Guns

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  • Nightly News Shows Combat Fake News About Pizzeria With Real Reporting

    ABC, NBC, CBS Show “How A Fake News Story Can Lead To A Real Life-Threatening Situation"

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Nightly news programs on NBC, CBS, and ABC examined “how a fake news story can lead to real world consequences” in their reports on a shooting incident at Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, DC, pizzeria.

    Accused shooter Edgar Welch entered the pizzeria on December 4 with an AR-15 assault rifle, fired at least one round into the floor, and told authorities he was there to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory that dozens of prominent liberals are complicit in an international child sex trafficking ring, because emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta referenced “pizza.”

    While conservative media outlets have typically downplayed fake news stories calling them “silly” and “nonsense,” broadcast nightly news programs on NBC, CBS, and ABC reported how fake news can have dangerous consequences.

    NBC correspondent Tom Costello reported on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt that “the Pizzagate conspiracy began with the Clinton WikiLeaks and an email stolen from campaign chief John Podesta about a fundraiser involving the restaurant.” Costello noted that 4chan users “suggested without any proof whatsoever that the word ‘pizza’ was code for ‘child sex trafficking’ at the restaurant,” and from there the malicious rumor spread “to Reddit and YouTube, feeding fake online news stories, then jumping to Facebook and Twitter.” Even though “both DC police and federal agents say the story is false,” Costello added that “discredited rumors about sex trafficking” targeting Democrats are “even shared by President-Elect Trump’s choice for national security adviser, General Michael T. Flynn.”:

    On CBS’ Evening News with Scott Pelley, Chip Reid took apart the “fictitious online conspiracy theory” started by “right-wing sites that make up fake news” alleging Clinton and her associates were involved in a pedophile ring. Host Scott Pelley noted that the shooter gave up when he “found no evidence that underage children were being harbored in the restaurant,” as the lies on the internet baselessly alleged:

    ABC senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas highlighted the “egregious and deliberate lie” that is the Pizzagate conspiracy on ABC World News Tonight with Scott Pelley. Thomas reported that the suspect “aimed a rifle at an employee and fired a round into the floor” because he decided to “self-investigate” the “utterly false story about child abuse” at Comet Ping Pong. Thomas further reported that “employees have been besieged by death threats” since the right-wing lie gained traction online, “shows how a fake news story can lead to a real life-threatening situation”:

  • Alex Jones’ Infowars.com Attacks Sandy Hook Principal’s Daughter

    Infowars Reporter: “Don't You Understand That If Your Mother Had A Pistol Or A Firearm She Could Have Prevented Her Death?”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Infowars.com, the website operated by conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones, lashed out at Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, for calling on President-elect Donald Trump not to appear on Jones’ show because Jones has pushed conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy.

    In a November 28 Infowars.com video, Infowars.com reporter Owen Shroyer said he wanted to “stand up” for Jones before attacking Lafferty’s advocacy for stronger gun laws as illogical and claiming that Lafferty needs “to address” the theories of Wolfgang Halbig, a leading Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist who has been warned by police against harrasing victims of the attack.

    Lafferty has been outspoken in calling for President-elect Trump not to appear on Jones’ radio program. Before he was elected, Trump praised Jones as having an “amazing” reputation, and Jones said that after Trump’s victory, he called Jones to promise to appear on his show in the near future.

    In a November 16 open letter to Trump, Lafferty wrote, “radio host Alex Jones has fanned the flames of a hateful conspiracy theory claiming that the shooting that took my mother never happened. It’s unthinkable. It’s unacceptable. I’m asking you to denounce it immediately and cut ties with Alex Jones and anyone who subscribes to these dangerous ideas.”

    Indeed, it is well documented that in the wake of the 2012 shooting, which left 20 children and six educators dead, Jones repeatedly suggested that the shooting was a “hoax” that never happened. Jones has reacted to Lafferty’s letter by lying about his past statements while simultaneously doubling down on his conspiratorial claims about the attack.

    Shroyer addressed Lafferty directly in his video, which was posted to Alex Jones’ YouTube channel. He said, “I just have this message to you. Why wouldn't you want a good guy on the scene with a gun when a bad guy comes? I’m just missing this logic. Don't you understand that if your mother had a pistol or a firearm she could have prevented her death? A good person with a gun could have stopped a bad person with a gun and saved lives. Why does this logic escape you?”

    In the video, Shroyer repeatedly cited Halbig, who he said has perhaps “done the best reporting” on the Sandy Hook shooting. According to Shroyer, “All Alex Jones wants is the truth. All Wolfgang Halbig wants is the truth. Why are you butting heads with people that want to find out the truth of what happened to your mother?”

    According to a profile in New York magazine, Halbig, the host of “a semi-regular Sandy Hook Justice Report podcast,” is “the hoaxers’ lead investigator,” and “one of Halbig’s favorite Sandy Hook theories is that Sasha Davidson, who was killed, is in fact alive and living as another Newtown girl named Allison Rodriguez.” (Halbig has appeared as a guest on Jones' program.)

    Shroyer concluded his video with more attacks, claiming, “We are just looking for truth and some of the things that you’ve said in your op-ed are just inaccurate and inappropriate and again I would say as you are now an advocate for gun legislation or gun safety, I ask you, if your mother had a gun ready aimed and ready to be fired at Dylann Roof (sic) when he took your mother's life, do you think she would still be alive today?”

    (Adam Lanza killed Dawn Hochsprung. Dylann Roof is the man alleged to have killed nine African-American worshippers at a South Carolina church during a racist attack.)

  • NRATV Urges President-Elect Trump To Continue Attacking The Press

    NRATV Commentator Dana Loesch: “Rat Bastards” In The Mainstream Media Got “Curb-Stomped” By Trump’s Victory

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The host of NRATV urged President-elect Donald Trump to “not stop holding the media accountable” and to not “stop his tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media” shortly before an NRATV commentator said she was happy that mainstream media was “curb-stomped” by Trump’s victory.

    NRATV has served as a pro-Trump attack dog against the media since its launch in October, several weeks before the presidential election.

    During the November 23 broadcast of NRATV, host Grant Stinchfield said, “I hope that Donald Trump does not stop holding the media accountable, and I hope he doesn't stop his tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media because I really do think that's what endeared him to so much of the American public.” Trump’s campaign and transition period have both been notable for the attacks the candidate -- and now president-elect -- has levied against the press and press freedoms.

    Following Stinchfield’s comment, NRATV commentator and conservative radio host Dana Loesch ranted about the “mainstream media,” claiming that its members were “curb-stomped” by Trump’s election and that the mainstream press is “the boil on the backside of American politics” and its members are “the rat bastards of the earth.”

    There seem to be no lengths to which NRATV won’t go to defend Trump. For example, during the show’s October 27 broadcast, Stinchfield attacked the media for covering numerous sexual assault allegations against Trump, saying outlets should instead have been reporting on people who used guns in self-defense.

    Like Trump, the NRA frequently pushes the talking point that the press is in cahoots with so-called global elites who are trying to take guns away from ordinary Americans. Most recently, the group’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, railed against the media in a post-election message where he claimed that “the disgraceful media attempted to manipulate” Trump supporters’ “emotions.” In another representative example of the NRA’s attacks on the press, LaPierre told attendees at a 2014 conservative gathering that the press is one of America’s “greatest threats” and said, “NRA members will never, and I mean never, submit or surrender to the national media.”

  • Alex Jones Gives "Final" Unhinged Rant Defending His Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories

    Jones: “There Has Been A Cover-Up Of Whatever Did Happen There. All I Know Is The Official Story Of Sandy Hook Has More Holes In It Than Swiss Cheese”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones spent 20 minutes defending his conspiracy theories that “the official story” of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School “has more holes in it than swiss cheese.”

    Jones, a leading conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed “founding father” of the 9/11 Truth movement (which claims that the U.S. government executed the terrorist attacks or allowed them to happen) was a key Trump media ally during the campaign, and Trump praised Jones as having an “amazing” reputation during an appearance on his show.

    On November 18, Jones made what he called his “final statement on Sandy Hook” arguing that his comments are being taken out of context. He then spent more than 20 minutes explaining why he believed the government was covering up facts about Sandy Hook:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): I do want to reach out to the victims of criminal crime out there, whether it be a baseball bat, a car, a gun, a knife. I want to reach out to my listeners as well and just clarify where I stand on the reported tragedy at Sandy Hook that took place at that elementary school.

    For the last three or four years, it’s been mainstream media’s number-one attack against me to say that I said there was never anyone that actually died there. I’ve hosted debates against both sides, and I’ve been criticized by both sides -- people that say that no one died there and people who say that the official story is exactly as we’ve been told. And I’ve always said that I’m not sure about what really happened, that there’s a lot of anomalies and there has been a cover-up of whatever did happen there.
     
    There’s a few clips Hillary used in her campaign of me out of context saying I can see how people that look at all this evidence say no kids died there and this whole thing is a giant hoax, but at the same time there is some evidence that people died there. They take that out of context and misrepresent it. That’s why they’re the deceptive corporate media. But for those who do have an attention span for, say, 10 minutes or so, I will present to you the questions. And I’m going to be quite frank, I don’t know what really happened. I know there are real mass shootings. I know people lose children. I’m a father. It hurts my heart. So I don’t know what the truth is. All I know is the official story of Sandy Hook has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
     
    [...]
     
    This is a tragedy. I wish it never would have happened. But quite frankly, I wish that the official story was true because that’s a lot less scary than them staging something like this. But when you think about how they staged [weapons of mass destruction] to kill over a million Iraqis, when you think about all the other hoaxes, all the other lies, all the other rigging, and the way they’re freaking out about it and trying to cover up every level of it, it just makes me ask what really happened there?
  • Trump Ally Alex Jones Doubles Down On Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories

    Jones: “We’ve Sent Reporters Up There, Man, And That Place Is Like Children Of The Corn Or Something. … All I Know Is Something’s Going On And You Don’t Like Us Looking At It”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones falsely claimed he never called the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax moments before pushing a barrage of conspiracy theories about the tragedy.

    Jones addressed the Sandy Hook shooting in response to a November 16 open letter to President-elect Donald Trump authored by Erica Lafferty, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was the principal at Sandy Hook and was killed in the attack. In her letter, Lafferty asked Trump not to appear on Jones’ show because of the latter’s false claims about the Sandy Hook attack. (Jones has reported that Trump called him after the election to say that he would come on the show “in the next few weeks.”)

    Jones, a leading conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed “founding father” of the 9/11 Truth movement (which claims that the U.S. government executed the terrorist attacks or allowed them to happen) was a key Trump media ally during the campaign, and Trump praised Jones as having an “amazing” reputation during an appearance on his show.

    On the November 17 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones claimed his past statements on Sandy Hook had been taken “out of context” and that he had never called the shooting a hoax. (In fact, he has done exactly that. PolitiFact rated as “true” the claim that Jones “said that the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there,” citing numerous broadcasts where he made the claim, including one in which he said that the shooting was “a giant hoax.”)

    Moments after denying he had called the shooting a hoax, Jones pushed several of the most prominent conspiracy theories about the shooting, including the following claims:

    • CNN anchor Anderson Cooper reported on the shooting “using a green screen,” which you can tell because “his nose disappears”;

    • there is footage of “the kids going in circles back into the buildings” after the shooting;

    • the Sandy Hook school “was closed years before” the shooting;

    • “no emergency helicopters were launched” to respond to the shooting; and

    • “weird videos of reported parents of kids laughing and then all of a sudden they do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV” reveal that the parents were actors.

    Jones added that “we’ve sent reporters up there, man, and that place is like Children of the Corn or something. I mean it is freaking weird.” He concluded by saying, “All I know is something’s going on and you don’t like us looking at it. You don’t like us questioning you”:
     
    ALEX JONES: And there were hundreds of articles yesterday, and CBS, and NBC, and ABC, and CNN, I can’t even watch them all. White House, you must -- Trump, you must break ties with Alex Jones the racist. No proof. And Alex Jones that says Sandy Hook didn’t happen. And they take a clip out of context where I’m war-gaming, that man the media lies so much I guess you could say no kids were killed and none of it happened and that it’s a whole total hoax because the media lies so much who knows what’s true. That was me responding to them saying I’m saying it never happened.
     
    I’m attacked by the folks that say nothing happened for saying yes, Anderson Cooper is using a green screen, his nose disappears. Yes, they have the kids going in circles back into the buildings. Yes, the building was closed years before. Yes, it was filthy. Yes, no emergency helicopters were launched. Yes, they’re sealing the death certificates and everything. Yes, I even know FBI agents that say they think it’s suspicious. But I can’t believe they’re that bold, and so no. They set it up like, you don’t think this mother is real? No, I’m sure she is. But were the polls fake on Election Night? Did they send the questions to Hillary beforehand? In the WikiLeaks is there talk of supplying kids to hot tubs for quote “entertainment” for people? I mean, look, folks. Did Hillary put jihadis in control all over the world? All I know is there is no level these people won’t stoop too. So they take it out of context and, look, he says no children ever died from mass shooting. I never said that. I said you use these events and then package them and don’t let a good crisis go to waste, bare minimum.
     

    We’ve hosted debates by the journalists that say Sandy Hook is exactly like they say it happened against people that say it didn’t happen. And then we get attacked by both sides for quote “covering up.” The truth is they have had national polls where upwards of half of Americans don’t believe Sandy Hook, because they don’t believe a word the mainstream media says. We’ve sent reporters up there, man, and that place is like Children of the Corn or something. I mean it is freaking weird. And then the weird videos of reported parents of kids laughing and then all of a sudden they do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV. All I know is something’s going on and you don’t like us looking at it. You don’t like us questioning you.

  • Ignoring All Evidence, NRA Decides Gun Policy Determined The 2016 Presidential Election

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association is claiming in a post-election message that the gun issue decided the election in favor of President-elect Donald Trump. But all available evidence indicates that voters actually showed a strong preference for gun safety measures and that the election was decided on other grounds.

    In a November 14 video released on NRATV, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre claimed “Hillary Clinton made her hatred for the Second Amendment a central issue of this campaign and as a result of that fatal mistake, she’s on permanent political vacation”:

    WAYNE LAPIERRE: On November 8th you, the five million men and women of the National Rifle Association of America, along with the tens of millions of gun owners all over this country who followed your lead, achieved a truly extraordinary, historic, even heroic accomplishment. In northern Florida and Pennsylvania, throughout Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan, in small towns and communities all across America, you were the special forces that swung this election and sent Donald Trump and Mike Pence to the White House. You did this. Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. In the wake of this historic event, the same disgraced group of so-called experts, talking heads, pundits, and pollsters that got everything wrong before the election are trying to deceive you again. So let me remove all doubt: Gun owners made this election happen. Hillary Clinton made her hatred for the Second Amendment a central issue of this campaign and as a result of that fatal mistake, she’s on permanent political vacation.   

    But the NRA’s framing of the election outcome doesn’t make sense, even assuming the election was decided on policy grounds (which it apparently wasn’t). The pro-gun safety presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, received substantially more votes than NRA-endorsed President-elect Donald Trump.

    Setting that aside, all available data indicates Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters overwhelmingly supported the types of gun safety measures that Clinton advocated for.

    According to polling released just before Election Day, measures including “expanding background checks on gun purchases; barring those convicted of a hate crime from buying a gun; and prohibiting those convicted of stalking or domestic abuse from buying guns” received widespread support among voters polled by Public Policy Polling in Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Center for American Progress noted that the polling shows “anywhere from 80 percent to 93 percent of Democrats in these states support them, along with 58 percent to 86 percent of critical independent voters, and even 64 percent to 80 percent of Republicans.”

    There is no evidence in exit polling that the gun issue was determinative in the election outcome either, as the economy was clearly the top priority for voters. (And as The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza noted, Clinton actually won on the economy, suggesting “people weren't voting on issues. Like, at all.”)

    The results of several ballot initiative votes also debunk the NRA’s attempt to create a false narrative about the election. Three out of four ballot measures where issues of gun policy were directly decided by voters passed. Ballot initiatives in California (requiring background checks for ammunition purchases and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, among other measures), Nevada (expanding background checks on gun purchases), and Washington (the creation of a legal mechanism to keep guns away from individuals who are a danger to themselves or others) were all victorious. A background check expansion ballot initiative in Maine was narrowly defeated.

    Gun safety advocates were also successful in the New Hampshire U.S. Senate race where, unlike other races, gun policy was a significant issue. Proponents of expanded background checks had consistently and loudly expressed their displeasure with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) over her 2013 vote against background check legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. As Politico reported in its recap of Democrat Maggie Hassan’s victory, the race had become “a referendum on gun control.”

    It’s apparent that these are facts the NRA does not want to grapple with. In his video message LaPierre said that anyone claiming that the election was not a rejection of gun safety proposals is trying to “deceive you.” But that’s just another half-baked conspiracy theory from LaPierre. The facts speak for themselves.

  • Daughter Of Slain Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Writes Trump To Ask Him Not To Appear On Alex Jones’ Radio Show

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Erica Lafferty, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed during the 2012 mass shooting at the school, has published an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump, urging him not to appear on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show.

    Jones, a leading conspiracy theorist, self-proclaimed founding father of the 9/11 Truth movement, and key Trump media ally during the 2016 race, has helped spread conspiracy theories that the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children and six educators were killed, was a “hoax.”

    During a December 2015 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Trump praised Jones as having an "amazing" reputation and promised, "I will not let you down." Following Trump’s victory, Jones said Trump called him to “thank” his audience and promised to appear on his show “in the next few weeks.”

    Although Jones has since tried to spin his past comments on the shooting, PolitiFact rated the claim that Jones “said that the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there” to be “true.” PolitiFact noted that Jones has called the shooting “a giant hoax,” and said “Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured.”

    In her letter to Trump, Lafferty wrote, “radio host Alex Jones has fanned the flames of a hateful conspiracy theory claiming that the shooting that took my mother never happened. It’s unthinkable. It’s unacceptable. I’m asking you to denounce it immediately and cut ties with Alex Jones and anyone who subscribes to these dangerous ideas.” Lafferty’s full letter (emphasis original):

    Dear President-elect Trump,

    My mother was shot and killed at Sandy Hook School four years ago, along with five of her colleagues and twenty first-graders.

    Since then, radio host Alex Jones has fanned the flames of a hateful conspiracy theory claiming that the shooting that took my mother never happened.

    It’s unthinkable. It’s unacceptable. I’m asking you to denounce it immediately and cut ties with Alex Jones and anyone who subscribes to these dangerous ideas.

    You’ve appeared on Jones’ radio show, praised his “amazing” reputation and promised him that you “won’t let him down”. Now he’s claiming you’ve personally called to thank him after the election, and will be on his show again soon. That’s unacceptable.

    My life changed forever when I lost my mother, as do the lives of the 91 Americans shot and killed every single day. You’ve promised to be a president for all of us. Well, that includes victims of gun violence and their families, like me.

    I hope that you will not only refuse to go on his show, but that you will denounce the conspiracy theories that he spreads at the expense of gun violence survivors.

    -- Erica Lafferty, daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, shot and killed at Sandy Hook School

     
  • NRA TV Co-Host: President Obama Is A “Pussy”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Chuck Holton, the co-host of a National Rifle Association web series, reacted to a picture of President-elect Trump and President Obama shaking hands by writing, “Photo finally surfaces of Trump grabbing a pussy.”

    Holton co-hosts the NRA TV series Frontlines alongside Iran-Contra figure and NRA board member Oliver North. According to the NRA, “their coverage ranges from how our military and law enforcement guard against radiological sabotage, counterfeiting and terrorism, to the threat of an unstable economy and cyber warfare.” (In promoting a Frontlines episode, Holton once raised the prospect of people on food stamps “eating each other in the streets” following an EMP attack by North Korea.)

    Holton’s attack on Obama came in response to a widely shared tweet authored by comedian and writer Travon Free where he wrote, “No better summation of being black in America. At the highest level having to be gracious to white people who do nothing but disrespect you.” Free’s tweet included an image of Trump and Obama shaking hands, leading Holton to respond, “Photo finally surfaces of Trump grabbing a pussy":

    Holton’s comment is a reference to a video that showed President-elect Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. In the tape, which was released in October, Trump can be heard saying,“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

    Holton previously made racially charged attacks on the black community while appearing in August on the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company. During the August 19 broadcast, Holton talked about gangs, absent fathers, and welfare, before saying, “And you hear college students complain about white privilege. You know 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.” Holton went on describe white privilege as “a culture of individual responsibility, where you take responsibility for your own actions, a culture that respects authority.” He also positively cited a video about “white privilege” released by “alt right” blogger Stefan Molyneux. The video, which was widely praised in white nationalist circles, pushed the myth of “Irish slavery,” a common white nationalist talking point.

  • NRA “Work Of Fiction” Predicts Syrian Refugees Will Establish “Islamic State In The United States” During Clinton’s First Term

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A conspiratorial screed from the National Rifle Association imagines a future where the presidency of Hillary Clinton causes the rise of a new chapter of ISIS -- ISUS, the “Islamic State in The United States” -- culminating in a nuclear attack on U.S. soil.

    In a November 7 article in its online magazine America’s 1st Freedom, the NRA published “a work of fiction” about what America will look like in 2020 after four years of President Clinton, noting in a disclaimer at the top, “It isn’t true ... yet. But 2020 is only four years away”:

    In the NRA’s imagining, Clinton’s presidency will be filled with “tragedy and turmoil” including Syrian refugees causing the rise of ISIS within the United States and the “9/12 terrorist attacks” involving “cesium-137 bombings”:

    Indeed, much of the criticism leveled against Clinton throughout the campaign has centered on the tragedy and turmoil of the past four years, including the flood of refugees from Syria that some have blamed for the emergence of the Islamic State in the United States (ISUS); skyrocketing violent crime over the past two years that critics say is a direct result of Clinton’s policy of “ending the prison-industrial complex in America”; and, of course, last year’s 9/12 terrorist attacks at the Department of Energy’s Pantex Plant and Hanford facilities, and the cesium-137 bombings that followed.  

    Cesium-137 is a radioactive isotope that has been associated with the prospect of a “dirty bomb” attack that spreads radioactive material.  

    The NRA article then approvingly quotes “University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabatico,” an apparent reference to real-life political scientist Larry Sabato, who calls Clinton’s first term “the most harrowing and nationally tragic presidential term since Lincoln’s first.”

    The NRA article imagines an NRA-led march of gun owners on the National Mall to warn that a second Clinton term “could spell the end of the Second Amendment-protected rights that have kept us free and safe since our nation’s birth.”

    Interestingly, in 2008, the NRA predicted that President Obama would destroy the Second Amendment during his first term. When that didn’t happen, the NRA predicted Obama would destroy the Second Amendment during his second term. When that didn’t happen, the NRA pivoted to Clinton and is now predicting that she will destroy the Second Amendment in her first term. For the NRA, baseless fearmongering about Democrats’ threat to the Second Amendment appears to be standard campaign rhetoric, even in their works of fiction.

    The NRA article also casts frequent NRA boogeymen in elevated roles during a Clinton first term, with President Obama serving as chief justice of the Supreme Court, former Attorney General Eric Holder serving as head of the FBI, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg serving as U.N. ambassador, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) serving on the Federal Elections Commission.  

  • All The Times (We Know Of) When Trump Surrogate Ted Nugent Used "The N-Word”

    After Fox News And The Trump Campaign Repeatedly Criticized Jay Z's Lyrics, Trump Campaigned With Nugent

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conservative media and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign breathlessly condemned rapper Jay Z for  “drop[pping] the n-word” in lyrics during a campaign concert for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Friday, but they had nothing to say about Trump surrogate Ted Nugent, who repeatedly says “nigger” in contexts that are racist. 

    Following Jay Z’s Friday performance at a Clinton campaign rally, conservative media lost their minds because Jay Z used “the N-word many, many, many times”:

    Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway criticized Clinton for appearing with Jay Z, citing the rapper’s use of “the n-word” in his performance:

    Trump also complained about Jay Z’s performance, saying at a November 5 rally, “He used every word in the book last night. He used language last night that was so bad and then Hillary said, 'I did not like Donald Trump's lewd language.' My lewd language. I tell you what, I've never said what he said in my life.”

    But then the next day, the Trump campaign invited Nugent, a National Rifle Association board member who has appeared in a Trump campaign video, to perform and speak at a Michigan rally. Nugent has a troubling history of making racist commentary, including using “nigger” as a slur.

    In a March 31 post on his Facebook page, Nugent promoted a meme popular on racist websites depicting a fake moving company called “2 niggers and a stolen truck.” The image included racial caricatures of black people:

    In 2015, Nugent devoted his June 24 column at conspiracy website WorldNetDaily to praising the word “nigger,” and defended its use as a racial slur. Citing himself as someone who "continue[s] to use the word nigger at one time or another," Nugent praised the use of the word by several well-known people not bound by “political correctness,” including former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective and current Fox News contributor Mark Fuhrman. (Fuhrman was a detective on the O.J. Simpson murder case. During Simpson's trial, the defense produced tapes of Fuhrman saying “nigger” more than 40 times over a 10-year period. According to the tapes, in his capacity with the LAPD, Fuhrman said things to African-Americans like, "You do what you're told, understand, nigger?")

    Promoting his column on Facebook, Nugent wrote, “When I play my Motown guitar, I niggerup”:

    In April 2015, Nugent wrote a post on Facebook referring to civil rights leader Al Sharpton as a “mongrel.” In the comment section, Nugent “liked” a post where somebody wrote, “Isn't 'mongrel' better than 'nigger'? Can't please some people.”

    In a 1990 interview unearthed by Media Matters in 2014, Nugent told Detroit Free Press Magazine, “I use the word nigger a lot because I hang around with a lot of niggers, and they use the word nigger, and I tend to use words that communicate.” In the same interview, Nugent defended Apartheid in South Africa, arguing that black South Africans are “a different breed of man” because they “still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands.”

    In a 1995 interview with Bob Mack of Grand Royal Magazine, Nugent claimed that “real America” is populated by “working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers, who are independent and get up in the morning.” When Mack asked Nugent, “Aren't there any blacks?” Nugent responded, “Show me one. Show me one.” Moments later Nugent called James Brown and Wilson Pickett “niggers … spirited, genuine African Americans,” while labeling black rap artists “big uneducated greasy black mongrels”:

    There is strong evidence that Nugent’s use of “nigger” is tied to his racism against blacks. While Nugent notably called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” he has also repeatedly attacked the black community at large.

    An example of these attacks was seen in Nugent’s ongoing reaction to the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman on charges that he murdered African-American Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Following the acquittal, Nugent called Martin a "dope-smoking, racist gangsta wannabe." Then in the following weeks Nugent claimed that people should profile African-Americans in the same way members of a community might profile a breed of dog that was biting children, that African-Americans could solve “the black problem" if they were more honest and law-abiding, and that the African-American community has a "mindless tendency to violence" and an inability to "read or speak clearly."

    Nugent has also offered inflammatory commentary on Clinton during the presidential campaign, including calling for her to be hanged for treason and promoting a fake video of Clinton being shot.

  • NRA: “Terrorists Want You To Elect” Hillary Clinton

    In Fact, There Is Widespread Agreement Among Experts That ISIS Wants Trump To Win

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A commentary video released by the National Rifle Association claims that “terrorists want you to elect” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton because of her policies on immigration and guns. In fact, numerous experts agree that ISIS prefers Trump as president.

    In a November 3 NRA News commentary, NRA commentator and former Navy SEAL Dom Raso claimed, “The threat this country faces is real and it will only become worse with the weakened policies Hillary plans to enact. The terrorists want you to elect her. They want weaker immigration and more gun-free zones”:

    DOM RASO: I didn’t put my life on the line God knows how many times, and my brothers didn’t fight and die so a career politician, who has been defended by guns her entire life, could take that fundamental right away from everybody else. The threat this country faces is real and it will only become worse with the weakened policies Hillary plans to enact. The terrorists want you to elect her. They want weaker immigration and more gun-free zones. They want everybody to be caught off guard, just like 9/11. A plane being used as a missile was something that couldn’t happen, and it did.

    Widespread reporting indicates that Trump is the candidate of choice for ISIS:

    • Matt Olsen, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, wrote at Time that “interviews with ISIS members and analysis of social media” indicate the terrorist organization wants Trump to win because “Trump’s anti-Muslim proposals are likely to inspire and radicalize more violent jihadists in the U.S. and Europe.”
    • Foreign Affairs: “Analysis of ISIS chatter on social media and conversations with 12 current and former supporters of the group do indicate that ISIS strongly prefers Trump over the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.”
    • An ISIS defector told Talking Points Memo that ISIS prefers Trump because he is the “perfect enemy.” TPM quoted a counterterrorism analyst who said, “It’s clear they find his comments, they find his demeanor, they find his approach, in some way serving the goals of ISIS in some manner, whether it be in having a ground war in Syria or weakening the United States."
    • Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism expert who served in Democratic and Republican presidential administrations, wrote that “for ISIS, the election of Trump would help them to validate the group’s contention that the U.S. is at war with Islam. That narrative has been a powerful tool for ISIS in recruiting people to join its ranks and commit terrorist attacks.”

    The NRA’s claim about Clinton’s position on “gun-free zones” is equally unfounded.

    There is no evidence that places that do not allow guns are more dangerous than places that do, or that mass killers choose their targets depending on whether guns can be carried. Mother Jones reported that a new study from Johns Hopkins University found “From 1966 to 2015, only 12 percent of 111 high-fatality mass shootings in the United States -- at college campuses or elsewhere -- took place in ‘gun free’ zones, and only 5 percent took place in ‘gun restricted’ zones, where security guards were armed but civilians were banned from carrying weapons.” The study also found that civilians carrying concealed weapons have not been an effective deterrent in stopping mass shootings.

    Terrorists, however, have called on supporters to exploit loopholes in weak U.S. gun laws to obtain firearms. In a 2011 video, American-born al-Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn urged al-Qaeda's followers to go to gun shows in order to buy guns without undergoing a background check, asking his audience, "So what are you waiting for?" The NRA staunchly opposes closing loopholes that allow firearms to be purchased without background checks.