With the National Rifle Association shuttering NRATV, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization no longer really had a good outlet to make sure it’s views were heard. While they have their magazines, a lot of people are like me. They don’t actually read them anymore and they end up collecting dust before being tossed by wives who no longer believe you when you say, “I’m going to read that.”
Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, there are reasons the NRA would look for an outlet to make sure their point of view is heard. That’s not going to be CNN or MSNBC and even Fox News is starting to give hints of a leftward lean from time to time.
So, the NRA turned to the internet and partnered with BlazeTV.
Unsurprisingly, The Trace is already trying to make that untenable. Their tool? Shame.
“We need cold hard facts that we can share with friends, family and co-workers — unfiltered and uncensored by the fake news media and extremist gun-control candidates,” NRA membership director Todd Grable wrote to readers in the latest edition of American Rifleman, the NRA’s flagship magazine. “That’s why NRA has partnered with BlazeTV — a news and entertainment organization for people who love America — to bring you up-to-date and honest information about the issues that will come to shape our nation in the years to come.”
BlazeTV was established in 2018 when two conservative media outlets, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and Mark Levin’s CRTV, merged. The network serves as a platform for right-wing media personalities to reach their audiences through streaming video, podcasts, and radio.
Last week, as the coronavirus death toll in the United States and the number of known cases grew exponentially, BlazeTV’s Steve Deace told his audience that America was risking another Great Depression “over a virus that, the more we learn about it, the less lethal it becomes.” He described a “cultural Pearl Harbor” in which leftists and pagans are using hysteria over the virus as “their weapon of mass destruction to deliver the last kill shot” to America.
The NRA’s membership skews older and male, a cohort for whom the virus has proven most lethal. On his March 24 show, Beck urged Americans “over 50” to return to work, “even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country, because it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country.”
Another BlazeTV figure, Steven Crowder, who has labeled the AIDS epidemic a hoax, offered this to his million Twitter followers on March 9: “How do I feel about the #COVID19 panic? I’m not participating. Carry on.” On his show the following day, Crowder cautioned that the situation could deteriorate, but added: “We may be totally fine by this point tomorrow!”
“It’s not as dire as the media want you to believe,” Crowder said later. “They create this hysteria without any context … so that they can pin the virus and the negative economic impact on Donald Trump.”
In other words, because they’re not completely freaking out over the virus, they should be shamed.
Here’s the thing, though. Deace isn’t wrong in saying that the virus appears to be less lethal as we learn more. The death rate seems to be trending down as we learn how best to treat this disease. Not a lot, but it’s still decreasing and some existing drugs appear to work quite well and fighting the disease.
Further, estimates of the total number of dead have been revised down, including in places that had literally just begun their self-isolation mere days before. While a case can be made that the measures worked, an alternate case can also be made that they were unnecessary in many places.
Beck is expressing his own opinions and stating that he would be willing to risk his life to keep the economic engine of this country running. He’s not talking arbitrarily about some faceless group but about himself.
Crowder isn’t saying there’s no disease, only stating his opinion that much of the panic is media-driven rather than based on the facts on the ground isn’t exactly wrong either. As I’ve noted, I live in one of the worst outbreaks in the country. Last week, I found out it’s one of the worst outbreaks in the world when looked at on a per capita basis. Even I recognize the role the media has played in building the hysteria. Hell, CNN criticized President Trump for giving hope.
Now, are these gentlemen right? Well, that remains to be seen. However, they’re offering up topics for debate.
They also support the NRA’s mission, which is why BlazeTV partnered with them.
What The Trace is trying to do is alienate the NRA from any kind of outreach to non-members, something BlazeTV can help them with. They want to make it unpalatable for the NRA to work with BlazeTV in an effort to make the organization back away and look elsewhere.
They’re taking a legitimate point for debate–just how necessary are these measures and will they lead some something worse–and trying to use it to shut down not just this discussion, but the discussion about gun rights as well.