If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by armedandsafe, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    I think it's a great idea. Now, let's get behind them and let their sponsors know we appreciate the effort.

    NRA to Launch News Company

    Friday, April 16, 2004

    WASHINGTON — The nation's gun lobby is creating an "NRA news" company that will produce a daily talk show for the Internet, buy a radio station and seek a television deal to spread its gun-rights message nationwide.

    Looking for the same legal recognition as mainstream news organizations, the National Rifle Association (search) says it has already hired its first reporter, a conservative talk radio host from Oklahoma. NRANews.com plans to start online broadcasts Friday.

    The NRA is taking the step to operate free of political spending limits, hoping to use unlimited donations known as soft money (search) to focus on gun issues and candidates' positions despite the law's restrictions on soft money-financed political ads within days of the election.

    "If that's the only way to bring back the First Amendment (search), we're going to bring it back," Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, told The Associated Press. Under the nation's campaign finance law, he said, "if you own the news operation, you can say whatever you want. If you don't, you're gagged."

    LaPierre said the NRA is taking several steps to become a "legitimate packager of news" like newspapers and TV networks, including hiring Cam Edwards, a conservative talk-show host from Oklahoma City.

    Started with a $1 million investment, the Internet programming features news briefs in the morning and at noon, followed by a three-hour afternoon "news show/talk show" with Edwards as host.

    The group is setting up an NRA news corporation, possibly for profit, to run its new media operations. It is close to acquiring a radio station that will stream video of its NRA broadcasts to the Internet, LaPierre said.

    The NRA plans to own a news operation "just as Disney owns ABC, just as GE owns NBC, just as Time Warner AOL owns CNN, and be the broadcast journalist equivalent of those outlets," LaPierre said.

    "Who's to say they're any more legitimate on packaging news to the American public on firearms and hunting than the National Rifle Association, when in fact we've been in the news business longer than they have in terms of packaging news on those subjects?" he asked.

    Larry Noble, head of the Center for Responsive Politics (search) and former lead attorney for the Federal Election Commission, said that if the NRA operation has the trappings of a press entity -- such as a radio outlet -- it has a strong argument that it is one.

    "The law does allow news media to editorialize and do commentary. It's the reason The New York Times can endorse candidates in its editorials," Noble said. "So in one sense they are not blazing new ground, but they are going into an area that's still forming and about which regulations are still being developed."

    Whether Webcasts (search) alone would make the NRA a press entity is a harder question, Noble said. Congress and the FEC haven't dealt with the intersection of the Internet and the media, he said, "and the lines are blurring."

    The NRA and several other interest groups had sued unsuccessfully to strike down campaign spending limits. The law, upheld in December by the Supreme Court, bans the use of corporate and labor union money for ads targeting congressional and presidential candidates close to elections and bars national party committees and federal candidates from raising so-called "soft money."

    The law left political activity on the Internet largely unregulated and maintained a long-standing media exemption from political advertising rules for news and entertainment programming.

    News operations have been run with one person, but to become a truly national news organization, the NRA will have to get beyond one reporter and a few hours of airtime, said Gordon "Mac" McKerral, national president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

    "Putting together a comprehensive news delivery package isn't an easy endeavor. It's people-intensive, which means it's expensive," McKerral said. "And there's so much out there now that any kind of startup operation like that is a challenge. If the NRA is successful at it, my guess is they'll limit their scope."

    On the other hand, "if they think they can get into the game with one guy, maybe they know something the rest of those multibillion-dollar corporations don't," he said.

    Mixing an agenda with the news is nothing new, McKerral said. When the nation's press was in its infancy, newspapers were vehicles to promote political agendas.

    Now, again, "it's getting awful tough, I think, for people to sort out what's supposed to be objectively reported fact and opinion, someone's opinion," McKerral said.

    The NRA has a huge potential audience, with 4 million members, 16 million licensed hunters and 80 million gun owners in the United States, LaPierre said.

    © Associated Press. All rights reserved.
    Copyright © 2004 ComStock, Inc.
    This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Copyright 2004 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
    All market data delayed 20 minutes.
  2. Shamus

    Shamus New Member

    Nov 14, 2003
    Ohio But will move for work!
    Now this could be interesting.....

  3. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    Dec 14, 2003
    Politicians don't seem to understand a simple concept.......

    Every action has an equal and opposite "reaction".

    Actually, I think there are alot of simple concepts that politicians missed out on by not having honest jobs before running for office.....

  4. Remington597

    Remington597 Former Guest

    Feb 24, 2004
    It is our responsibility to help get the message out that those who pervert the Constituition and deny us our basic rights to liberty which is a direct function of self defense, are doomed to extinction.
  5. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Editorial in Seattle Times today.
    On Politics
    Gun-rights media not a new idea

    By David Postman
    Seattle Times chief political reporter

    The National Rifle Association announced this week it is getting into the news business with an Internet talk show, TV reports and plans to buy a radio station.

    But a smaller gun-rights group is way ahead of the NRA. The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and its lobbying arm already own four Northwest radio stations. The first was bought in 1990. The most recent purchase came two weeks ago, when the groups acquired an Olympia station that had tried oldies and comedy to stay on the air.

    If you turn on your radio tomorrow and hear some of the three-hour-long "Gun Talk," you're probably listening to a station owned by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In addition to KGTK in Olympia, they own KITZ in Kitsap County, which reaches Seattle; KSBN in Spokane; and KBNP in Portland.

    Portland and Spokane are primarily business-news stations. The others are more traditional talk, leaning conservative but with a few middle-of-the-road types.

    "If you had gun-rights talk all day long, you wouldn't get any listeners," said Alan Gottlieb, president of the radio stations and founder of the gun foundation. "Like any media, you offer a cafeteria of programming."

    "Gun Talk" and its host are advertised in a seemingly self-conscious way on KITZ's Web site: "Tom Gresham is the sportsman delight. It's not a 'shoot 'em up' show."

    Through the week, though, you'll hear plenty of gun-rights advertising. Gottlieb says owning stations allows his groups to air commercials "basically free." The stations also make money to finance gun-rights work and provide long-term financial stability.

    Gottlieb's groups have 650,000 members and contributors. That's dwarfed by the NRA's 4 million. But the Bellevue-based groups are well-known in gun-rights circles.

    The NRA and Gottlieb's groups see their entry into the media in different ways. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told The Associated Press on Thursday it was a way to get around restrictions on political fund-raising and advertising.

    Ads supporting President Bush or attacking John Kerry are federally regulated. But, as LaPierre said, "If you own the news operation, you can say whatever you want."

    DeAnna Martin, executive director of Washington CeaseFire, a 3,500-member state group that promotes tougher gun laws, hadn't heard about Gottlieb's stations, but she carefully read stories about the NRA's news strategy.

    "In our mind, the NRA is basically appealing to its small, entrenched minority by doing this," she said. "In media terms, they are kind of narrow-casting and using that approach to perpetuate, really, an extremist point of view."

    Gottlieb says the NRA was likely inspired by his groups' 14-year effort to build a network of talk stations.

    "I think part of it is their way to compete with us, because we have been doing this, and a lot of gun owners who feel like they are misrepresented in the media like having us own our own media," Gottlieb said.

    Comments and tips: onpolitics@seattletimes.com
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