How Did NRA-TV Get Undone?

              Poor Dana Loesch. America’s home school queen and one of the country’s foremost practitioners of the art of armed, self-defense, all of a sudden finds herself unemployed. For that matter, she’ll be lining up for unemployment benefits with all the other media luminaries who have spent the last few years gracing the digital portals of NRA-TV, because NRA-TV is finished and dead.

              Of course you can watch some reruns any time you want and see Colion Noir prancing around some shooting range or Grant Stinchfield bemoaning the continued downward slide of America into a socialist mess. You can even find some old videos starring Oliver North pretending to kn ow something about guns. Remember him?

              Until all the sturm und drang broke out between the boys in Fairfax and their advertising agency, Ackerman-McQueen, I didn’t know that Dana wasn’t employed by the NRA.  The press release that came from Wayne LaPierre defined her role like this: “Dana Loesch, the conservative leader, online pioneer and nationally syndicated radio host, will serve as a major national spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre named Loesch as a Special Assistant to his office for Public Communication, with direct attributable authority on NRA matters.”

              Now this statement doesn’t actually say that her salary was being paid by the NRA. But it was obviously written to give that impression, okay?  And this impression, it turns out, was a lie. Because Dana and all the other talking heads on NRA-TV were employees of Ackerman-McQueen, which happens to be suing the NRA to recover the monies they need to compensate these employees for acting jobs which will now not get done.

              All of this raises an interesting question about the past relationship between the NRA and Ackerman-McQueen, namely, which organization was the dog and which was the tail. Did the video messaging reflect what the NRA leadership wanted its members to see and hear, or was the content of NRA-TV determined by what the folks at Ackerman-McQueen thought was the best way to sell the NRA?  The answer to this question isn’t just an issue of nuance because either the membership belongs to an organization which controls its own affairs, or the organization itself has become a subsidiary to an advertising agency who viewed America’s ‘first civil-rights organization’ as just another product to be marketed and sold.

              Either way, some of the information coming out from this imbroglio makes me begin to think that maybe, just maybe the boys in Fairfax may be hanging onto the ropes.  Last week I mentioned that monthly visits to the NRA-TV website had dropped from 370,000 in February to 210,000 in May, a decline in viewership of nearly 50 percent. But an even more ominous statistic is that the number of unique visitors to the video channel in January was only 49,000; in other words, NRA-TV hasn’t even been attracting one percent of the organization’s membership – a pretty pathetic state of affairs.

              The NRA has always presented itself as the only group out there which stands between law-abiding gun owners and the anti-gun hordes. And whenever the hordes put one of their own into the White House, the NRA ramps up its messaging to underscore the ‘threat’ to our 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ But that’s a pretty tough sell when, to everyone’s astonishment, the tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue turned out to be a guy who basically ran an entire national campaign on his love of guns. And when this guy turns around and invites Wayne-o to the White House for the Easter Egg hunt, it gets pretty hard to convince anyone that their guns are about to be taken away.

              It’s been more than forty years since the NRA stopped promoting sports shooting and  began pushing a more extreme messaging which became the staple content for NRA-TV. But maybe this  reflected the degree to which the NRA had become the tail wagged by a dog named Ackerman-McQueen. To quote Queen Elizabeth and Tony Montana: “Every dog has his day.”

4 thoughts on “How Did NRA-TV Get Undone?

  1. “sturm und drang”. I can use the phrase with some of my German & Austrian Youtube bushcraft buddies!

  2. I suspect the content of NRA-TV has been determined by what the folks at Ackerman-McQueen thought was the best way to make money for Ack-McQ. Ack thinks that news should be branded to targeted audiences and I suspect they figured they could “brand” lunatic fringe claptrap and sell it to the far right, using the NRA as a prop. I’m a little surprised that even among NRA members, apparently viewership was so low. One would think that a web presence would be the best way to reach membership, if that was actually the point.

    The fact that America’s Oldest Civil Rights Organization whored itself out to this crap makes me wonder to whom, exactly, the NRA leadership owes its allegiance. As you say, its been decades since sport shooting has been a critical part of the NRA. Nowadays, it seems to be selling guns to ward off enemies and selling fear. Or is that Ackerman-McQueen selling stuff? Or is there a difference?

    I got into a big telephone pooping match with an NRA volunteer back in the 1980’s when the gentleman wanted me to send money to Sen. Strom Thurmond, a staunch gun rights guy. But I told the NRA volunteer that racism was not my bag. We got into it hammer and sickle and I didn’t renew my NRA membership. If the NRA pulls its head out of its — maybe I’ll join again.

  3. When the NRA came out with its concealed carry insurance program the images in the ads sure did not look like anyone I knew who belonged to the NRA. They guys in the ads were like the ‘operators’ in SWAT magazine. Now I finally get it. The Ack people must have done the ads.

  4. What I find interesting in this whole dispute is the revelation that all of the personalities on NRA-TV were actually A-M employees, meanwhile they were always referred to as ‘representing’ the NRA. And of course hot-air balloons like Loesch and Noir used their NRA appearances to promote themselves on their own websites, selling clothing and other crap. The whole Carry Guard insurance and trainin program was also somehow connected through A-M. It’s almost as if A-M took over running the business side of the NRA, instead of just writing ad copy and doing video for the customer.

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