a murder every 11 minutes in Chicago -- which would amount to nearly 50,000 murders per year -- to suggest Sessions would reduce violence in the city. Stinchfield claimed this level of violence is “why the NRA’s executive director for the Institute for Legislative Action is calling for the swift confirmation of attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions” and that “lives depend on [his] appointment.” [NRATV, Stinchfield1/9/17]

NRATV falsely claimed Sessions “busted” a group engaged in voter fraud to defend his record as a prosecutor. During the January 10 NRATV broadcast, Loesch shared a false account of a 1985 voter fraud investigation Sessions spearheaded, claiming he “busted” people committing fraud. In fact, the case brought by Sessions, which targeted an African-American civic group, was so weak that the judge threw out some of the charges and the jury acquitted the defendants on the rest. [Media Matters1/10/17]

NRATV smeared anti-Trump protesters as violent by playing video footage of an unrelated event from a different day. During an NRATV segment purportedly about the Women’s March and the group’s plans to protest the NRA, Stinchfield ran video of Antifa members causing property damage in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day. The Women’s March was actually the next day, and no arrests were reported. [Media Matters7/7/17; DCist, 1/22/17]

Cydney Hargis is a researcher at Media Matters. 

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Activism
Drugs
Economy
Education
Election 2018
Environment
Food
Media
World