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Ted Nugent was reelected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors just weeks after he promoted a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot and during a year in which he caused a national controversy for promoting anti-Semitic material.
During a May 21 meeting of members at the NRA's annual meeting in Louisville, KY, NRA election committee chairman Carl T. Rowan announced that Nugent was one of 25 individuals elected to a three-year term on the NRA's board, terminating in 2019. Nugent received the second most votes:
As a musician and conservative commentator, Nugent is to many the most recognizable member of NRA leadership. He has served on the gun group's board of directors for more than 20 years. In the group's 2013 board elections Nugent was second only to Iran-Contra figure Oliver North for most votes in favor of reelection. He frequently mixes his pitches for the NRA with inflammatory commentary, such as when he told people to join the NRA while calling for the “evil carcasses” of President Obama and other progressive politicians.
Nugent is a fixture of the NRA's annual meeting, delivering talks in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. During his speech at last year’s meeting, Nugent talked about shooting Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called the president “Osama Obama” and offered to charter a boat ride to take Obama “back to Kenya.” At the 2012 meeting, Nugent set in motion a visit with the Secret Service after telling NRA members he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was reelected as president.
As the NRA annual meeting wraps up tomorrow, Nugent will deliver a talk called “2016 Election Do or Die for America and Freedom.”
Nugent’s 2016 has so far been marked by particularly ugly rhetoric.
In January, Nugent called for Obama and Hillary Clinton to be hanged for treason for their supposed malfeasance during the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.
Nugent caused widespread controversy in February after sharing an image on his Facebook page that suggested Jews are behind a conspiracy to enact stricter gun laws. After coming under fire from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups, Nugent further claimed that Jewish supporters of gun safety laws are “Nazis in disguise.” As condemnations continued to roll in, even from far-right pro-gun organizations (but not the NRA), Nugent eventually apologized, claiming he did not realize the image he shared that placed Israeli flags next to faces of 12 Jewish American politicians and gun violence prevention advocates had a "connection whatsoever to any religious affiliation."
In March, Nugent called a critic with a Hispanic name a "beanochimp" and suggested the man should die.
Later that same month, Nugent shared a misogynist chain message about why men supposedly prefer guns over women, which included claims like "guns function normally every day of the month” and “A gun doesn't mind if you go to sleep after you use it.”
On March 31, Nugent posted a racially derogatory image on his Facebook page that he said was an advertisement for a moving company called "2 niggers and a stolen truck."
In a May 10 post to his Facebook page, Nugent shared a fake video that showed Hillary Clinton being graphically shot to death by Bernie Sanders. He added his own comment: “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”
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The National Rifle Association will surely attack Hillary Clinton during its annual meeting. Members of the NRA’s leadership have attacked Clinton for years with vile and paranoid claims.
The NRA is holding its annual meeting from May 19-22 in Louisville, KY. On May 20, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and other conservative figures will speak at the meeting’s biggest event, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum.
The NRA began its opposition to Clinton in earnest during its 2015 meeting with a gender-based attack. While addressing the NRA’s members, LaPierre said of the prospect of electing Clinton after President Obama’s term, “I have to tell you, eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.” During that year's leadership forum, LaPierre claimed that Clinton “will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair” to America.
While LaPierre supplies many of the NRA’s paranoid claims about Clinton and gun confiscation, the organization’s best-known leadership figure, board member Ted Nugent, offers disgusting attacks. Nugent has called Clinton a “toxic cunt,” a “two-bit whore,” and a “worthless bitch,” among other insults.
Here is how the NRA leadership talks about Clinton:
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will find a receptive audience when he delivers a speech at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting on May 20; the NRA’s leadership has for years made the types of inflammatory claims about race, gender, and ethnicity that Trump has now brought to presidential politics.
Trump To Address NRA Faithful At Forum
The co-sponsor of the NRA’s upcoming leadership forum routinely attacks African-American youths killed in controversial shootings, and he has more than once smeared the mothers of two deceased Florida teenagers as liars motivated by money in their opposition to Stand Your Ground laws.
On May 20, Donald Trump and other Republican politicians will speak at the National Rifle Association's annual Institute for Legislative Action leadership forum. The event is being held at the NRA’s annual meeting in Louisville, KY, which runs from May 19-22.
According to the NRA’s website, the forum will be co-sponsored by Bearing Arms and Townhall Media. Bearing Arms is a well-known gun blog run by Bob Owens.
Owens frequently makes inflammatory claims. In October 2015, he authored a post on his blog suggesting that “radical” Democrats will be hanged after they start a civil war against Republicans over issues including gun ownership. Owens illustrated his post with an image of gallows. In 2010, when Media Matters documented another instance in which Owens fantasized about a second civil war in the U.S., Owens responded by writing that he hopes the "propagandists" at Media Matters “feel threatened.”
Owens has weighed in on the shooting deaths of African-American youths Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Tamir Rice, in each instance also attacking a member or members of the deceased’s family.
In a recent post on his website, Owens called Martin “a semi-literate violent criminal,” among other insults. Owens has also claimed that Martin’s mother opposes controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense laws because she wishes to enrich herself through a lawsuit.
Owens has also attacked the mother of Jordan Davis, a Florida teenager who was killed in a gas station parking lot by a man angry about the volume of Davis’ music. Owens called Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath, a “serial liar” for accurately noting that Stand Your Ground played a role in the George Zimmerman trial.
Owens has also attacked Tamir Rice, blaming both the 12-year-old and his parents for Rice’s death.
Owens frequently directs invective toward deceased Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. In February 2012, Martin, then 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. A confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman occurred after Zimmerman began to follow Martin as the high school student walked from a convenience store to his father’s house.
While Zimmerman has a well-documented history of violence -- both before and after the Martin shooting, including an assault on a police officer and multiple domestic violence allegations -- Owens routinely attacks Martin’s character.
In a May 11 blog post, Owens called Martin “a violent, drug-abusing thug who appeared to get off on hurting people” and “a semi-literate violent criminal,” and he slammed an upcoming musical about Martin’s life, which he claimed would be “whitewashing a black heart” and which he called an attempt to “whitewash a thug’s death.”
In a 2014 post, Owens argued that “good people … will arm themselves against violent young predators like Trayvon Martin” because “any society that hopes to survive simply has no choice.”
Owens has also attacked Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. In a 2013 post, he claimed that Fulton had raised a “monster” and that her advocacy against Stand Your Ground laws, like the one cited by a juror in explaining Zimmerman’s acquittal, was really about personal enrichment.
As for why Fulton and her attorneys and Democratic lawmakers in general want Stand Your Ground laws repealed, that’s blisteringly obvious as well.
A provision of Stand Your Ground law in many states is that if a person is found not guilty during a criminal trial, then that defendant win (sic) civil immunity, and that keeps the families of deceased street thugs from suing the survivors for millions of dollars in civil court.
Owens called the mother of slain Florida teenager Jordan Davis a “serial liar” over her advocacy against Stand Your Ground laws following Davis’ killing. In fact, Owens is the one lying about Stand Your Ground.
In November 2012, Davis, 17, was murdered by Michael Dunn in a Jacksonville, FL, gas station parking lot. Dunn had told Davis and his friends to turn down their music before he fired 10 rounds into the car Davis was sitting in.
In February 2014, Dunn was found guilty on four charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder on the other teens in the car, but the jury could not come to a decision on the first-degree murder charge tied to Davis' death. During closing arguments, Dunn’s attorney cited Stand Your Ground in arguing against a murder conviction for Davis’ death. A mistrial was declared on the murder charge, and Dunn was subsequently convicted of first-degree murder during a second trial that concluded in October 2014.
Following Davis’ killing, his mother, Lucy McBath, has become an outspoken advocate against Stand Your Ground laws. Owens attacked McBath for this advocacy in a May 13 post, claiming, “She has become radicalized, and now travels the nation attempting to strip law-abiding citizens of their most basic natural right as a human being, the right [to] bear arms for self defense.”
According to Owens, “McBath has become a serial liar, and sadly seems to be more comfortable with her lies as time goes on,” because she wrote an opinion piece that said Stand Your Ground played a role in the Zimmerman trial.
While Owens claimed McBath is a liar because “Stand Your Ground laws had nothing at all do do (sic) with the [Zimmerman] case,” he is wrong.
The language of Stand Your Ground was included in instructions to the jury considering whether to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder. Prior to the law’s enactment in 2005, the instructions given to the jury were much different. As explained by a former Florida state senator, the change in the letter of the law “fundamentally changed the analysis used by juries to assign blame in these cases.” Following Zimmerman’s acquittal, a juror told CNN that Zimmerman was found not guilty “because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground.” Zimmerman also benefited from Stand Your Ground pre-trial, as local government officials cited the law as the reason Zimmerman was not initially arrested.
Owens also called McBath a liar because she wrote that Stand Your Ground laws “promote a culture of shoot first, ask questions later, a culture that upends traditional self-defense law and emboldens individuals to settle conflicts by reaching for their firearms, even when they can safely walk away from danger.” But McBath is correct; academic research has established that Stand Your Ground laws increase homicide by “lower[ing] the cost of using lethal force.”
Owens frequently defends the widely criticized police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In November 2014, Rice was shot in a public park in Cleveland, OH, after a 911 caller reported seeing Rice waving around an Airsoft replica pistol. Police shot Rice within two seconds of coming onto the scene, apparently mistaking the toy gun for a real firearm (the 911 caller’s repeated suggestion that the gun was “probably fake” was not relayed to the responding officers).
After the city of Cleveland agreed to a monetary settlement with Rice’s family, the local police union caused controversy by arguing that some of the money should be used “to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”
Owens weighed in on the controversy, attacking the deceased 12-year-old and his family. Of Rice, Owens wrote that “it is entirely fair to ‘blame the victim’ when it was the specific actions of the victim that led to his demise” and that “Tamir Rice died because he made poor choices.”
He also suggested that Rice’s family was responsible for his death, claiming that the Rice family’s outrage over the police union suggestion means “perhaps the Rice family doesn’t care any more about being responsible after Tamir’s death than they did about teaching him to be responsible with realistic toy guns while he was alive.”
Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.
Couric’s Documentary Demonstrated That Regular NRA Members Support Background Checks On All Gun Sales
The National Rifle Association’s media arm reacted to publicity surrounding Katie Couric’s new documentary Under The Gun by claiming that the project does not deserve to be called a documentary and by attacking Couric as dishonest and questioning her credibility as a journalist.
During the May 11 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show, Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards mockingly suggested several times that Couric should come onto his program, neglecting to mention that NRA leadership was invited to be interviewed for the documentary but declined to do so.
Couric was the executive producer and narrator for Under The Gun, a documentary that premieres May 15 at Epix.com. According to its website, Under The Gun “examines the events and people who have kept the gun debate fierce and the progress slow, even as gun deaths and mass shootings continue to increase.”
During his show, Edwards trashed Couric and the “very, very, anti-NRA” documentary, riffing on Couric’s promotion of the film during her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Throughout his discussion of Under The Gun, Edwards said he would only call the project a “film,” pointedly refusing to call it a “documentary.”
Edwards mocked Couric’s credibility as a journalist, sarcastically referring to Yahoo’s global news anchor as a “serious news person” and suggesting that in using the term “gun safety,” Couric “can’t be honest about what [the documentary team is] really all about. That’s kind of bad if you want to call yourself a respected and unbiased journalist.” (While Edwards' holds himself out as the host of a "news" show, he is listed as an employee of the NRA's public relations firm Ackerman McQueen.)
Throughout the segment, Edwards mockingly invited Couric onto his show, saying, “So anyways, Katie’s making the rounds. … If she will go on Stephen Colbert, do you think maybe she’ll go on Cam & Company?” and stating, “Well, we will try to figure out who is doing the publicity for her new film because I would love to have her on the show. I think it would be fascinating, don’t you?”
Though Edwards is now complaining about the content of Couric’s documentary, he does not acknowledge that the NRA previously turned down the opportunity to participate in the film. At the film’s conclusion, on-screen text lists several members of NRA leadership, including executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who were contacted for interviews but declined to participate.
The film does feature interviews with NRA members, though. In two scenes, the majority of a group of self-identified NRA members interviewed on the street, seemingly outside the NRA’s annual meeting, are shown supporting background checks for all gun sales and expressing concern that individuals on the terror watch list are not prohibited from buying firearms. According to polling, 74 percent of NRA members support requiring a background check for all gun purchases.
Gun safety groups are condemning National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent for promoting a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot. The groups are calling for the NRA to condemn Nugent or remove him from the organization’s board of directors and suggesting that “common sense NRA members” should disassociate themselves from the group if it will not confront Nugent.
Well-known gun blogger Bob Owens slammed NRA board member Ted Nugent for promoting a video on Facebook that depicted Hillary Clinton being shot, writing that “In one stupid and pointless post, Mr. Nugent has done great harm” to the NRA’s efforts to market itself to the public.
In his May 11 blog post condemning Nugent’s actions, Owens implored the NRA board member, “If you can’t control yourself, sir, maybe it’s time to man up and resign, before you cause any more damage to the NRA and the 5 million people it represents.”
On May 10, Nugent posted a fake video that graphically depicted Bernie Sanders murdering Hillary Clinton with a handgun during a presidential debate, writing the comment “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!” above the video.
Owens’ condemnation of Nugent is particularly significant, given Owens’ own history of incendiary rhetoric. In October 2015, Owens authored a post at his blog suggesting that “radical” Democrats will be hanged after starting a civil war against Republicans. Owens illustrated his post with an image of gallows.
In fact, on the very same day Owens condemned Nugent, he also wrote a post calling deceased Florida teenager Trayvon Martin “a violent, drug-abusing thug who appeared to get off on hurting people,” “a semi-literate violent criminal,” and slamming an upcoming musical about Martin’s life, which he claimed would be “whitewashing a black heart.”
Owens’ website, Bearing Arms, is a co-sponsor of the NRA’s annual leadership forum, an event that will feature remarks from Donald Trump and other high-profile Republicans as part of the NRA’s annual meeting in Louisville, KY, from May 19 to May 22. Nugent will also deliver a speech at the meeting.
In his blog post on Nugent, Owens worried about the negative effect he believes Nugent has on the NRA’s image:
The anti-gun media is of course loving this. Nugent’s decision to share this stupid, pointless and violent sentiment of one Democrat Presidential candidate murdering the other in cold blood perpetuates the unwarranted stereotype that gun owners in general (and the NRA in specific) crave the deaths of opponents. The much different reality of the matter is that we regularly “slaughter” with facts, logic, and reason.
As an NRA member, I want to communicate to the world that is not who we are as an organization. This filth is not what we represent as part of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group. In particular, this is beneath Nugent as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association.
I’ve watched the NRA pour incredible time and effort into a 19-spot campaign over the past year depicting us for who we really are, “Freedom’s Safest Place.”
In one stupid and pointless post, Mr. Nugent has done great harm to that image, giving enemies of the natural right to bear arms more ammunition to depict us as being violent, dim-witted, and crude.
PBS Fails To Call Out Newman’s Radical History During Gun Safety Town Hall
On May 10, PBS hosted a town hall conversation about gun violence and faith in America and invited anti-choice extremist Troy Newman to participate. During the town hall, PBS and host Michel Martin failed to identify Newman’s history of extremism and allowed him to downplay his organization’s role in harassing abortion providers.
Newman is the long-serving president of Operation Rescue and is best known for his ties to extreme anti-choice groups and history of harassing abortion providers with violent rhetoric. A 2014 Rolling Stone profile called Newman “one of the nation's most prominent anti-abortion activists.” His reputation is so infamous that in 2015 Australia deported Newman out of concern that his “presence would be ‘a threat to good order’” and that he would “compromise the safety and wellbeing” of abortion providers and those seeking care.
A number of reproductive rights groups warned PBS that giving Newman a national platform to “whitewash” his history of anti-choice extremism was “not only irresponsible” but also “downright frightening and potentially dangerous.” NARAL Pro-Choice America senior vice president Sasha Bruce argued that given the unprecedented uptick in anti-choice violence over the past year, “PBS should be ashamed of itself for giving weight to Troy Newman's dangerous opinions."
Despite all of this, PBS provided Newman a platform to downplay his history of anti-choice extremism -- and that’s exactly what he did.
At the beginning of the town hall, Martin identified Newman as the “president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue” with no explanation of the group’s extreme history or current work. For the rest of the town hall Newman was identified on screen exclusively as a “Presbyterian Minister” with no further mention of Operation Rescue.
Similarly, at the conclusion of the town hall, Martin allowed Newman to spread misinformation about the safety of abortion and mischaracterize Operation Rescue’s goal of ending patient access to the procedure. In his final remarks, Newman claimed that because of abortion, “the most dangerous place to be in America today is in the womb.” Martin did not challenge Newman, allowing him to continue that Operation Rescue’s goal is to “close abortion clinics through peaceful non-violent means”:
TROY NEWMAN: I have to say yes and amen to that. Preach it. I will continue to do what I have done for the past 25 years and that is advocate for the least of these among us. We talk about violence. The most violent place or the most dangerous place to be in America today is in the womb. Over 1 million babies die from abortion. And I will continue to advocate for their lives. And you talk about beating your swords into plowshares, what we do is we close abortion clinics through peaceful non-violent means, so that’s what I will continue to do. I will continue to preach non-violence everywhere it rears its ugly head. And I would just close by saying this: I so appreciate this forum, I appreciate all of you, I appreciate the discourse.
Although Newman has claimed Operation Rescue is peaceful, this characterization ignores the organization’s history and current pattern of harassment against abortion providers.
For example, in 1987, Operation Rescue vice president Cheryl Sullenger was sentenced to prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic. Sullenger also communicated with Scott Roeder, the convicted assassin of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, providing him information about Tiller's schedule and location.
Far from Newman’s characterization, Rolling Stone’s profile explained Operation Rescue’s strategy as a “smear campaign … to shut down abortion clinics by systematically harassing their employees into quitting.” The article said Operation Rescue members “rummage through employees’ garbage … tail them around town as they run errands … picket clinic staffers at restaurants while they’re inside having dinner and castigate them while they’re in line at Starbucks.”
Newman also told Rolling Stone that he wanted providers and clinic employees to know that, “As long as they're embedded in the abortion industry receiving blood money, they can't live a normal life.” Treating abortion as abnormal or shameful reinforces abortion stigma -- the “shared understanding that abortion is morally wrong and/or socially unacceptable." Abortion is both common and overwhelmingly safe, but Newman’s demonization of abortion providers is part of a larger strategy by anti-choice groups to “exploit the stigma of abortion” in order to deter patients from accessing this essential health care service.
By failing to identify Newman’s history or call out the extreme nature of his anti-choice views, PBS and Michel Martin gave him a free platform to stigmatize abortion and normalize the further harassment of abortion providers.
Nugent To Clinton: “I Got Your Guncontrol Right Here Bitch!”
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, who will deliver a speech at the NRA’s annual meeting this month, shared a fake video that depicts Hillary Clinton being graphically murdered by Bernie Sanders with a handgun during a presidential debate.
In a May 10 post on his Facebook page, Nugent shared a video with the descriptions “Bernie Sanders destroys Hillary Clinton in debate on Vermont gun laws” and “Bernie Sanders absolutely killed Hillary over this issue.”
Nugent added his own comment: “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”
The video features edited footage of a CNN debate between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). As Clinton is answering a question about the gun issue, Sanders is depicted as pulling out a handgun and shooting her in the chest. Blood spurts from Clinton’s chest as she falls to the ground:
On Facebook, Nugent proceeded to like a comment by a supporter who fantasized about Clinton’s death.
Nugent is slated to speak at the NRA’s annual meeting, which will be held May 19 – 22 in Louisville, KY. According to the NRA, Nugent will deliver a speech called “2016 Election Do or Die for America and Freedom.” The description of the event claims, “The Obama/Clinton liberal Democrat gang is maniacal in their attack on all things individual rights, truth, logic, commonsense and The American Way. Are there enough of us willing to do battle with these evil forces?”
Nugent is also up for re-election on the NRA’s board of directors. The results of the election will be announced at the May meeting.
Groups Call Inclusion Of Troy Newman In PBS Town Hall “Disappointing,” “Downright Frightening And Potentially Dangerous”
In response, a number of reproductive rights organizations have criticized PBS for giving a national platform to Newman, who is best known for his ties to extreme anti-choice groups and history of harassing abortion providers with violent rhetoric.
Reproaction, a “direct action group” fighting to increase abortion access and advancing reproductive justice, said in a statement on its website, “It is incredibly disappointing that PBS would give a man whose organization has terrorized abortion providers a platform for anything, much less to support gun rights with no restrictions.” Reproaction further detailed Newman’s history of anti-choice activism and criticized PBS for giving “a terrorist whose rhetoric has spawned violence against abortion providers ... a national platform to state an extremist view on guns.”
There has been an unprecedented uptick in anti-choice violence since David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) – of which Newman was a board member -- released their deceptively edited videos attacking Planned Parenthood. The videos constituted a smear campaign so fraudulent it earned CMP the title of Media Matters’ 2015 Misinformer of the Year.
Citing this increased threat to abortion providers and clinics, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, criticized PBS in a statement sent to Media Matters. She wrote that giving “Newman this platform to advocate for the carrying of guns is not only irresponsible, it is downright frightening and potentially dangerous.”
Smeal noted that Newman was an especially inappropriate choice given his defense of other anti-choice extremists who have murdered abortion providers. For example, in discussing the 2003 execution of Paul Hill for murdering Dr. John Bayard Britton and his clinic escort, Newman argued “that ‘there are many examples of where taking the life in defense of human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law.’”
Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer at UltraViolet, also pointed to Newman’s “long history of anti-choice extremism” and defense of violence against abortion providers as reasons PBS should have excluded him from the panel. She told Media Matters that “by giving Newman a platform, on a panel about gun violence in America no less, PBS is providing Newman with an opportunity to whitewash his history of extremism and violence.”
According to Sasha Bruce, senior vice president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, “Troy Newman is a man who believes that the murder of abortion providers can be a justifiable action.” She wrote, “Despite these horrifying facts, PBS still chose to include him in its town hall about how we tackle the epidemic of gun violence in this country.” In her statement to Media Matters, Bruce concluded that “PBS should be ashamed of itself for giving weight to Troy Newman's dangerous opinions."