Wednesday, June 26, 2019


I'd like to feel triumphant about this:
The National Rifle Association has shut down production at NRATV.

The N.R.A. on Tuesday also severed all business with its estranged advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, which operates NRATV, the N.R.A.’s live broadcasting media arm, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The New York Times.

While NRATV may continue to air past content, its live broadcasting will end and its on-air personalities — Ackerman employees including Dana Loesch — will no longer be the public faces of the N.R.A....

The development is the latest in what has been a tumultuous year for the N.R.A. It has struggled to right its finances; faced investigations in Congress and by Letitia James, the New York attorney general; and witnessed a leadership struggle that pitted Oliver North, the N.R.A.’s former president, against Mr. LaPierre. Last week, The Times reported that the N.R.A. had suspended Christopher W. Cox, its longtime second-in-command, after a legal filing by the N.R.A. implicated him in a failed plot to oust Mr. LaPierre.
However, it reminds me of this:

Like Murdoch, the NRA will find a way to survive. As the Times story notes, NRATV wasn't a critical part of the NRA operation:
The site’s web traffic was minuscule, with 49,000 unique visitors in January, according to a report provided by Comscore.
The videos that went viral did so on the left, where we were horrified by them.

After all the massacres and inflammatory NRA rhetoric in recent years, the group is still seen favorably by a majority of Americans, according to Gallup -- 53% in a 2018 poll, with 42% viewing the group unfavorably. Being pro-NRA has little to do with guns -- it's a way of saying, "I'm not a politically correct Eastern coastal elitist. I go to church and listen to country music." (And yes, also: "I'm white, and I live in a mostly white community and think that's what all of America should look like.") The desire to sign on to that tribal message isn't going away anytime soon.

The NRA becomes more popular among Republicans every year, even as (or perhaps I should say because) it becomes less popular every year among Democrats. In that 2018 poll, 88% of Republicans regard the NRA favorably -- but although its popularity has declined on the other side, 24% of Democrats still see the group favorably.

The 2020 Democratic candidates will make a lot of folks believe they need to renew their NRA memberships -- and if a Democrat wins the presidency, membership will skyrocket again. So let's hold off on the wake for the NRA. It's not dead yet.

And as for Dana Loesch, I'm sure she'll land on her feet. She's telegenic and an excellent demagogue. Some right-wing media outlet will give her a high-profile job soon -- and if not, there are always openings in the Trump administration.

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