“Media Matters works daily to notify activists, journalists, pundits, and the general public about instances of misinformation,” their About Us webpage proclaims, “providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.” Direct action, eh? How the hell did they get 501(c)(3) charitable status? Oh wait, Obama’s IRS. Anyway, Media Matters reckons the NRA is racist . . .
In the October edition of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) magazine America’s 1st Freedom, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre takes on what he calls the “false notion” from the “gun-ban media” that “somehow the NRA is racist.” Outlets covering the NRA and race should consider these examples — starting with LaPierre himself — in evaluating his claims:
Click here to examine 23 pieces of “evidence” that the NRA is racist, collated by Timothy Johnson, art history grad and former worker bee for The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. [NB: Media Matters is not advertiser supported, so your visit won’t raise their revenue (although it might please their benefactors).]
Suffice it to say, there is no “smoking gun” amongst the examples provided. It really is weak sauce: a litany of innuendo connecting supposedly racist dots that have no more relation to each other than Media Matters and the truth about, well, anything. Here’s an example:
During a 2014 speech, LaPierre adopted conservative media’s racially charged claims about the (nonexistent) “knockout game” phenomenon — in which black youths supposedly assault unsuspecting, mostly white, victims on the street for fun — to hype gun ownership.
Mr. Johnson’s claim that Mr. LaPierre’s comments on the “knockout game” show that the NRA is racist depends on the writer’s claim that the “game” was imagined by racists. It wasn’t. (Ask Al Sharpton.) More to the point, LaPierre didn’t mention the race of thugs engaging in the “game.” He simply condemned the violence.
Mr. Johnson offers seven “reasons” relating to Ted Nugent, including one asserting that the NRA is racist because members re-elected Mr. Nugent, and the civil right org’s leadership didn’t condemn their Board Member’s comments.
The final “reason” the NRA is racist: the gun rights group supported Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Proof so incontrovertible Media Matters put the picture above at the top of their post.
This writer has constantly urged the NRA to reach out to minority communities. But the idea that the NRA suffers from “institutional racism” is both mendacious and malicious. You might even say intentionally divisive. What are the odds?