The National Rifle Association has launched a ‘news service’ called NRANews which it plans to use as a platform for supporting pro-gun candidates and attacking any candidate who’s against gun proliferation. Although CFR rules ban political advocacy by organizations in the weeks before an election, NRA Exec-Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the man who crowed when Bush was elected that ‘now the NRA has a branch office in the White House’, has decided to take a leaf out of Junior’s book and simply declare that the law doesn’t apply to the NRA.
WASHINGTON, June 15 – In a direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy, the National Rifle Association plans to begin broadcasting a daily radio program on Thursday to provide news and pro-gun commentary to 400,000 listeners.
The group says its jump into broadcasting with its program, “NRANews,” means that it should be viewed as a media organization that does not have to abide by provisions of a sweeping campaign finance law from 2002. That law stops organizations from using unregulated “soft” money to buy political advertising that directly attacks or praises federal candidates in the weeks before federal elections and primaries.
The N.R.A. says its three-hour program constitutes news and commentary, not advertising. As a result, when other advocacy groups are required to stop running political commercials, “NRANews” intends to continue broadcasting its reporting and commentary against politicians who favor gun control to Nov. 2.
“The great thing about America is there is no test about the right to provide information to the American public,” the executive vice president of the association, Wayne LaPierre, said in an interview this week. “There is no government licensing of journalists. Tom Paine was free to pamphlet. So are we.”
So the NRA is now the equivalent of Tom Paine?
This is actually interesting because if the govt doesn’t shut NRANews down, it loses all legal credibility if it tries to shut down MoveOn.org for or prevent AirAmerica from doing exactly the same thing.
I listened for a little while today, and their pitch is that they’re being forced to do this because George Soros helping the Democrats means that ‘only a billionaire has free speech.’ When it was just right-wing whacko billionaires Richard Mellon Scaife and Rupert Murdock and what-not who were buying all the media time and supporting all the think-tanks, then any attempt to stop them was an attack on the First Amendment and the free speech of billionaires, and Ted Olson could argue in front of the SCOTUS that money=free speech. But now that a liberal billionaire is doing a little bit of the same thing Scaife and Murdock have been doing in spades, now it’s a huge free speech problem.
It’s time to say it: Regardless of their stand on guns, the NRA is a disgrace, a sham, and a radical conservative front for right-wing whackos. If there was any doubt about it, NRANews is going to erase it.