Media reporting on a National Rifle Association-backed bill introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to change the national background check system for gun purchases should know that the bill would actually weaken the system by making it easier for some people with serious mental health issues to buy guns.
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent referenced Nazi Germany's propaganda operation to claim that the worldwide outrage sparked by the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe is a "lie." He made the remarks during a media tour which saw him repeatedly defended the lion's killing by a hunter who paid guides to help him shoot big game.
Nugent has been one of the very few defenders of the paid hunt that killed Cecil -- a beloved, 13-year-old lion who was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Critics have expressed outrage about several aspects of the hunt, including its questionable legality, the fact that the hunters used bait to lure Cecil out of the preserve where he was protected, that Cecil was wounded by an arrow and suffered for two days before hunters tracked and killed him with a gun, that the hunters reportedly attempted to destroy Cecil's GPS collar signifying his participation in a scientific study, and that the hunters only took Cecil's head, leaving his body to rot.
During an Aug. 4 appearance on conservative Michael Berry's radio show, Nugent said, "Every word uttered by the 'Propaganda Ministry' about this lion kill is a lie. Every word is a lie, and I can take it lick-for-lick. Lured for a game preserve? Hello, that's why they have game preserves."
The "Propaganda Ministry" (Propagandaministerium) is one name used to describe propaganda efforts in Nazi Germany run by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Nugent frequently invokes Goebbels in his inflammatory attacks.
Later during Berry's show, Nugent compared the killing of Cecil to the phrase, "Black Lives Matter." Nugent said, "The entire episode is such a lie. It's like 'Black Lives Matter' ... I suppose those who claim 'Black Lives Matter' don't believe that that the black lives in Chicago matter or Baltimore or Detroit or New Orleans or Washington, D.C., because as black lives are slaughtered by the hour, not a peep. Same with lions. Thousands and thousands of lions were killed in the exact same legal manner, and not a peep for one reason and one reason only, because they didn't have names."
Nugent's appearance on Berry's show was just one of a series of interviews he has recently given in which he defended the killing of Cecil. During an Aug. 3 appearance on The Frank Beckmann Show, Nugent even unfavorably compared modern-day Zimbabwe to its former incarnation as Dutch-ruled Rhodesia to help rationalize the lion's killing.
Without mentioning that Rhodesia, the territorial predecessor to Zimbabwe, was ruled by a white minority that subjugated the black African population, Nugent complained about Zimbabwe game officials who have launched an investigation into Cecil's killing.
He said, "Do you know that Zimbabwe, right after it came from Rhodesia -- they changed because [President Robert] Mugabe's gangsters took over all the Dutch African farms? It was the bread basket of Africa, the entire continent. It was the most agriculture, productive country in Africa and then when Mugabe and his Crips and Bloods moved in, it's become nothing but a cesspool of violence and murder and rape and they don't produce squat. Somebody choose a system. If you are on Mugabe's side you're weird."
Image via Flickr user Vince O'Sullivan under a Creative Commons license.
Breitbart.com's John Nolte attacked actress and comedian Amy Schumer's recent call for gun safety measures, claiming that the Trainwreck star doesn't actually care about a mass shooting that occurred during a screening of her film, but rather that she hoped to cynically use the shooting as "a great opportunity" to advance her career.
Two women were killed and nine other people were injured after a gunman opened fire during a screening of Trainwreck at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana on July 23. The gunman, who had a history of domestic violence and bizarre behavior, committed suicide.
Following up on her pledge to engage on the issue of gun violence following the shooting, Schumer appeared alongside her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), at a press conference to promote new legislation to ensure that disqualifying records are submitted by states into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The bill includes other measures to address substance abuse and mental health issues.
During the Aug. 3 press conference, Amy Schumer said, "We're here today to say is enough is enough. To mass shootings in our schools, our college campuses, our military bases, and even in our movie theaters. These shootings have got to stop." She continued, "For me, the pain I share with so many other Americans on the issue of gun violence was made extremely personal to me on Thursday, July 23 when ... he sat down for my movie, Trainwreck, at the Grand Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. Two lives were tragically lost and others injured and I've thought about these victims each day since the tragedy."
A visibly emotional Schumer concluded her remarks by saying, "These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they will not be my last."
On the Aug. 3 broadcast of the National Rifle Association's radio show Cam & Company, Breitbart News editor-at-large John Nolte attacked Schumer's motives, claiming that she did not care about the shooting but rather wished to use the tragedy to advance her career.
According to Nolte, Schumer sees the mass shooting as "a great opportunity, this occurred at my movie and now the focus is on me, and what can I do to enhance my career."
"If she had any moral courage and she actually cared about what happened she would come out and she would say, 'Listen putting a sign on a movie theater that says no one inside it is armed, that this is a gun-free zone, is stupid.' She has the power to do this. She could make jokes about how stupid these gun-free zones are," Nolte continued.
Instead, Schumer "is dressing up like she is a grown-up and she's just exploiting the situation because it's an opportunity for her to maybe increase her box office over the weekend," he said, calling her advocacy "cowardly."
Nolte continued to claim that Schumer was using the shooting to advance her career, saying, "She's not thinking, she's just trying to please the right people to enhance her career. And she also -- there is a lot Oscar talk around her movie and that probably has something to do with it, too. You go the Angelina Jolie route so everybody suddenly starts to take you seriously." Nolte said all he sees "is cynicism behind" Schumer's call for action.
Cam & Company host Cam Edwards said that he disagreed with Nolte's assessment and would not impugn Schumer with a cynical motive for her comments on gun violence. Nolte responded, "You're a nicer guy than I am, but I just see these unthinking Hollywood types and it just enrages me."
As outrage continued over the killing of tourist attraction Cecil the lion by a hunter in Zimbabwe, National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called the controversy "a lie" and a "joke," adding, "God are people stupid."
The 13-year-old lion was killed by an American hunter after reportedly being lured outside of the confines of Hwange National Park sometime in early July. Cecil rose to fame and became a major tourist attraction after his participation in a scientific study that involved GPS tracking of his movements.
The BBC gave an account of the hunt, which involved wounding Cecil with a crossbow before killing him with a gun more than a day later, and noted that Cecil's cubs will now be killed:
He is believed to have been killed on 1 July but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
The ZCTF said the hunters had used bait to lure him outside Hwange National Park during a night-time pursuit.
Mr Palmer is said to have shot Cecil with a crossbow, injuring the animal. The group didn't find the wounded lion until 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
The animal had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by UK-based Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters tried to destroy it, but failed, according to the ZCTF.
On Monday, the head of the ZCTF told the BBC that Cecil "never bothered anybody" and was "one of the most beautiful animals to look at".
The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed by the new male lion in the pride, Johnny Rodrigues added, in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.
Controversy over the killing grew in recent days with the identification of Cecil's killer as an American dentist, leading to widespread condemnation of the man. The hunter, who previously pled guilty to a hunting-related crime in the United States, has said that he did not intend to kill Cecil. Still, the man is reportedly now wanted for poaching in Zimbabwe and may be the subject of a congressional inquiry.
On Facebook, Nugent attacked those upset by Cecil's killing on July 28, writing, "the whole story is a lie. ... I will write a full piece on this joke asap. God are people stupid."
NRA figures have previously defended controversial hunting practices. In September 2013, widespread outrage occurred after the host of NRA-sponsored hunting show Under Wild Skies, Tony Makris, shot an elephant in the face. Makris, who has longstanding ties to the NRA, responded to outrage over his hunt by comparing his critics to Hitler. NBC Sports canceled the show, citing Makris' "outrageous and unacceptable" comments.
The National Rifle Association debuted the third season of its web series Noir with the claim that singling out assault weapons for bans is a "form of tactical Jim Crow-style segregation."
Launched in 2014, Noir is the flagship program in the the NRA's "Freestyle" network, a digital platform that seeks to attract a younger audience to replace the NRA's aging demographic. The show is hosted by Colion Noir, a popular gun blogger turned NRA News commentator, and is sponsored by gun manufacturer Mossberg.
During the show's July 22 season debut, Noir warned about the prospect of a future assault weapons ban following a high-profile shooting, and claimed that selecting which guns fall within a ban is a "form of tactical Jim Crow-style segregation -- where if you don't shoot that kind of gun, you don't care what happens to it -- that will cause us to all lose our rights."
"Ironically, most guns are separate but pretty equal," Noir added.
NOIR: Let's not forget that in '94, the assault weapons ban would have banned all of these guns, the same ban they tried to reinstate in 2013. I can see the hunting guy in his fluorescent orange-colored Gucci hunting vest shrugging his shoulders like, "I give two shits about a tactical AR[-15]," not realizing that all it takes for them to want to ban his beloved gun of choice is a D.C. sniper copycat and a bunch of clueless anti-gunners realizing that the .30-06 [caliber round] can punch a hole through space and time.
It's this form of tactical Jim Crow-style segregation -- where if you don't shoot that kind of gun, you don't care what happens to it -- that will cause us to all lose our rights. Ironically, most guns are separate but pretty equal.
This is not the first time an NRA News commentator has invoked racist Jim Crow laws when talking about guns. During a July 2014 commentary, NRA News commentator Dom Raso claimed laws relating to the buying, owning, and carrying of firearms are "equally as unconstitutional" as Jim Crow laws.
The NRA was also widely derided in January 2013 after a past president of the organization said on NRA News that the assault weapons ban proposed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was like racial discrimination because "banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics."
After a gunman killed nine people in a historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, gun safety advocates responded with calls to expand the national background check system. Just as quickly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) reacted to those calls, slamming gun safety groups for "exploiting" the tragedy for "political purposes."
One month later, another gunman killed five members of the military at a naval facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The NRA was again quick to respond, but this time claimed the incident provided proof that firearm policies on military bases must be changed to loosen the rules about service members carrying guns.
So which is it? The NRA apparently thinks it is exploitative to discuss gun violence following mass shootings -- unless, of course, the discussion is about why we should loosen gun laws. Their stance on the issue changes based on how to best advance the organization's interests.
Following the mass murder at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, the NRA went into its post-mass shooting standard operating procedure -- shutting down its social media accounts and refusing to speak to the press. Two days later, the NRA's media arm addressed the shooting, with NRA News host Cam Edwards opining that it was "completely inappropriate" to discuss gun policies the day after the incident, adding, "I did not receive a single email communication chastising me or complaining that we should have been talking about policy and politics as opposed to remembering the victims in Charleston."
Soon, though, the NRA was forced to issue an official statement after one of its board members created controversy by blaming the shooting on the church's slain pastor, who was a supporter of gun safety policies.
While distancing itself from the board member's comments, the NRA claimed on June 20 that out of "respect" for the victims, "we do not feel that this is [a] appropriate time for a political debate," adding, "We will have no further comment until all the facts are known."
Three weeks later, the NRA did offer an additional comment on the Charleston shooting, following a push by gun safety advocates for expanded background checks. (It would later be revealed that the gunman was able to purchase a weapon despite being legally prohibited because of an NRA-backed loophole in federal law.) In a July 8 statement attacking gun safety groups, the NRA said, "gun control advocates are offering a solution that won't solve the problem. Even they admit that the legislation they are pushing wouldn't have prevented the tragic crimes they are exploiting for political purposes."
The NRA has continued to advance this narrative on the Charleston shooting and proposed gun law reforms. In a July 17 post on the website of its lobbying arm, the NRA lashed out at Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) after the South Carolina congressman proposed eliminating the NRA-backed loophole that helped arm the Charleston gunman.
Clyburn was "exploiting a recent tragedy" according to the NRA, which also said, "Gun control advocates are shameless in their willingness to exploit tragedy to achieve their agenda." The NRA re-published its attack on Clyburn at the conservative news website Daily Caller on July 19.
The very next day, the NRA's top lobbyist used the July 16 Chattanooga mass shooting to call for changes to gun laws, telling Military Times, "It's outrageous that members of our armed services have lost their lives because the government has forced them to be disarmed in the workplace. Congress should pursue a legislative fix to ensure that our service men and women are allowed to defend themselves on U.S. soil."
So when the NRA called for a policy change it claimed was justified by the Chattanooga shooting, was it exploiting those victims?
The fact is that after pretty much any high-profile national event, mass shooting or otherwise, policy debates are often triggered. In the NRA's hypocritical world view, however, calls for stronger gun laws are disrespectful, exploitative, and shameless -- while calls for less restrictions are sensible, timely, and relevant. Even worse, the gun group's post-shooting strategy operates from behind a façade of "respect" for the victims.
The NRA's doublespeak on Charleston and Chattanooga, however, reveals that its real concern is its own agenda.
The National Rifle Association is defending the loophole in federal law that allowed the alleged killer of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church to buy a gun without a completed background check by downplaying that thousands of dangerous people exploit the loophole each year to obtain guns.
On July 10, FBI Director James Comey announced that Dylann Storm Roof was ineligible under federal law to buy the gun used in the attack because of a prior admission to drug possession.
Due to paperwork errors, however, an employee at the FBI-administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which processes background checks for guns sold by licensed dealers, was unable to locate and view Roof's arrest record, despite knowing that one existed somewhere.
Under the current background check system, if a check cannot be completed within three business days, it may proceed at the gun dealer's discretion in what is known as a "default proceed" sale. According to the FBI, this is how Roof's sale was completed.
In a July 17 post on its lobbying website, the NRA sought to defend the loophole it helped create by attacking a legislative proposal by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to eliminate "default proceed" sales, arguing that the congressman was "exploiting a recent tragedy."
The NRA described "default proceed" sales as "a critical safety valve" to shield prospective gun purchasers from undergoing delays in the completion of background checks. (More than 90 percent of checks processed by NICS are completed instantly.)
The gun group then offered a deceptive analysis of FBI data to downplay the thousands of gun sales to prohibited persons through "default proceed" sales each year, concluding that even in spite of these sales -- one of which supplied the gun used in the racially-motivated Charleston mass murder -- there isn't "a public safety crisis demanding congressional intervention":
According [to] the FBI's most recent NICS operations report, 9% of FBI NICS checks in 2014 were delayed "for additional review." The report does not go on to detail how many of those delays extended beyond three days. Nevertheless, based on the total number of NICS check the FBI ran in 2014, these delays affected some 743,102 people.
Meanwhile, the delays resulted in only 2,511 actions for firearm retrievals (or three-tenths of one percent of total delays). Thus, in over 99.6% of delayed cases, the delay was less than three days, the FBI could not substantiate the person was prohibited, or the FFL did not transfer the firearm. That hardly seems to indicate a public safety crisis demanding congressional intervention.
The statistic offered by the NRA that suggests "default proceed" sales to prohibited persons make up less than one percent of the total number of delayed sales does not actually assess whether those sales pose a public safety threat. The fact that the loophole was exploited by the Charleston gunman -- and according to FBI data by more than 30,000 prohibited individuals over the last decade -- suggests that "default proceed" sales do pose a danger to the public.
According to FBI data, more than 20 percent of "default proceed" sales where a final determination is made by the FBI involve sales of firearms to prohibited individuals. An analysis of this data by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found "default proceed sales are more than 8 times more likely to be associated with a prohibited purchaser than sales where the purchaser's background check is resolved within three days."
The NRA attempted a second tactic to attack Clyburn and protect the "default proceed" loophole it helped create by falsely claiming that Roof may have been a legal firearm purchaser. The NRA suggests that Roof may not have been prohibited by citing conflicting media reports regarding whether at the time of the gun purchase Roof had a pending misdemeanor or felony drug charge:
None of this matters to Rep. Clyburn, of course, who is hoping the recent tragedy in South Carolina will give his legislation the momentum it needs to succeed. Clyburn claimed in his press release announcing the bill that "[u]nder current law, the Charleston shooter should have been barred from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer." That assertion is by no means clear, with media outlets now reporting that the suspect was arrested for a misdemeanor, not a felony, as originally reported. A single misdemeanor arrest, without more, is not cause for a denial under federal law (on the other hand, if the suspect had been formally charged with a felony, he would have been federally prohibited from buying a gun).
Under federal law, individuals under indictment for felonies are prohibited from buying firearms and should be flagged by the background check system. The NRA's citation of this fact, however, is a red herring because Roof was actually prohibited from owning a gun under a different provision of federal law.
According to the head of the FBI, police documents indicated that Roof had admitted to possession of a controlled substance. Under longstanding federal law, someone who "is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance" (as defined by the Controlled Substances Act) is prohibited from buying a firearm. But because an investigator wasn't able to locate this record within three business days, Roof was able to buy a gun anyways.
A Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation has found no evidence that the anti-fraud program "Operation Choke Point" targeted gun retailers, contrary to what conservative media outlets and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have long claimed.
Operation Choke Point was conceived as an anti-fraud program by the DOJ's Consumer Protection Branch in November 2012 based on the suspicion that some banks -- acting with knowledge or willful blindness -- entered into businesses relationships with individuals engaged in fraud. As an early memo explained, Choke Point was designed as "a strategy to attack Internet, telemarketing, mail, and other mass market fraud against consumers, by choking fraudsters' access to the banking system."
Conservative media and the NRA have repeatedly insisted that Choke Point was part of a government conspiracy to target gun retailers -- based on the belief that the Obama administration is "anti-gun." But a new report from the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) -- the office responsible for "investigating allegations of misconduct involving Department attorneys" -- has decisively concluded "that the evidence did not demonstrate that Operation Choke Point" was used to target firearm sellers.
In January 2014, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee opened an investigation into Choke Point to determine whether the program may have "inappropriately target[ed] two lawful financial services: third-party payment processing and online lending."
Although no mention of gun retailers was made during the first congressional inquiries, NRA News host Cam Edwards began connecting Choke Point to claims by some firearm retailers that banks were refusing to do business with them.
With no evidence to bear that claim out, Choke Point then became a regular topic of discussion by the NRA and conservative media, which characterized it as another Obama administration scandal. The anti-fraud program was discussed dozens of times on the NRA's radio and (since-cancelled) television show, and the NRA's lobbying wing, the Institute for Legislation Action, offered frequent updates on the so-called scandal.
Choke Point was also widely reported on by the conservative Washington Times, which interviewed gun retailers who claimed their business relationships with banks had been terminated because of the program. (At the time, Media Matters exposed the dubiousness of these claims. For example, one gun retailer had his account terminated by his bank months before Choke Point was even proposed by DOJ.) The Washington Times editorial board declared, "Obama wants to use the banks to void the Second Amendment."
False claims about Choke Point's targets were also picked up by Fox News, with network contributor Katie Pavlich claiming that DOJ was "discriminating" against gun owners. As recently as April 13, Fox News correspondent Trace Gallagher falsely reported on The Kelly File that "Operation Choke Point was created by the Obama administration to choke out businesses it finds objectionable, like gun shops, casinos, and tobacco sellers."
None of this is true, according to the DOJ OPR investigation, which examined "memoranda, subpoenas, and contemporaneous emails" related to the operation. The July 7 report found no evidence that Choke Point had "compelled banks to terminate business relationships" with firearm sellers (emphasis added):
OPR also concluded that the evidence did not demonstrate that Operation Choke Point compelled banks to terminate business relationships with other lawful businesses, a concern raised in your letter and the Staff Report. Indeed, OPR found no evidence establishing that any CPB attorney intentionally targeted any of the industries listed in the Staff Report (including credit repair companies, debt consolidation and forgiveness programs, online gambling-related operations, government grant or will-writing kits, pornography, online tobacco or firearms sales, pharmaceutical sales, sweepstakes, magazine subscriptions, etc.). None of the subpoenas or memoranda issued or drafted in connection with Operation Choke Point focused on specific categories of purportedly fraudulent businesses, except for fraudulent Internet payday lending, to the limited extent discussed above. Moreover, the CPB attorneys' e-mail records contained no discussion or even mention of targeting any such specific industries.
As the report noted, there was no evidence that attorneys involved in Choke Point ever discussed firearm businesses at any time during Choke Point.
National Rifle Association (NRA) board member Ted Nugent said opponents of the Confederate flag should value "substance over symbolism," and asked, "If we burned every Confederate flag today, would they stop shooting each other in Chicago?"
Nugent defended the Confederate flag on July 8 during an appearance on the Blog Talk Radio show, World Positive Thinkers, just hours before the South Carolina House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. The flag, which FoxNews.com noted was raised on the Statehouse grounds "more than 50 years ago to protest the civil rights movement," will be removed on July 10.
Although it's been a contentious issue in South Carolina for years, momentum to remove the flag increased following the apparently racially-motivated June 17 mass shooting at the African-American Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston that left nine people dead.
During his World Positive Thinkers appearance, Nugent was asked to address calls by activists that his fellow Detroit musician Kid Rock should stop displaying the Confederate flag at concerts. Nugent said, "I believe that we always have to look at substance over symbolism and I think we have to be honest," before asking, "If we burned every Confederate flag today, would they stop shooting each other in Chicago? If we burned every Confederate flag today, would we stop sanctuary cities from accommodating murderers and rapists and savage people?"
Nugent, who said that he flies a Confederate flag at his residence, defended displaying the flag by saying, "I believe that if you believe the Confederate flag is one of honor for the Southern tradition, I believe you should have every right in the world to display that flag and wave it proudly."
On July 8, Nugent also wrote on Facebook that it was "bullshit" to remove the flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
Image from leaked 2006 NRA graphic novel showing man guarding his home against looters following a natural disaster.
A new "Commentators" video from the National Rifle Association (NRA) accuses the "mainstream media" of pushing negative stereotypes about African-American gun ownership "with their modern-day minstrel show they call journalism."
Left unsaid in this "analysis" is the NRA's long history of stoking and exploiting racial fears, prime examples of which are racially charged comments by both NRA leader Wayne LaPierre and NRA board member Ted Nugent, an NRA-produced graphic novel that critics say had "deliberate racial overtones," and an NRA report that claimed race, not access to guns, plays a "significant" role in murders.
In a "Commentators" video posted July 8 to the NRA News website, Colion Noir, an NRA News commentator and host of an NRA web series, blamed "anti-gun politicians and the mainstream media" for negative stereotypes surrounding the ownership of firearms by African-Americans. Noir said, "The image of black gun ownership has been hijacked and vilified by an anti-gun mainstream media, the same way they vilified the Cubans, the Italians, the Irish, and the Mexicans. They project and glorify this D Boy gangbanging image as if African-Americans are nothing more than that."
Under Noir's theory, instead of "addressing the real issue," the mainstream media is interested in "race baiting" and heightening racial tensions so they can "rake in the dough with their modern-day minstrel show they call journalism." He went on to blame the mainstream media for promoting negative stereotypes about African-American gun ownership because "the same liberal mainstream media that claims to want to end gun violence in the inner city is the same liberal-minded Hollywood production companies and major record labels that glorify and perpetuate the drug-dealing-gang-banging-black-man-with-a-gun stereotype."
This latest charge against the media -- a frequent target of criticism from the NRA -- ignores that the gun group has routinely negatively stereotyped minorities as dangerous, often with the purpose of promoting gun ownership among its members.
In particular, NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre was criticized in 2013 for a racially-charged column he wrote for the conservative website Daily Caller that suggested owning a gun was essential to survival. Published in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, LaPierre made up claims about "hellish" looting in "south Brooklyn" and fearmongered about "Latin American drug gangs" who have supposedly "invaded every city of significant size in the United States."
Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough reacted to LaPierre's claims by saying, "This is so laced with racial overtones that the Republican party, if they were smart, their leaders today would condemn it."
The Sportsman Channel has decided to not renew the National Rifle Association's (NRA) weekday news show, Cam & Company, ending the program's two-and-a-half year run on the outdoor-themed network.
The hour-long show served as a vehicle for the NRA's frequent misinformation and extremism on the issue of gun violence. During the June 26 broadcast, host Cam Edwards announced the end of the series, effective that day.
Edwards said, "Beginning next Monday, you will be seeing a different program here at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sportsman Channel. We do want to thank all the folks at Sportsman Channel for our time here on the program. I wish I -- there's no drama, there's no dramatic backstory to this. It's just one of those decisions that has happened."
The NRA's three-hour weekday radio show, also called Cam & Company, will continue to air at NRANews.com and on SiriusXM.
Cam & Company debuted on Sportsman Channel on January 15, 2013. In a press release, the network claimed the show would be "the one and only news-talk series on television that can authoritatively address the issues that are vital to America's more than 80 million sportsmen and sportswomen."
In a nod to the fact that the show debuted just one month after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the release stated, "With national passions running high on the issue of firearms ownership and rights in America, the series launch is especially timely."
The NRA's executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre added, "The partnership expansion of these two great American brands, the Sportsman Channel and the NRA, comes at a critical time in the history of preserving our Second Amendment freedom."
The launch of the show kicked off a growing partnership between Sportsman Channel and the NRA, with the network participating in both the 2014 and 2015 NRA annual meetings. In January 2015, Sportsman Channel was acquired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a media company that has a "strategic partnership" with the NRA through its Outdoor Channel.
In a June 24 press release, Sportsman Channel announced several changes to its lineup for the third quarter, including 13 new series, beginning on June 29.
Sportsman Channel issued the following statement to Media Matters about the end of the Cam & Company television show:
We have enjoyed our relationship with Cam & Company and appreciate their efforts over the 2 1/2 years they were on our air. Sportsman Channel was proud to be the first network to take the forward step to air a daily show focused on our second amendment rights. Unfortunately, we are not able to continue with the program. We continue to support Cam & Company and the NRA, as well as to air a robust schedule of the best in class firearms programming.
Viewers can continue to watch the Cam & Company show on NRANews.com from 2-5 p.m. each weekday. Also, previously aired shows and interviews are available at http://www.nranews.com/cam/list/cam-company and podcasts can be found on iHeartRadio and iTunes. In addition, Cam & Company is simulcast on SiriusXM.
The complete schedule can be viewed at www.nranews.com/cam/list/cam-and-co-schedule.
Conservative media used the Supreme Court decision affirming that marriage is a fundamental right of all Americans to argue that the Constitution also requires states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. But the Supreme Court has never held that carrying a gun in public is a fundamental right.
Conservative media and the National Rifle Association (NRA) quickly seized on the decision to draw a parallel with concealed carry reciprocity, a top federal legislative priority of the NRA. Reciprocity legislation, also known as federally mandated concealed carry, would force states to recognize permits to carry concealed guns issued by other states, regardless of what the issuing state's standards are for issuing permits.
Reciprocity legislation has been introduced in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, but conservative media and the NRA view Obergefell as an opportunity to argue that the Constitution extends at least some right to reciprocal permit recognition regardless of whether Congress acts. The problem with that argument, however, is that the 2008 landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller limited the scope of the Second Amendment right to gun possession to people's homes.
Despite this, on the June 26 broadcast of the NRA's news show Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards made the argument that the marriage ruling "might present an additional argument to make at the legal level for extending reciprocity nationwide," remarking, "Since we're talking about licenses, a lot of gun owners are wondering, ok, does this, could this have an impact on the debate for instance over right-to-carry reciprocity?"
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent distorted recent comments President Obama made on the race issue in America to defend the use of the N-word including its racist use by former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman.
In a June 24 column for conspiracy website WND, Nugent addressed President Obama's reference to the word "nigger" on Marc Moran's WTF podcast. Obama said, "Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say 'nigger' in public."
Apparently misinterpreting the point Obama was making about racism, Nugent praised Obama, writing that he "is not afraid of speaking honestly without fear of politically correct word nazi's going berserk."
Nugent went on to heap praise on the word, without mentioning its long and vile association with racism. Citing himself as someone who "continue[s] to use the word nigger at one time or another," Nugent listed several well-known people, including Fuhrman, whom he said were not bound by "political correctness" in their use of the word:
Along with President Obama and my hero Richard Pryor, we join Howard Stern, Johnny Cochran, Mark Furman [sic], O.J. Simpson, Kid Rock, James Brown, the mighty Funkbrothers, Al not so Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Malcom X, Kanye West, Fifty Cent and pretty much every black rapper and hip hopper on earth, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, a few thousand NBA, NFL, MLB sports stars, legions of famous and not so famous musicians, actors, politicians, media personalities and assorted celebrities of every color, creed, ethnicity and walk of life, along with a few million others around the world who have used and continue to use the word nigger at one time or another.The dishonest referencing of the word by its first letter is the epitome of political correctness gone mad.
Fuhrman, who is now a Fox News contributor, was an LAPD homicide detective on the O.J. Simpson murder case. During Simpson's trial, the defense produced tapes of Fuhrman using the N-word 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?" He was also recorded bragging that he liked lining up "niggers against the wall and shooting them."
In his WND column, Nugent lavishly praised the word. He wrote, "The word nigger has historically been used in a powerfully positive way when describing the proud heritage and history of deeply respected, even revered 'blackness,'" and noted that he considered it "the greatest compliment" when someone uses the word to describe his music.
Nugent added, "The word is used constantly across America in a friendly, even tribal greeting and salutation with no hint whatsoever of negativity nor hostility," and compared its use to the "'MF' word" -- a reference to "mother fucker" that he never spelled out, although his column did spell out the word "nigger" five times.
Nugent also wrote, "As blacks blow away blacks in record numbers in Chicago and other urban hellzones each weekend, does anyone have the audacity to believe that words play any role in this insane widespread criminality?" adding, "What sort of goofball could possibly believe that certain words are OK for one group of people but forbidden by others?"
On Facebook, Nugent promoted his WND column in a post that said, "When I play my Motown guitar, I niggerup."
Nugent, who has a lengthy history of racially-charged rhetoric, is correct that he has used the N-word before. In a 1990 interview with Detroit Free Press Magazine, Nugent defended the apartheid system in South Africa and said, "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 ... I don't mean to offend."
In a 1995 interview with Bob Mack of Grand Royal magazine, Nugent claimed "real America" was full of "working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers, who are independent and get up in the morning," before saying of James Brown and several other African-American musicians, "Those are niggers, those are fucking spirited, genuine African-Americans."
During an interview for the release a 2002 album, Nugent reportedly said, "So when ever someone tries to claim that I'm a racist because I use the word 'nigger,' the word 'nigger' is a badge of honour where I come from."
Beyond his use of racial slurs, Nugent has called Obama a "subhuman mongrel" and has claimed that African-Americans should be racially profiled the same way members of a community might profile a breed of dog that was biting children. He also said 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."
This post has been updated to include additional information.
During an appearance on the National Rifle Association's radio show, conservative radio host Tony Katz said relatives of the victims of the Charleston church shooting showed "serious weakness" in forgiving the accused gunman and suggested that it would be justifiable to kill members of the gunman's family out of retribution.
On June 19 several family members of victims killed in a June 17 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, attended the first court appearance of the alleged gunman and forgave the man for killing members of their family.
Hours later Katz, who makes regular Friday appearances on the NRA program Cam & Company, reacted to the court appearance by calling the move to forgive not "a moment of strength" but rather "a moment of serious weakness that we do not respond with a 'you don't get to kill us, we kill you.'"
Katz continued, "As a matter of fact, we kill you tenfold, who's in your family today?" -- putting forward the suggestion that the family members of accused murderers should be murdered themselves in retribution.
He concluded by calling his reaction -- which included advocacy for the killing of innocent people -- "far more natural and in many ways far more decent than sometimes the reactions I see." Host Cam Edwards responded, "All right, far more natural I might agree with, far more decent, I don't -- I'm going to have to disagree with you there."
KATZ: Now we know me and we know you and others who may think about being attacked and put ourselves in positions not to be or at least be able to fight back, but that's what I come to and I get the fact, I get it, not everybody is going to agree with me, but I think that my reaction is far more natural and in many ways far more decent than sometimes the reactions I see.
EDWARDS: All right, far more natural I might agree with, far more decent, I don't -- I'm going to have to disagree with you there.
Katz previously appeared on NRA News to criticize the victims of several calamities, including Hurricane Katrina, for not doing enough to save themselves from death or injury.
Katz is not the first conservative figure to criticize those affected by the Charleston shooting. In a June 18 post on a pro-gun web forum, NRA board member Charles L. Cotton wrote that the victims "died because of" Reverend Clementa Pinckney's advocacy for gun safety laws. Pinckney was also killed in the attack.
During the June 24 broadcast of Tony Katz and the Morning News on 93.1 WIBC, Katz addressed his June 19 comments he made on NRA News about the Charleston shooting victims' family members forgiving the gunman. Katz said that he was "sickened," "disgusted," and "very bothered" by the forgiveness shown to the alleged perpetrator, but also said it was "probably wrong" of him to characterize the forgiveness given by victims' family members as "weakness" and that he was not "entitled" to say so.
He also said, "I think I did a poor job of pivoting, which has happened to me before, and I don't believe in hiding these things. I don't believe in saying, 'Oh, it's just one conversation, it's no big deal.' And some people will tell me, 'Tony, you dwell on this stuff too much.' I believe that if we're going to be honest with each other the only way to do that is to when you think you don't do it right, or you don't do it clearly, you go back and do it clearly. Let me say it again, and I don't apologize for what I said, I'm going to go for clarity. I look at forgiveness of somebody who murders your family not as a virtue. I look at it and I say, 'I don't get it.'"
Katz also talked about his suggestion that it would be acceptable to murder members of the gunman's family out of retribution. During his June 19 appearance on NRA News, Katz said, "We do not respond with a 'you don't get to kill us, we kill you.' As a matter of fact, we kill you tenfold, who's in your family today?" During his June 24 WIBC broadcast, Katz said, "One of the non-journalistic organizations of the world, Media Matters for America, picked it up they called me bloodthirsty because they were discussing how I'm proactively wishing that these family members would go out and kill the family members of this murderer, Dylann Roof. Which is not-- it, it goes to a much larger conversation that I have, and that conversation is about being prepared for moments and being a society in which those who wish to do harm, because you can't stop people from doing harm if they really want to, you can't stop the sick, you can't stop the demented, but those who want to do harm, they should at least have to question whether or not they should do it to you."
Katz's full discussion of his comments:
National Rifle Association board member Charles L. Cotton wrote that the victims of a mass shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina church died because of Reverend Clementa Pinckney's advocacy for gun safety laws.
Pinckney, along with eight others, was killed by a gunman during a June 17 attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 2013, Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina State Senator, introduced legislation to require more comprehensive background checks on gun sales and supported several other gun safety measures during his career as a legislator.
In a post on an online forum for Texas supporters of the concealed carry of handguns, Cotton wrote, "he [Rev. Pinckney] voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue."
At the bottom of Cotton's post was an image that promoted NRA membership:
Cotton, who is active in Texas NRA affiliate group Texas State Rifle Association, faced criticism in February for his assertion that corporal punishment for children could prevent him from "having to put a bullet in him later." According to Talking Points Memo Cotton wrote:
"I'm sick of this woman and her 'don't touch my kid regardless what he/she did or will do again' attitude," Cotton wrote in a thread titled "HB567: Corporal punishment in schools."
"Perhaps a good paddling in school may keep me from having to put a bullet in him later," he added.
Cotton is listed in the NRA's magazine as a member of the board of directors, with his term expiring in 2017.
According to NRAOnTheRecord.org, Cotton has served on the NRA board for more than a decade and has also served on the Board of Trustees of the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.