Guns

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  • NRA Once Again Uses Footage From Military Cemetery In Campaign Attack Ad

    VFW’s Response to Previous Ad: “Don't Use Our Dead To Score Political Points”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association targeting Florida Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy features images of military graves at Alexandria National Cemetery.

    In a September 27 ad, the NRA attempts to link Murphy to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over supposed malfeasance related to the 2012 terror attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. (Without evidence, the ad claims Clinton “lied” about the attacks.) Murphy is facing Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in the race.

    The ad features several shots of Alexandria National Cemetery that the NRA filmed for a previous attack ad. It is a violation of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs policy to film political ads at national cemeteries.

    From the ad:

    The footage from the ad comes from a June ad in which the NRA attacked Clinton over Benghazi in support of Republican nominee Donald Trump, whom the gun group has endorsed.

    Media Matters identified the cemetery in that ad as Alexandria National Cemetery in Virginia. The cemetery, which is primarily made up of Civil War-era graves, is located near Old Town, Alexandria, which is home to the headquarters for NRA News and an office of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm.

    At the time, veterans groups slammed the NRA for using a military cemetery in an ad. A national spokesperson for Veterans of Foreign Wars told Media Matters, “Don’t use our dead to score political points. We fought for everybody’s First Amendment rights and everything, but we don’t want any candidate using our dead to score political points.”

    Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org, responded with a statement that said, "This ad should be taken down immediately. It is insensitive to those buried at the cemetery -- most, if not all, of whom died before Benghazi, and many of whom may not have been NRA supporters. Further, it violates Veterans Affairs policy. It should be taken down."

    And yet the NRA continues to use the footage in its attack ads. In contrast, several  organizations other than the NRA that had aired images and footage from national cemeteries in political ads either altered or removed them. In 1999, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign aired an ad featuring unauthorized footage filmed at Arlington National Cemetery, and  the campaign admitted fault and recut the ad to remove the footage. More recently, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) pulled a 2014 ad that was filmed at a North Dakota veterans cemetery.

  • Debate Guide For Media On Trump And Gun Policy

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While the issue of gun violence and gun policy was a common topic of discussion during the Democratic presidential primary debates, Republican nominee Donald Trump gave less than three minutes worth of answers on the issue across 12 GOP primary debates. But gun-related issues have caused several flashpoints throughout Trump’s campaign, including when he claimed that “Second Amendment people” could do something about the election of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

  • NRA’s Ted Nugent Promotes His Trump Campaign Ad Appearance By Comparing The Present To Revolutionary War Times

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent promoted his appearance in a campaign video for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with a message claiming that politicians currently engage in the “very stuff our forefathers declared their independence from, fought a revolution over, died for and warned us against allowing.”

    Nugent appeared in a September 18 ad about hunting and the Second Amendment released by the Trump campaign where he claimed that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American.”

    In a September 21 post on his Facebook page promoting the video and urging people to vote for Trump, Nugent wrote, “The list of high crimes and misdemeanors professional politicians have committed against us is the very stuff our forefathers declared their independence from, fought a revolution over, died for and warned us against allowing”:

    Nugent has previously invoked revolutionary times to threaten political violence. During an appearance at a 2013 gun industry trade show, Nugent claimed the Obama administration "is attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George" and that "if you want another Concord Bridge, I got some buddies." The Battle of Concord, one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War, was fought at the North Bridge in Concord, MA.

    That same year at a concert, Nugent said, “When the British came to take our guns we met them at Concord Bridge and we blew their fucking brains out ... 2013, happening all over again, we got to be ready.”

    Nugent has recently repeated a similar line at a July concert, saying, “I love when American shit-kickers hear that the British are coming to Concord Bridge to take away our guns, so we went to Concord Bridge and we shot the motherfuckers dead. So next time if any assholes try to come and try to take your guns, meet them at the bridge and shoot the motherfuckers dead. That’s what I said. I don't care who the fuck they are.”

    Earlier this year Nugent called for Clinton and President Obama to be hanged for treason.

    Nugent has a long history of making racist and other inflammatory commentary. In 2016 alone, Nugent has promoted anti-Semitic content, used a racial slur against a Latino critic, promoted misogynist reasons why guns are better than women, shared a racist meme advertising the fake moving company “2 niggers and a stolen truck,” and smeared Minnesota police shooting victim Philando Castile as a criminal. In 2015, Nugent devoted an entire column to praising the use of the word “nigger,” even in a racist context.

    In May, Nugent, who has endorsed Trump for president, promoted a fake video of Clinton being shot. In an August post on his Facebook page calling for people to vote for Trump, Nugent termed Clinton a “lying hypocrite bitch.” He has also called the former secretary of state a “toxic cunt.” In a viral 2007 concert video, an assault-rifle-wielding Nugent called Clinton a “worthless bitch” and said that she should ride on his machine gun.

  • Media Credulously Repeat NRA’s False Claim That Clinton Opposes Gun Ownership

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Media outlets reporting on the NRA’s new $5 million ad buy that claims Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “could take away” your “right to self-defense” failed to hold the gun organization to account for the falsity of that claim. While media reporting on the ad repeated and gave credence to the NRA’s claims, they often failed to cite Clinton’s actual positions on gun regulation or mention the fact-checkers who have debunked a nearly identical NRA ad targeting Clinton as “false.”

  • “Always A Good Point”: Fox News Anchor Boosts NRA’s New False Attack Ad On Hillary Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News aired a new attack ad from the NRA that misrepresents Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s record to falsely claim she “could take away” your “right to self-defense.” Before and after airing the ad, Fox personalities gave credence to its faulty premise.

    A new $5 million ad buy from the NRA depicts a home invasion attack where a woman is awoken in her home as a man kicks in her door. The woman begins to open a gun safe to retrieve a weapon but the gun vanishes as a narrator says, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense.” The premise of the ad, which suggests Clinton would ban gun ownership, is false: Clinton has repeatedly said that legitimate Second Amendment rights should be protected while she advocated for expanding background checks on gun sales and other measures to prevent dangerous people from accessing guns. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.” Fact-checkers have repeatedly rated as false the claims that Clinton opposes gun ownership by law-abiding Americans and that she would abolish the Second Amendment.

    Fox’s The Real Story aired the NRA ad on September 20. Fox News national correspondent John Roberts credulously gave credence to the ad’s claim with his lead-in: “It's a $5 million buy in five battleground states in which they take aim at Hillary Clinton and her push for new gun control and what that means -- might mean, rather, for people's safety. Watch this.”

    After the ad aired, Roberts said an NRA representative told him that “this ad is particularly timely right now considering what happened in New York City and New Jersey over the weekend and the fact that Donald Trump last week called out Hillary Clinton for wanting to implement new gun controls while at the same time keeping a phalanx of armed guards around her.”

    Real Story host Melissa Francis responded, “Right. Right. Always a good point.”

    In fact, the Republican nominee's claim that Clinton’s Secret Service detail should disarm, which echoes a common NRA attack on Clinton, is also based on the falsehood that Clinton opposes private gun ownership.

    From the September 20 edition of The Real Story:

     

  • Flashback: Trump Was Silent When The NRA Cased A Real Mall To Show How To Carry Out The “Perfect” Terrorist Attack

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump recently suggested that “freedom of the press” should be limited because of the existence of magazines that show terrorists how to build bombs, but had nothing to say in July when the NRA released a video in which they cased an Oklahoma mall to demonstrate how to carry out a successful terrorist attack.

    While discussing the weekend bombings in New Jersey and New York on Fox News, Trump made critical statements about “freedom of the press” and “freedom of expression,” claiming, “It’s called ‘freedom of the press,’ where you buy magazines and they tell you how to make these same bombs that I saw.” Trump added, “we should arrest the people that do that because they’re participating in crime”:

    The Huffington Post called Trump’s remarks “chilling” because of Trump’s “casual dismissal of ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of speech,’ bedrocks of American democracy, as potentially disposable in fighting terrorism.” Fusion also criticized Trump’s remarks, noting that they should be examined in the context of Trump’s widely panned past comments about wanting to “open” up libel laws to make it easier to sue journalists.

    Despite Trump’s recent comments connecting terrorism and "freedom of the press," Trump was not as critical in July when the National Rifle Association, which has endorsed Trump for president, released a video where an NRA employee cased a real shopping mall in Oklahoma to show how to carry out the “perfect” mass shooting terrorist attack.

    In the video, released as part of an online series, NRA News commentator Dom Raso warned of a hypothetical, forthcoming mass shooting at a shopping mall carried about by “a radical Islamic terrorist” who “is looking for gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms.”

    Although there is no evidence that mass shooters choose their targets based on whether or not guns can be legally carried at those locations, the NRA attempted to illustrate its point by sending a member of its video crew to record cell phone video footage showing how to case a shopping mall.

    The NRA video blurred out some faces and store signs, but not others, making the mall identifiable as Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, OK, which is less than a mile from the offices of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm.

    As footage of the mall and shoppers was shown in the NRA video, Raso explained how to maximize casualties in a mass shooting incident, describing a would-be shooter’s planning, “As he walks through nearby shopping malls, he’s looking at the exits. He wants them to be few and far between -- hard to find in a panic, and easy to block. He wants lots of open area, high ground, and places to channelize people.”

  • NRA Ad Uses Home Invasion Footage To Lie And Fearmonger About Clinton And Guns

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) depicting a woman as a victim of a home invasion falsely claims Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “could take away” your “right to self-defense.”

    The ad is false because Clinton has repeatedly said that she favors allowing law-abiding gun ownership and that she supports the Second Amendment while also calling for measures to prevent dangerous people from accessing weapons. Fact-checkers have ripped a previous false ad that claimed Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense” and the false claim by Republican nominee Donald Trump that Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment.”

    The NRA’s new September 19 ad depicts a woman being awoken in her home as a man kicks in her door. She begins to open a gun safe to retrieve a weapon but the gun vanishes into thin air as a narrator says, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense”:

    NARRATOR: She’ll call 911. Average response time: 11 minutes. Too late. She keeps a firearm in this safe for protection, but Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense. And with Supreme Court justices, Hillary can. Don’t let Hillary leave you protected with nothing but a phone.

    According to The Guardian, the ad is part of a $15 million effort by the NRA, which has endorsed Trump, to defeat Clinton. Federal Election Commission documents indicate that the NRA, through its Political Victory Fund and Institute for Legislative Action, has been the second biggest spender on independent expenditures opposing Clinton, only second to pro-Trump Super PAC Rebuilding America Now.

    The ad is premised on the lie that Clinton opposes gun ownership by law-abiding Americans. Clinton has never said she opposes gun ownership. In fact, Clinton’s campaign website says she “knows that gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities.”

    And in recent months Clinton has repeatedly said that legitimate Second Amendment rights should be protected while she advocated for expanding background checks on gun sales and other measures. She has also explained that you can call for stronger gun laws “and still support the right of people to own guns.” (According to PolitiFact, Clinton’s legal view of the Second Amendment appears similar to the Bush administration's position “recognizing the right but allowing reasonable curtailment.”)

    During her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton said, “I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

    In May, PolitiFact rated the claim Clinton “wants to abolish the Second Amendment” false, finding “no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite.”

    The previous NRA ad claiming Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense,” which ran throughout August, was rated as false by PolitiFact North Carolina and The Washington Post Fact Checker, with PolitiFact noting “Clinton has never said that” and Glenn Kessler at the Post writing that the ad is “a classic example of a fear-mongering ad based on little evidence but leaps of logic.”

    The juxtaposition of images of a home invasion with false claims about a candidate’s record is a common tactic in NRA election ads. Earlier this month the NRA launched a home invasion-themed ad that used the same b-roll seen in the NRA’s new Clinton ad to falsely claim that Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander “voted against your right” to “protect your home with a firearm.” (Kander, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, responded with a viral ad of his own showing him assembling a firearm blindfolded while talking about the need to protect Second Amendment rights while keeping guns away from terrorists.)

    In 2014, an NRA ad showed the same home invasion footage while claiming that then-Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu “voted to take away your gun rights.” In that ad, the NRA cited Landrieu’s vote in favor of expanding background checks on gun sales following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

    PolitiFact rated the ad “pants on fire,” calling it “downright scary” and noting that it “can only be described as fear mongering.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker similarly gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” -- its worst rating -- citing the “hyperbolic disconnect between the images on the screen and the practical impact of the law in question.”

  • New Trump Ad Features NRA Board Member Ted Nugent, Who Has Called For Clinton To Be Hanged

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new advertisement from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign about hunting and the Second Amendment features National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, who claims Hillary Clinton “will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American.” Earlier this year, Nugent called for Clinton to be hanged for treason.

    The eight-minute video features other conservative media figures including Fox News host Sean Hannity, frequent Fox News guest and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and Mark Geist, the co-author of 13 Hours, about the 2012 attacks on American diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    Nugent has a long history of making racist and other inflammatory commentary. In 2016 alone, Nugent has promoted anti-Semitic content, used a racial slur against a Latino critic, promoted misogynist reasons why guns are better than women, shared a racist meme advertising the fake moving company “2 niggers and a stolen truck,” and smeared Minnesota police shooting victim Philando Castile as a criminal. In 2015, Nugent devoted an entire column to praising the use of the word “nigger,” even in a racist context.

    Nugent, who has endorsed Trump for president, this year has called for Clinton to be hanged for treason and promoted a fake video of her being shot. In an August post on his Facebook page calling for people to vote for Trump, Nugent termed Clinton a “lying hypocrite bitch.” He has also called the former secretary of state a “toxic cunt.” In a viral 2007 concert video, an assault-rifle-wielding Nugent called Clinton a “worthless bitch” and said that she should ride on his machine gun.

    In August, Bud Light pulled sponsorship of a Nugent concert following reporting from Media Matters about the beer company's association with Nugent. Nugent caused a national controversy in 2014 by campaigning with Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. Abbott was slammed -- including by fellow Republicans -- for the association after Nugent called President Obama a "subhuman mongrel."

    In Trump’s ad, Nugent says, “The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Ten Commandments, the golden rule. We the people, choosing our own pursuit of happiness: It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Hunting, fishing, trapping: We the people own these precious renewable natural resources. It’s a way of life, which is why conservation is the greatest success story in the world here in America. Hillary Clinton is against all these things. She will destroy the freedom that is uniquely American. Donald Trump will safeguard the things that make America the greatest place in the world.”

    Nugent is promoting the Trump ad on his Facebook page, just hours after claiming victims of a September 17 stabbing spree at a Minnesota mall are “pathetic” and “embarrassing” because they were unarmed.

    At the end of the ad, Trump says, “Political correctness, Hillary Clinton, and Washington insiders are trying to take away our Second Amendment rights and they’re really trying hard like never ever before. That’s wrong, and it won’t happen when I’m president. I will protect your rights. I will protect your Second Amendment.”

    Trump’s full ad:

  • NRA’s Ted Nugent: Victims Of Minnesota Stabbing Spree Were “Pathetic” And “Embarrassing” Because They Were Unarmed

    Nugent: “Apparently Most Americans Like Being Victims”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent attacked victims of a stabbing spree at a Minnesota mall, calling them “so pathetic” and claiming, “Apparently most Americans like being victims as it is clear they are incapable of waking up to self defense 101.”

    During the evening of September 17, a man used a knife to attack shoppers at Crossroads Center, a mall in St. Cloud, MN. Nine victims received injuries that were weren't life-threatening before the perpetrator was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Nugent reacted to the attack by writing on Facebook, “Unarmed & helpless is so pathetic. Apparently most Americans like being victims as it is clear they are incapable of waking up to self defense 101. Sad soulless & embarrassing”:

    In a October 2015 column at conspiracy website WorldNetDaily following a mass shooting at an Oregon community college, Nugent wrote that “losers" who don't carry a gun "get cut down by murderous maniacs like blind sheep to slaughter.” (Students on campus were actually armed at the time of the attack.)

    Nugent’s WND column appears to be defunct. In recent months he has been using his Facebook page to publish a series of columns in support of GOP nominee Donald Trump that all end with the statement, “Let’s make America great again. Vote Trump for president.”

  • NRA Claims NC Sen. Candidate "Opposed Your Right To Self-Defense" Because She Voted Against NRA's Pro-Domestic Abuser Bill

    Ross Voted Against Bill To Allow Domestic Abusers To Own Guns

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) against North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross falsely claims Ross “opposed your right to self-defense” while serving as a member of North Carolina’s legislature.  

    But the vote cited by the NRA was not on legislation about the meaning of the “right to self-defense” -- in fact, the bill contained a provision to allow people subject to protective orders for domestic violence to own guns.

    On September 14, the NRA released an ad that claims that, while a member of North Carolina House of Representatives, “Ross voted against personal liberty. Ross voted for gun control. Ross opposed your right to self-defense.”

    According to The Charlotte Observer the ad is airing in Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington and the ad buy brings the total amount spent by the NRA in favor of Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr to $3 million.

    The NRA ad cites Ross’ 2011 vote against House Bill 650 to support its claim Ross “opposed your right to self-defense”:

    HB 650 was an omnibus bill strongly backed by the NRA that contained numerous provisions loosening North Carolina’s gun laws. The bill was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bev Perdue in June 2011. Among the bill’s provisions was a change to Chapter 50B of North Carolina’s domestic violence law. While before the law was enacted, people subject to a protective order because of domestic violence were prohibited from both owning and possessing firearms, the law was changed by HB650 to allow domestic abusers to own guns so long as they were not in the abuser’s possession -- a provision that allows abusers easier access to firearms.

    According to academic research, “domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun.”

    Taking into account the other provisions of the bill -- which loosened rules on carrying guns in public buildings and on state property and made it easier for North Carolinians to buy guns across state lines and to buy machine-guns and silencers that are highly restricted under federal law -- voting against the legislation cannot be truthfully equated with opposing the right to self-defense. As it relates to firearms, the right to self-defense is presently described by the Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller to encapsulate the right of law-abiding people to have a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense.

    Opposing the loosening of gun laws -- including making it easier for violent domestic abusers to access weapons -- does not mean opposing the core self-defense right defined by then-Justice Antonin Scalia in the conservative Heller decision. 

    Ross has responded to the ad with a statement that said it was being run “to distract from Sen. Burr’s reckless votes against a commonsense, bipartisan measure that would require dangerous criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to get a background check before buying a gun at a gun show or online.”

  • Trump Campaign Accepts Donations From White Nationalist Leaders

    Self-Described “Racist” Trump Donor: “Jews Have To Leave America”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    The campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump accepted donations from Michael Polignano and Peter Brimelow, white nationalists who both manage virulently racist publications.

    Polignano is the managing editor and webmaster for Counter-Currents, a website and publishing company that publishes white nationalist and pro-Hitler material. Polignano describes himself as a “racist” (“a badge of honor”) and has written that “Jews have to leave America” because they are a “major cause” of America’s problems; claimed there’s been “more than a century of lies about the Civil War and Reconstruction, and more than half a century of lies about the Third Reich and World War II”; claimed blacks are inferior to whites; and cited David Duke as an inspiration for his work.

    Brimelow is the editor of VDare.com, a white nationalist and anti-immigrant website. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that he is “one of the leading voices in the anti-immigrant movement” and his site “publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others on the radical right.”

    Members of the “alt-right” and white nationalist movement have been heavily supporting Trump’s campaign. Trump and his campaign have engaged in a courtship with white nationalists that includes appearing on white nationalist programs, refusing to denounce them, and retweeting their accounts. Trump running mate Mike Pence recently refused to call former Klan leader David Duke “deplorable” -- a move that brought praise from white nationalists.

    Polignano has donated a total of $214.12 this election cycle to Trump’s presidential campaign, according to Trump’s Federal Election Commission filing. Polignano’s ties to the white nationalist Counter-Currents are readily apparent -- Trump’s FEC report listed Polignano’s employer as “Counter-Currents Publishing” and his occupation as “managing editor” and “webmaster.”

    Polignano wrote on his personal Facebook page in May that he’s “visiting Trump Tower again on Monday to purchase more Make America Great Again hats” and offered to buy the hats for his “European comrades” who could not legally purchase them because “the hats qualify as a campaign contribution”:

    The Trump campaign transferred $4.80 Brimelow had donated to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee -- the joint fundraising group between the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign -- to its campaign coffers in July.

    Joint fundraising committees agree to split the proceeds of donations; in other words, the $4.80 the Trump campaign received is only a portion of what Brimelow donated overall. (It’s not immediately clear how much Brimelow donated, as the joint RNC-Trump committee’s quarterly deadline filing is next month.)

    Brimelow is listed as being a "journalist" with News Corp. in the required FEC disclosure information. Brimelow previously worked for the News Corp.-owned financial site MarketWatch. Brimelow did not respond to email requests for comment about his donation or clarification about why he listed News Corp. as his employer.

    The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September from white nationalist leader William Daniel Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. Johnson was also selected as a convention delegate by the Trump campaign but resigned following media exposure.

    "Racist" Editor Michael Polignano: “Jews Have To Leave America,” “More Than Half A Century Of Lies About The Third Reich”

    The Washington Post reported in March 2015 that Counter-Currents “exists to advance the books of noted neo-Nazis and the creation of an all-white nationalist state.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, wrote that Counter-Currents is a “pseudo-intellectual white nationalist website and publishing house that caters to ‘academic racists.’”

    Polignano wrote in his 2010 book Taking Our Own Side that “high testosterone production also means that Black men are more prone to aggressive behavior” and “Compared to Whites, Blacks also have lower IQs and levels of empathy, weaker senses of personal efficacy and responsibility, greater propensities to sociopathy and psychosis, fewer behavioral inhibitions, greater impulsiveness, higher sexual activity and lower parental investment, etc.”

    In 2003, Polignano first proposed creating “a White People’s Party,” which “would have a single goal: to protect and advance the interests of Whites in today’s multicultural, anti-White America. … The White People’s Party would not accept the membership or support of Jews and non-Whites. We would not work for their interests, and we could not expect them to sincerely work for ours.”

    He wrote that he is happy to be called a racist and does “not regard this as a smear, but as a badge of honor” (emphasis in original):

    “You’ll be smeared as racists.”

    Of course we will. We are racists. But we do not regard this as a smear, but as a badge of honor. Race is real. Different races are genetically capable of different ways of life, just as different breeds of dog are genetically capable of different ways of life. American civilization cannot be maintained by replacing Whites with non-Whites anymore than poodles can replace sheepdogs and chihuahuas can replace sled dogs. Racism is an objective and enlightened viewpoint, and we will not apologize for it.

    Polignano claimed that “Jews have to leave America” because “they are a major cause” of America’s problems:

    Any organization that does not explicitly exclude Jews will end up being dominated and subverted by them. No sense letting them put their noses under the tent.

    That is why Jews have to leave America. They dominate the leading institutions of our culture: the political parties, the news and entertainment media, the arts, the education system, banking and finance. And they subvert these institutions to pursue Jewish interests at the expense of White interests. They are not the sole cause of America’s problems, but they are a major cause, and there is no way to save this country without first taking them on.

    Polignano wants to “end non-White immigration completely, deport all illegal non-White immigrants, and then repatriate all non-White immigrants who have arrived since 1965, as well as their descendants.” He also wants to “make sterilization, birth control, and abortion available to non-Whites free of charge” and “ensure the freedom of Whites to own guns while restricting the freedom of non-Whites.”

    He also wrote that there’s been “more than half a century of lies about the Third Reich and World War II” and that his proposed “White People’s Party” would accept the support of Nazis and Klansmen:

    The party I propose would not be affiliated with any other pro-White group, including National Socialist and Klan groups. We would neither endorse nor condemn such groups, and we would gladly accept their support, as we would gladly accept the support of all pro-White individuals and organizations.

    It is hard enough to persuade people that the White race is in danger and that Whites must rally to protect themselves. It would be harder still to combat more than a century of lies about the Civil War and Reconstruction, and more than half a century of lies about the Third Reich and World War II. Fortunately, it is not necessary.

    But we’ll still be smeared as Nazis and Klansmen. Our enemies will call us every name in the book. But, unlike conservative and libertarian cowards, we’ll make no special effort to avoid or refute such smears. Such efforts are pointless, because our enemies will not be concerned with justice or accuracy. Besides, those who hesitate to defend ideas merely because they are shared by unfashionable individuals clearly lack courage and conviction.

    Our standard response to all attempts to discredit us in the public mind by linking us to Nazis, the KKK, and other demonized groups would be: “To the extent that Nazis and Klansmen support our pro-White agenda, that is to their credit.” We will never apologize for pursuing what is right and good.

    Polignano wrote in the preface of his book that one of the high points of his life “was when David Duke invited me to speak at the International European American Unity and Leadership Conference held in New Orleans on Memorial Day weekend, 2004.” Polignano also thanked Duke and other white nationalists for having “helped make these essays and this book possible.”

    The Polignano-managed Counter-Currents publishes content that celebrates Hitler and Nazis. It distributes the work of the late William Pierce; The New York Times wrote that Pierce “built an organization of young supporters for George Wallace for president into the nation's largest neo-Nazi group.” Counter-Currents distributes the work of Savitri Devi, who "devoted her life to Nazism" and Holocaust denialism. 

    Counter-Currents Editor-in-Chief Greg Johnson is a neo-Nazi. In an essay headlined “The Burden of Hitler, 2014,” he lionized Hitler for having fought “for our race as a whole”:

    It is contemptible, because it is essentially an attempt to curry favor with our enemies and pander to ignoramuses and fools by throwing a loyal white man under the bus. And make no mistake: Adolf Hitler, whatever his faults, was a loyal white man who fought and died not just for Germany, but for our race as a whole.

    […]

    Jews are promoting conditions that are leading to the genocide of the white race. They are not doing this out of “self-defense” against Hitler’s aggression, since they were doing it when Hitler was just a common soldier in the Great War. Indeed, the truth is that Hitler did whatever he did in self-defense against Jewish aggression — the same Jewish aggression that we are suffering today in a much intensified form.

    Peter Brimelow: The White Nationalist Leader Behind Anti-Immigrant Website VDare

    The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Brimelow’s site VDare.com is “an immigrant-bashing hate site that regularly publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others on the radical right.” SPLC added that Brimelow is “himself an immigrant (from England), a fact that he regularly brings up when he worriedly notes that his son, with his ‘blue eyes’ and ‘blond hair,’ could grow up in an America in which whites have lost their population majority. For Brimelow, immigration itself is not the problem — it's the influx of non-whites that is destroying America.” From the group’s profile of Brimelow:

    A former editor at Forbes magazine and past columnist at the conservative National Review, Peter Brimelow is one of the leading voices in the anti-immigrant movement. Interestingly, he is himself an immigrant (from England), a fact that he regularly brings up when he worriedly notes that his son, with his "blue eyes" and "blond hair," could grow up in an America in which whites have lost their population majority. For Brimelow, immigration itself is not the problem — it's the influx of non-whites that is destroying America.

    Brimelow's racial views about America first gained attention in 1995, when he published Alien Nation, a book that argued that America is historically white-dominated and should stay that way. The book was written in a genial style and was careful to treat black Americans as part of the polity. Although the book was well reviewed in some places, it included strong veins of racism and xenophobia. Brimelow described the role of race as "elemental, absolute, fundamental." He said that white Americans should demand that U.S. immigration quotas be changed to allow in mostly whites. He argued that spending tax dollars on anything related to multiculturalism was "subversive." He called foreign immigrants "weird aliens with dubious habits." At one point, he wrote that if one enters an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, just like walking into a New York City subway, "you find yourself in an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored." By 1997, Brimelow was warning that by 2008 the GOP would no longer be able to compete in presidential elections because the racial makeup of the electorate would be changed by non-white immigration.

    Brimelow has repeatedly praised Trump throughout the presidential campaign. He applauded the Trump campaign for hiring Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon, stating that “Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and [has] done great stuff on immigration in particular.” After Trump attacked an American-born judge for his Mexican heritage, Brimelow wrote: “Diversity is not strength, and it above all is not an impartial judiciary.”

    In December, he wrote a fundraising appeal praising Trump for running "on the patriotic immigration reform issue." Brimelow wrote that VDare has "defended Trump on Hispanic rapists (they are a problem), black-on-white crime (he's right), ending Muslim immigration (it's legal), ending birthright citizenship (it's legal too), etc. etc."

  • Fox News’ Coded Language About School Safety 

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    It’s been one year since news figures seized on the story of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim American child in Texas who was taken from his school in handcuffs for bringing a “suspicious” homemade alarm clock to class. Last September, Fox News’ coverage of Mohamed’s arrest revealed a long-held tendency to selectively invoke the language of “school safety” to conveniently push conservative stances on immigration, national security, LGBT rights, and guns, while ignoring threats to the safety of the most vulnerable populations in our schools.

    When Fox News talks about “school safety,”  the ensuing conversation is exactly what you’d expect from a network with a median viewer age of 68 and a prime-time viewership that’s only 1.1 percent black. For Fox and its viewers, a predictable line exists between those individuals worthy of protection and those who represent perceived threats. Here’s what we’ve seen on Fox since Ahmed’s arrest made headlines last fall.

    Fox Pushes Islamophobic Rhetoric While Muslim Students Get Bullied

    Fox News Pushed Islamophobic Talking Points In Ahmed Mohamed Coverage

    In September 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested at his Irving, TX, middle school and brought to a local police station in handcuffs after he was reported for bringing a “suspicious” homemade alarm clock to his classroom. In the weeks of national media coverage of the incident that followed, Fox News figures dismissed Mohamed’s traumatic experience and used the incident to justify profiling.

    The network aired segments vilifying the child, claiming that progressives were hypocritical or willfully exploitative for suggesting Mohamed’s arrest was influenced by Islamophobia, and hyping so-called connections between Mohamed’s family members and terrorists. The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld summarized this convoluted position: “Try bringing a clock that looks like a bomb to the White House. Actually, no, don’t try it; you’ve seen what they do to people who jump fences. So why is this school’s safety a joke, but President Obama’s isn’t? Because for [Obama], and the media, the story fits the assumption of an America that hates Muslims. Yup, it’s our fault for reacting when a kid brings a wired-up box to a place filled with kids in a state where terror has occurred.”

    Muslim Students Are Experiencing More Bullying And Fear Because Of Their Faith

    According to a survey conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, classroom teachers are reporting more incidents of identity-based bullying and fear particularly among students from immigrant and Muslim families, a trend that appears to be connected to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric -- which Fox News has actively legitimized for years. A California study released just months after Mohamed’s arrest found that the majority of American Muslim students in the state reported experiencing physical and verbal bullying because of their faith in 2014. An in-depth report from The Guardian explained the trend:

    Words are the most common weapon of school bullies, but in the past month, anti-Muslim sentiment in schools is increasingly manifesting in physical attacks, particularly against girls who wear the hijab. On 19 November, three boys allegedly beat up a sixth-grade girl wearing a hijab, calling her “Isis”. A 2014 study by Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) study found 29% of students who wore hijab experienced offensive touching or pulling of their scarves.

    [...]

    Fifty-five percent of Muslim students surveyed by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) last year reported that they were bullied at school in some form because of their Islamic faith. That’s twice the national percentage of bullying reported by all students, regardless of their religion. According to the CAIR survey, verbal harassment is the most common, with non-Muslims calling Muslim students terrorists or referencing bombs. But physical assaults also occur.

    These incidents are taking a psychological toll on Muslim youth. “At a crucial time in their identity development, they’re suffering from chronic trauma,” says Dr Halim Naeem, a psychotherapist and president of The Institute of Muslim Mental Health. Dr Naeem says that in the past few months alone, he has seen increased cases of depression, anxiety, image issues, paranoia, and substance abuse among Muslim American youth. In the short term, the constant stress wreaks havoc on students’ immune systems and destroys their focus, disrupting learning ability.

    Fox Pushes Guns In Schools, But Experts Say That Doesn’t Help

    Fox News Believes Having More Guns In Schools Helps Create Safe Environments

    In the wake of recent mass shootings, Fox News figures voices have repeatedly pushed arming educators or allowing more guns in schools as a way to improve student and teacher safety, and irresponsibly spread dangerous misinformation about school safety best practices. Immediately following the 2012 mass shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Fox News began calling for teachers to be armed -- even as school security experts, educators, and others argue that bringing guns into schools would make classrooms more dangerous and worsen learning environments for students. When a Texas school district moved to arm some of its teachers in 2014, the network devoted at least two segments to celebrating the decision and pushing the long-debunked myth (peddled by the NRA) that “a good guy with a gun” would prevent mass shootings. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade praised the initiative: “If you want to drop your kid off and know that they are going to be protected, you know at least in that school they are going to be protected.” Last year, Fox & Friends co-hosts again demonstrated a misguided understanding of school safety when they encouraged young children to physically confront gunmen, rather than first try to escape, and then hide -- and only confront the guman as a last resort -- as experts advise in the event of an active shooter situation.

    Evidence Shows Guns In Schools Only Increase The Likelihood Of Violence, Especially For Students Of Color

    As the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, wrote back in 2014, educators have long expressed an overwhelming desire to keep firearms out of classrooms and to strengthen gun violence prevention measures. Research has shown that greater access to guns in general creates greater risk for accidents and misfires. Gun access corresponds with increased risk of homicide, and gun-related deaths in the home are now the second most likely cause of death for children and teens. There’s also little evidence the presence of armed security staff in schools makes them any safer. Advocates are pushing for better training and reformed responsibilities for these positions to emphasize restorative justice and de-escalation techniques, as well as student and community needs, in order to combat current racial disparities in schools’ use of armed security officers.

    Fox Pushes Debunked “Bathroom Laws” That Actually Threaten LGBT Safety In Schools

    Fox News Believes Bogus “Bathroom Laws” Keep Children Safe From So-Called “Predators”

    Fox News figures have been instrumental in pushing the right-wing myth that gender-inclusive bathrooms in schools allow adult men to prey on children. The network has routinely either fearmongered about schools’ efforts to make their bathrooms safe for all students to use or mocked inclusive bathroom policies altogether. More than two years after Media Matters first debunked the “bathroom predator” myth, Fox News continues to push dangerous rhetoric about nondiscrimination policies. In April, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt hyped the disingenuous claim that nondiscrimination laws could lead to “a grown adult man” with “bad intentions” sneaking into “the little girls’ bathroom.” In May, Sean Hannity mocked inclusive bathroom policies on his radio show, proposing “liberal bathroom areas” where “you can have all the transgendered back-and-forth that you want.” In June, Tucker Carlson called the Democratic National Convention’s gender-neutral bathrooms “disgusting.”

    But There Is No Evidence Of Predatory Incidents In School Bathrooms, And “Bathroom Bills” Threaten The Safety Of LGBT Students

    After speaking to officials at 23 school districts and four universities that allow transgender students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, Media Matters failed to find any evidence of incidents of inappropriate bathroom behavior. Law enforcement experts and people who work with survivors of sexual assault have referred to this persistent myth as “beyond specious” and “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

    In fact, school officials and educators’ groups continue to support efforts to boost nondiscriminatory bathroom policies and have pointed out the need for LGBT students to have these types of basic protections. Research shows LGBT students overwhelmingly report experiences of bullying in schools today, and efforts to distract from the needs of LGBT students with fearmongering and mockery certainly don’t help. In its guidelines for supporting transgender and gender diverse students, the American Psychological Association recommends that schools provide accessible facilities that match a student’s gender identity as one way to address the high rates of victimization and hostility transgender students report. In fact, opposition to nondiscrimination policies can further stigmatize and single out transgender students, leading to more reports of bullying and an increased risk of suicide. Advocates for survivors of sexual assault have also pointed out that perpetuating the “bathroom predator” myth can have dangerous consequences: Relying on stereotypical predator imagery to talk about sexual assault diverts attention and resources from finding solutions to keep women and girls safe.   

  • NRA Lobbying Arm Lobs Falsehood-Filled Attacks Against Initiative To Expand Background Checks For Gun Sales In Maine

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, released an ad falsely attacking Question 3, a Maine ballot initiative that would expand background checks on gun sales.

    The initiative, which will be on the ballot November 8, would require (with exceptions) individuals who are not licensed firearms dealers but wish to sell or transfer a firearm to go to a gun store, where the recipient of the firearm would undergo a background check before a transfer is completed.

    A new ad from the NRA-ILA, however, distorts what Question 3 proposes to do by misleading about the current state of background checks in Maine and also by offering a falsehood about how the new background check law would work.

    In its September 7 ad, the NRA-ILA claims proponents of the ballot initiative “say Question 3 is about background checks. We already have those in federal law.”

    In fact, Question 3 aims to close a loophole in federal law that allows prohibited people such as domestic abusers and felons to avoid undergoing a background check when obtaining a firearm. While the federal system has stopped more than 2 million prohibited sales over the last two decades, it requires only those individuals who are “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to obtain a license and perform background checks on customers.

    People who say that they are not "engaged in the business" of selling firearms do not need a license and are not required to run checks on their customers. This discrepancy is what is known as the "private sale loophole" or "gun show loophole,” and significant numbers of firearms are transfered through these types of sales, including in Maine.  

    The NRA-ILA ad also sweepingly -- and falsely -- claims, “Let’s say you loan your shotgun to a neighbor. You both have to drive to a dealer to get permission before you do it. And then you’d have to go back to a dealer and get another background check when he returns it.”

    In fact, that type of temporary transfer could easily fall into one of the exceptions to the background check requirement included in the law that Question 3 would enact.

    For example, in a section addressing temporary transfers, the background check requirement is waived if  “the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in the commission of a crime” and if the transfer occurs during participation in shooting sports or hunting, or if the transferee remains in the presence of the transferor while the loan occurs.

    Further, the background check requirement would also be waived in a situation where a neighbor wanted to borrow a firearm “to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm”:

    The transfer is temporary and is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, and: (1) The transfer lasts only as long as necessary to prevent such threat; and (2) The transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee is disqualified to possess firearms under state or federal law and has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in the commission of a crime;

    Question 3 also exempts family members from the background check requirement for loans and permanent transfers.

    The NRA previously launched dishonest attacks against a ballot initiative to expand background checks in Washington state, misleading about temporary transfers and other exceptions to the background check requirement. That measure passed by a wide margin in 2014.

    UPDATE: On September 13, the NRA released a similar ad for television that falsely claimed, "Let's say you loan your neighbor a shotgun. You both have to drive to a dealer and get permission. If you don't, jail." The claim in the newly released ad is even more sweeping than the falsehood appearing in the NRA's September 7 radio ad. 

    The NRA's new ad, which complains that "New Yorkers" are "trying to tell Mainers how to live" also included a misshapen map of Maine that fails to include the western part of the state:

     

     

  • NRA’s Home Invasion Attack Ad Targeting Missouri Senate Candidate Is Debunked By NRA’s Own Website

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) depicting a woman as a victim of a home invasion falsely attacks Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander with the claim, “You have the right to protect your home with a firearm. But liberal politician Jason Kander voted against your right.”

    But the legislation cited in the ad wasn’t about “the right to protect your home with a firearm”; instead -- as explained by a since-deleted post on the NRA’s website -- it was a bill to expand self-defense rights outside of the home, similar to controversial Stand Your Ground laws.

    Kander, Missouri’s secretary of state and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is facing incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who has been endorsed by the NRA.

    In the NRA’s September 8 ad, a narrator says, “It’s 4 a.m. and something’s not right. You have a right to protect your home with a firearm. But liberal politician Jason Kander voted against your right. … Jason Kander refused to defend your Second Amendment rights in Jefferson City. How could you trust him in Washington?” During the voiceover, a shadowy figure is seen kicking in a door while a woman sleeps. According to FEC filings, the NRA Political Victory Fund filed a September 6 notice announcing more than $650,000 in advertising spending against Kander.

    In support of its claim about Kander’s record, the NRA cites a vote Kander made on House Bill 668 in 2009 while serving in the Missouri House of Representatives:

    But according to an archived version of the NRA’s website, H.B. 668 “would expand Missouri’s Castle Doctrine to now include your private property boundaries” -- meaning it would have expanded the self-defense protections already available in the home to outdoor property:

    As the text of the bill confirms, when H.B. 668 was being considered, Missouri’s self-defense law already provided that there is no duty to retreat before using force, including deadly force, in the home: “A person does not have a duty to retreat from a dwelling, residence, or vehicle where the person is not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining.”

    The juxtaposition of images of a home invasion with false claims about a candidate’s record is a common tactic in NRA election ads. In 2014, an NRA ad showed a home invasion while claiming that then-Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu “voted to take away your gun rights.” In that ad, the NRA cited Landrieu’s vote in favor of expanding background checks on gun sales following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

    PolitiFact rated the ad “pants on fire,” calling it “downright scary” and noting that it “can only be described as fear mongering.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker similarly gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” -- its worst rating -- citing the “hyperbolic disconnect between the images on the screen and the practical impact of the law in question.”

    In fact, the Landrieu ad uses the same home invasion b-roll as the Kander ad does. Here is a still from the Landrieu ad:

    And a still from the Kander ad:

  • NRA News Dismisses LGBT Students’ Safety Concerns Over Texas' New Campus Carry Law

    NRA News Host: LGBT Students Shouldn't Be Afraid "Unless They Have Been Living In A Cave Somewhere"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s radio show dismissed personal safety concerns raised by LGBT students at the University of Houston following Texas’ August 1 adoption of a law allowing concealed guns to be carried on many parts of public college campuses.

    Cam Edwards, the host of NRA News’ Cam & Company, cited a Buzzfeed article where a University of Houston student, who self-identifies as transgender and intersex, expressed fear of being shot if someone was angered by their use of gender-neutral pronouns.  

    On the August 30 edition of Cam & Company, Edwards dismissed the student’s worries, as well as those of other LGBT students mentioned in the article, saying he feels “horrible” for those students because “they don't have to feel that way and yet they’re being told by anti-gun professors, they are being told by anti-gun media, they are being told by anti-gun activists that oh yes, absolutely, they should feel this way, they should be scared of concealed carry holders.”

    “Unless they have been living in a cave somewhere in Texas and they only emerged to go to college, they've been hanging around concealed carry holders virtually their entire life if they grew up in Texas,”  Edwards continued. (While discussing the article, Edwards mistakenly cited it as appearing in The Houston Chronicle rather than Buzzfeed.)

    Edwards never read from sections of the Buzzfeed article, where multiple LGBT students talked about how they “regularly experienced intimidation on campus before the law was implemented,” especially from extremists who hold hateful protests on campus, and expressed concern that guns can be carried at the school’s LGBT center:

    Some of the students thought about protesting, but they didn’t think it would be safe. “We would also out ourselves in the process, which isn’t safe for many of the LGBT students on campus,” [student Robyn] Foley added. “Especially now.”

    [...]

    Many of the LGBTQ students told BuzzFeed News they regularly experienced intimidation on campus before the law was implemented — both from fellow students and from non-student religious protest groups on campus, which the students refer to as “Hell Yellers.”

    Many non-student religious groups, including one called Bulldog Ministries, show up on UH’s campus during midterms and finals and yell at students, the students at the LGBT center told BuzzFeed News.

    On Bulldog’s website, men can be seen in various locations in Houston holding signs reading, “WARNING: drunks, homosexuals, abortionists, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, witches, idolaters, HELL AWAITS YOU.”

    [...]

    Foley said they have had slurs yelled at them and been “intimidated” on campus before. Other LGBT students said they have had similar experiences.

    According to news reports analyzed by the Violence Policy Center, since May 2007, 885 people have been killed by concealed carry permittees, including 48 people in Texas. The gunman who committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history on June 12 by targeting an Orlando LGBT nightclub was licensed to carry a gun in public.