— NRATV (@NRATV) July 17, 2017
A new and ominous National Rifle Association ad is out, and in the absence of the organization’s preferred bogeyman — former President Barack Obama — it takes aim at a new enemy: The Washington Post.
The latest two-minute nightmare from the gun rights organization features conservative talk show host Grant Stinchfield railing about Post’s role in “the organized anarchy of the violent left by spreading lies about those who disagree with their radical agenda.”
“You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm,” Stinchfield growls, before issuing a call to “fight the violent left on the battlefield of truth.”
The fighting words are a response to a Post story, penned by reporter and veteran Alex Horton, which described another “dark” NRA video narrated by former Navy SEAL Dom Raso. Stinchfield calls out Horton directly, jabbing his finger at the camera as he scolds “every leftist media propaganda machine defending the violent left.”
Stinchfield’s ad comes on the heels of the widely disseminated, mocked and thought-pieced Dana Loesch spot, which stopped just short of calling for NRA members to take to the streets and mop up the riotous liberal mayhem.
The series of ads is indicative of a new approach from the organization, outlined by its CEO and most tenacious fear-monger, Wayne LaPierre. In his CPAC speech in February, LaPierre painted a grim picture of the United States as a lawless hellscape, crawling with torch-bearing liberals crying for resistance. And the only means to fight this final battle? Donate to the NRA and buy more guns, but quickly, as time is running out.
The alternate reality described by LaPierre is the consequence of a vacuum of bogeymen: with Obama now resting safely on a chaise lounge somewhere in Italy, there is no longer an executive in the White House working tirelessly to jettison the Second Amendment. So the strategists at the NRA are forced to dream up another formidable enemy to stir a frenzy of paranoia and drive it’s “five million member strong army” to the gun store.
Enter a nebulous horde of black-clad leftists, incited to violence by the mainstream media, roaming the streets of San Francisco with torches to set your local Starbucks alight.
The new NRA ads are a delicate cocktail of hilariously cringeworthy writing and terrifying saber-rattling: they portray America as entering the last round of a deathmatch, with the Resistance mob in one corner, and law-abiding patriots in the other. The United States is on the precipice of slipping out of the hands of the patriot and into a Mad Max-style war zone — and the only way to stave off this liberal insurgency and rescue America from irretrievable damnation is to donate to the NRA.
Though careful not to explicitly advocate violence against the enemy (i.e. the other half of the country), the NRA instead dabbles with violent euphemisms, calling to “fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” as Loesch cries for in her ad.
It’s worth pointing out that warnings of leftist violence are wildly exaggerated: in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election there were a number of organized protests, some of which had contained bursts of unrest. But the reality is a far cry from the organized anarchy sermonized in NRA ads, and over-covered by the 24-hour news cycle. The tragic shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and three others at a congressional baseball practice in June was alarming, but not indicative of a brewing civil war, or even a wider trend.
The police have not lost control of America’s streets to violent leftists, The Washington Post is not trying to confiscate guns, and a Republican-controlled government is not going anywhere near the Second Amendment. It may be wishful thinking to ask the NRA to temper its rhetoric, but it’s certainly time to trade in their 90-second horror films for a splash of cold water.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.