Blogger Butts, Green Grass, & Imaginary Victims: The Media Embarrassed Themselves Covering the NRA Annual Meeting
It appears that I’m responsible for taking two of the most re-tweeted, discussed, and memed photos of the 2015 NRA Annual Meetings.
The first came in response to the false claims made by the New York Times that the open and concealed carry of firearms was prohibited in the Music City Center convention building where the meetings and exhibitions took place.
— Bob Owens (@bob_owens) April 10, 2015
The Times—along with MSNBC and other embarrassed news outlets—were forced to issue corrections as their false claims were refuted by photographic evidence.
Indeed, it did.
The next day, a picture I took from the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge destroyed another preferred media narrative before it even had a chance to get off the ground.
Moms Demand Action—the same group responsible for fooling the media into publishing the false claim that guns are not allowed in the convention hall—claimed that they were bringing 400 people to protest against the NRA Annual Meeting. Through the closely controlled use of photographic trickery and a proven willingness to lie, they apparently convinced one reporter for a British-based paper that they brought 500 people.
That lie was destroyed with a photo of the entire group from above, that showed just 120-150 people and a massive expanse of green grass.
But the anti-gun media wasn’t quite done attempting to smear the 78,865 law-abiding convention attendees.
One “reporter” (and I use that in the loosest possible sense) from the Tennessean, Anita Wadhwani, made a defamatory attempt to tie the National Rifle Association to the sex trafficking of minors:
Big conventions, like NRA, can draw sex trafficking
With the biggest convention ever to hit Nashville — more than 70,000 members of the National Rifle Association are here this weekend for their annual meeting — law enforcement officials have prepared for what some see as the scourge of such large, male-dominated gatherings.
“Whenever you have that sort of traffic through your state, the opportunities for crime go up. People who travel sometimes don’t make great choices,” said Margie Quinn, assistant special agent in charge of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Sex trafficking — defined by a commercial sex act that is induced by “force, fraud or coercion” or when a victim is under the age of 18 — is a year-round crisis in Tennessee, according to Quinn, who oversees a team of agents that monitors websites and aids local law enforcement.
“Understand with trade shows and sporting events and conventions, people are eating. They’re celebrating. They’re drinking. They’re away from home. And if they’re going to make bad decisions, it’s going to be away from home.
“All of that is a recipe for increased criminal activity.”
What actual evidence did Wadhwani bring forth to tie NRA convention-goers (who were mostly families with children) to sex trafficking?
Apparently something of a self-styled child pornography expert (I won’t ask why), Wadhwani attempted to use vague postings to a web site used by “escort services” of women that were in town for “this weekend only” that Wadhwani thought might be under age based on their pictures.
None of these escort services mentioned the NRA convention at all.
According to Wadhwani’s own article, there were precisely two posts the site that referenced the convention at all. One was from an apparent adult male Nashville native looking for a “booty call,” and his ad did not suggest prostitution in any way.
Wadhwani’s other vague reference was from an adult female who may have been soliciting prostitution.
Wadhwani has no evidence at all for her intentionally defamatory smear job of an organization nationally renowned for bringing exceptionally well-behaved attendees that are much more law abiding than the general population at large.
I sincerely hope that other large groups thinking of visiting Nashville are not only aware that the Tennessean employs such a vile smear merchant as Wadhwani, but editors and publishers who think nothing of defaming the most law-abiding of special interest groups.
The media both national and local beclowned themselves covering the NRA Convention.
One would hope that they’ve learned a lesson… but I’m not counting on it.