The US National Rifle Association’s (NRA) new advertisement, narrated by radio host and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, calls on Americans to fight protest violence by “them” – the media, teachers, liberals, celebrities and more – with a clenched fist.
The video (above) was released in June, as part of their “Freedom’s Safest Place” campaign. It starts with Loesch saying:
“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, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia, to smash windows, burn cars, shutdown interstates and airports, bully and terrorise the law abiding...”
Loesch’s commentary alternates with videos and images depicting violence during protests and riots in the US. The NRA video ends with this message:
“The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth. I’m the National Rifle Association of America and I’m freedom’s safest place.”
The advertisement understandably fuelled outrage among activists and liberals. Many took the video to be a dangerous, provocative call for violence.
Deray McKesson, a ‘Black Lives Matter’ activist called it an “open call to violence to protect white supremacy”; Jeff Sharlet, a writer and journalist, tweeted that the video was “barely a whisper shy of a call for full civil war”.
Loesch was undeterred by the hate coming in her direction. She vehemently defended herself on her Twitter account, saying “A gun protected my life once. Stop shaming people who want to defend themselves” and asking peoplem “What’s wrong with condemning violence?”
She even tweeted a video defending the ad:
She similarly defended herself and the advertisement on NRA TV, as she said, “I’m proud of this ad. I endorse, personally, the message of this ad. It’s a fantastic ad and it holds up a mirror to the violent aspects of the left.”
The ad was premiered at the NRA Leadership Forum in April, where the NRA executive Vice-president Wayne LaPierre said, “It’s up to us to speak up against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats.”