On Wednesday, panelists on MSNBC’s Morning Joe shamelessly plugged companies who have reneged on their discount arrangements for NRA members in the wake of the revitalized gun control debate.
Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday morning that they would no longer sell firearms to customers under the age of 21, and that they had ceased to sell assault rifles entirely. The news broke in the middle of an ongoing segment, and it met with overwhelming approval from the panelists. “I know where I’m going to buy running shoes today,” announced host Mika Brzezinski. “Good for them,” MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle agreed.
Co-host Joe Scarborough contrasted the Dick’s announcement with a statement recently released by FedEx, which stated in part that the company had no intention of ending its policy of offering discounts for NRA members. He described this move as “a very significant choice in the other direction,” before claiming he had “read a story” alleging that FedEx was attempting to “corner the gun market.”
Economist Steve Rattner interrupted with a hesitant, “Well...” dubious that such motives were at play. But Scarborough insisted, “No, no, they want to corner the shipping for the gun market.”
Brzezinski proceeded to read aloud a portion of FedEx’s statement, in which the company pledged not to “discriminate against any legal entity” on the basis of their political views. “Hold on a second, nobody is asking them to deny service or discriminate,” Scarborough interjected indignantly. “Does FedEx think the American people are stupid?” He then reiterated that the move indicated a desire to monopolize the firearm shipping business:
From the reports I saw, Steve, they want to corner the gun market. They want to be able to ship the most, I guess, assault-style weapons across America. They want to be able to ship the deadliest guns across America because, I guess for them, the bottom line’s pretty good.
Rattner, who was not privy to the “reports” that Scarborough was referring to, remained unconvinced. “Whether it’s the reason you said or their stated reason... who knows,” he intoned. “But that’s what they’re doing.”
Still, Scarborough refused to abandon his theory:
If that’s the choice that FedEx wants to make, that they want to be known as basically the people that corner the market on transporting assault-style weapons, then good luck.
Morning Joe regular Willie Geist brought the conversation back around to the Dick’s announcement. Brzezinski remained enthusiastic about the news and began listing the various sporting needs that retailer could fulfill:
This is a place where moms go to get everything you need for your athlete kids, whether you’ve got a hockey player, or a runner, or a football player. It’s also easier to buy online. I suggest everybody – in fact, we’re going. On the way home [Joe], get your credit card out. And I would reward this company for doing the right thing. We’re going to spend a lot of Joe’s money there.
“We’re gonna buy fourteen baseball bats,” Scarborough joked.
“I’m serious,” she shot back. “We’re going.”
Though Brzezinski’s determination to lead by example is admirable, it raises questions about the appropriateness of an ostensibly objective newscaster promoting a company based on its political views. Scarborough’s blood-money FedEx narrative is similarly objectionable, especially considering that the “reports” he referenced seemed unknown to all those present aside from himself.