"The NRA went from its early mission to help teach marksmanship and gun safety to being a political powerhouse dedicated to inflaming culture wars and fundraising off fears of gun control," John Avlon said.
July 2, 2019

John, what has happened to NRA TV?

Avlon replied, "Guys, it looks like NRA TV got clutched by its own...

DANA LOESCH: clinched fist of truth.

That's right. The nation's largest gun lobby, the National Rifle Association shut down live programming last week and its online television channel, NRATV. Now that's because, according to Wayne LaPierre, the group's CEO, it had moved too far from its core mission of protecting the Second Amendment.

LOESCH: They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler, all to make them march and protest and make them scream about racism and sexisn and xenophobia and homophobia.

"Since its founding by two Union officers after the Civil War, the NRA went from its early mission to help teach marksmanship and gun safety to being a political powerhouse dedicated to inflaming culture wars and fundraising off fears of gun control, which may help explain why NRA-TV became known for strange stunts like putting characters from Thomas the Tank Engine into KKK hoods -- all apparently to protest the introduction of a character from Nigeria. LaPierre could have said no one was watching. The NRA website clocked a stunningly bad 49,000 unique visitors in January alone. By comparison, CNN saw an average of 120 million unique visitors a month in 2018. The NRA recently cut ties with its advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, which had been charging some $40 million a year for its services, including NRA-TV.

"Now, that hasn't been the only shakeup in NRA land. Last week, the group pushed out its second in command, Chris Cox, after accusing him and former president Oliver North of orchestrating some kind of internal coup against LaPierre. The group's finances have been in shambles, with North warning that allegations of financial improprieties 'could threaten our nonprofit status.' As always, if you want to find the truth, follow the money. Audits of the NRA by accountants showed that after spending $420 million in 2016, including $54 million to support Donald Trump and Republicans in the election, the group had a nearly $15 million deficit. and double that the following year, while donations fell.

"And according to numbers published by Vox, membership dues are off 21% since 2016, donations down the same period more than 23%, and the NRA has cut everything from employee pensions to free office coffee. Now that's really tough to swallow, given that Wayne LaPierre apparently spent almost $275,000 over a decade and change at the Zegna store in Beverly Hills on the company dime, despite a salary of a million dollars. Apparently you're gonna have to pry those fancy suits from his cold dead hands because the board still backs him, and the NRA's power over Congress can't be denied.

"After Sandy Hook, they helped block basic gun reforms, like basic background checks, still backed by 94% of the American people. The NRA's problems are a reminder how people invested in the partisan economy like to talk about principles while they seek to profit from polarization. The truth hurts but not quite as much as...

LOESCH: The clenched fist.

"And that's your reality check."

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