Making good on its promise to be President Donald Trump’s fiercest defender, the National Rifle Association released a new video on Monday attacking the New York Times.
On Sunday, during the Oscars broadcast, the paper ran a promotional TV ad, its first since 2010. The ad features a series of plays on the word “truth,” which, in a world awash in bad information, is harder to ascertain than ever before — but also more important than ever before.
“The truth is we are more divided than ever,” the all-text ad begins. “The truth is alternative facts are lies.”
The NRA’s video follows the same text-driven format. “The New York Times placed an ad during the Oscars to tell us that truth is more important now,” it says. “But why now?”
“Wasn’t it important when people were marching?” the video asks, before flashing scenes from old Tea Party protests.
The implication is that the Times played down the significance of those protests, and is now unfairly attacking the new president. The ad makes the subjective claim that the paper was far less critical of Trump’s predecessor, suggesting bias. Before showing footage from the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, the ad demands to know why the Times took it easy on President Obama “when threats were growing?”
“America has stopped looking to the New York Times for the truth,” the NRA ad declares.
The video is a new installment in the NRA’s latest initiative. Early last week, the organization declared that Trump has “no more powerful ally than the NRA,” and, over social media, appointed itself leader of a burgeoning #counterresistence — a response to the nationwide protests against the Trump administration.
On Friday, at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump repeated his claim that “fake news” — meaning the New York Times, among other outlets he considers adversarial — “is the enemy of the people.” Hours later, the NRA’s top executive, Wayne LaPierre, took the same stage and accused the “leftist media” of “planting cultural IEDs” that “dehumanize” Trump supporters and NRA members.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, the NRA spent over $30 million in support of Trump’s candidacy, more than any other outside group. In his CPAC speech, LaPierre said the media mocked the NRA’s investment, comparing it to “arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
“But we’re still here,” LaPierre concluded, “and we have President Trump’s back for the next eight years.”
For the NRA, having Trump’s back means joining the White House’s war on the media, in which any coverage that presents the president in anything less than a flattering light is labeled false, ideologically motivated, or both. Trump has repeatedly singled out the “failing” New York Times for its tough coverage of his fledgling administration, including revelations that multiple members of Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian intelligence officials in the run-up to the election.
On Friday, reporters for the Times and several other media organization were barred from a White House briefing.
As a reality star and business executive, then as a presidential candidate, and now in office, Trump has made statements debunked as falsehoods and lies, repeatedly asserting that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., and more recently, that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
[Photo: NRA via YouTube]