The day after the New York Times aired its first promotional TV ad in seven years, the National Rifle Association (NRA) responded with an ad of its own.
Mimicking the style of the Times’ ad, which reached millions during the Oscars broadcast, the NRA accuses the newspaper of selectively reporting the truth when it’s advantageous to progressives.
“America has stopped looking to the New York Times for the truth,” the 75-second ad declares. “Now more than ever, the times are burning, and the media elite have been caught holding the match.”
Throughout the ad, the NRA lists news events that it accuses the Times of ignoring. But what the ad misses is that the newspaper did, in fact, cover every event it mentions, often with extensive reporting. The newspaper chronicled the rise of the anti-government Tea Party movement in 2009, job losses during the recession, the 2015 “chaos on the streets of Paris,” the violence associated with drug trafficking from Mexico, rising premiums under Obamacare, the effects of globalization on American small towns, Obama’s “red line” comments on Syria, ISIS’ murder of journalists and civilian hostages in the Middle East, the embassy deaths in Benghazi, increased gun violence in Chicago.
Yet according to the NRA, the newspaper ignores these events because they do not positively reflect liberals.
“The truth is that the truth didn’t matter to the New York Times then as much as now — because as long as liberals were ‘progressing,’ the truth was depressing,” the ad claims.
This ad follows another the gun lobby released last week in which it declared itself the leader of the “counter-resistance” that will support Trump. “Donald Trump will need every ounce of energy we can muster, and he has no more powerful ally than the NRA,” Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre declares.
Then, in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, LaPierre echoed Trump’s claim that the press is “the enemy of the people.” He also took credit for using the term “fake news” before the president and claimed that conservatives should arm themselves for self-defense against violent leftist protesters.
It’s no surprise that the NRA is echoing Fox News, Breitbart, InfoWars, and other far-right media outlets’ criticism of the press. Together, the outlets have become essentially a propaganda network for the Trump White House that has effectively disseminated Trump and Steve Bannon’s hostility toward the media.
Trump has also aligned himself closely on the side of the gun lobby, promising to protect the Second Amendment by eliminating gun free school zones and making plans to repeal an Obama-era regulation banning firearm sales to certain people with mental illness.
The NRA contributed over $30 million to Trump’s campaign, more than any other outside spending group. As Shannon Watts, the founder of gun safety group Moms Demand Action, told ThinkProgress, the gun lobby is “going to expect to see a return on their investment.”