Oregon Pro-Gun Rally A Lesson In Media Relations

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

The media in Oregon isn’t likely to be supportive of the pro-gun position. Especially not in larger cities. That’s the model we see throughout the nation, of course, but in a place like that, it’s likely to be far worse. That means media relations there need to be in every pro-gunners’ mind.


What that means is that pro-gun groups aren’t going to get fair coverage. More than that, though, it also means that anything at all pro-gun folks do that can be manipulated into something negative will be manipulated into something negative, so don’t give them anything.

Unfortunately, it seems a pro-gun rally in Oregon is getting just that treatment.

A weekend gathering billed as a Second Amendment rally in Salem led to far-right groups tied to the Jan. 6 Capitol invasion taking control of a public park.

The Saturday event, promoted online as “May Day 2A Rally,” saw 100 to 200 attendees at Salem’s Riverfront Park in a show of support for their Second Amendment rights. The Proud Boys, a “western chauvinist” group who have violently clashed with members of the anti-fascist movement, provided “security” and co-sponsored the event. 

Some carried semi-automatic pistols or rifles and “closed” the public park to media, though they had no authority to do so. The armed attendees threatened reporters, forcing them to leave the immediate area and report from a distance. 


Missing from the rest of the story is any example of just what threats were made, of course. Instead, it goes on to argue that the gathering was illegal in the first place.


That said, though, it’s important to remember one very important thing. If you’re out in the public as pro-gun, remember that you’re speaking for all of us whether you mean to or not. The media is likely to be hostile and will blatantly misinterpret anything they can to make it sound like a threat.

Hell, even if you threaten them with something completely lawful, they’ll just leave it as a threat in their reports and let readers assume you meant a threat of violence.

Be aware of this and act accordingly. Be unfailingly polite to them and answer their questions carefully and thoughtfully, but make sure there’s nothing they can use against you or the Second Amendment community. I know you don’t like them and you don’t trust them, so then why give them ammunition they can use to attack a cause you believe in? Media relations may not sound like something you should worry about, but it really is.


Also, make sure you’ve got the law squarely on your side when you do something.

I don’t know if the claims that the demonstrators had no authority to close the park are true or not. Frankly, I don’t care all that much whether they did or not. What I will say, though, is again, the media isn’t your friend, so don’t trust them. Keep the idea of media relations in your mind and act like you’re the one responsible for making sure your group looks good.

Not because the media will suddenly like you. They won’t. They just won’t have much to use against you, and that’s the goal here.

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