NYT Gives Dana Loesch the Darth Vader Treatment, but Hails MSNBC Republican Wallace

January 21st, 2018 11:50 AM

Two profiles of prominent female Republicans resulted in two very different takes in Sunday’s New York Times. A long profile of Second Amendment activist Dana Loesch was rendered in dark and sinister fashion on the front of Sunday Styles: “Trigger Warning” by Laura Holson. The online headline deck was loaded: “The National Rifle Association’s Telegenic Warrior -- How Dana Loesch, a onetime Democrat, became a Second Amendment spokeswoman too incendiary for some right-wingers to handle.”

The story opened with that same ominous tone.

Dana Loesch has a biblical inscription tattooed on her forearm, a reference to a passage in the Book of Ephesians that calls for Christians to wear holy armor to protect themselves from a dark world. It is an apt precept for Ms. Loesch, a 39-year-old conservative radio talk-show host and political commentator who views the world through a lens of fear and violence.

It is why she has an arsenal of firearms strategically placed in safes throughout her home. She keeps a handgun near her bed in the event of an intruder, she said, which she can use until she finds a more powerful shotgun or rifle nearby. She sometimes tucks a gun in the small of her back. Other times, she keeps a knife in her purse.


Ms. Loesch has been a voice of the conservative movement for nearly a decade, first at Breitbart News Network, where she analyzed politics and the media, and later for a television show on The Blaze media network. She has written two books, “Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America” (2014) and “Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To” (2016). And she has had her own national radio show since 2008. But it wasn’t until last year that people farther afield took notice, when she was featured in a recruiting ad for the National Rifle Association.

Pundits from the left and right said it stoked violence and civic unrest; the neoconservative Bill Kristol called the video “ludicrous.” But Ms. Loesch, who was named the spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association in 2017, delights in a brawl, particularly if it’s public.

Holson hit the highlights of Loesch's career advancement in hostile fashion, then managed to smear the liberal’s oldest enemy, the NRA, with some alleged “Russia involvement.”

Ms. Loesch’s performance for the N.R.A. has had more polish. Last April, she was featured in a recruiting ad for the organization called “Violence of Lies.” Scenes of street violence and protests flashed onscreen as Ms. Loesch called for citizens to fight media bias and liberal politicians with the “clenched fist of truth.” (The N.R.A. also released an ad in 2017 aimed at The New York Times, claiming media bias.)

According to Andrew Arulanandam, the N.R.A.’s managing director of public affairs, the message was “inspired” by the chief executive, Wayne LaPierre Jr., whose association donated $30 million in campaign support to Mr. Trump. According to news reports, the N.R.A. may have a connection to the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the election. “Violence of Lies” has been viewed nearly three million times on YouTube alone.

“Dana comes across clearly to our members and gun owners,” Mr. Arulanandam said.

But even some in those groups found the video unnecessarily, even dangerously, incendiary. An online petition was circulated, demanding Facebook remove it....


Ms. Loesch’s boss, Mr. LaPierre, has a history of inflammatory rhetoric at the N.R.A., which has five million members. In 1995, he was forced to apologize after President George H. W. Bush canceled his N.R.A. membership in protest. The N.R.A. had sent out a fund-raising letter calling law enforcement “jackbooted government thugs” who threatened to hurt Americans. “That is what they do,” said Representative Kathleen Rice, a Democrat of New York, who has sparred with Ms. Loesch, also on Twitter. “The N.R.A says their members are under attack.”

Acknowledgement of left-wing death threats against Loesch, which make her perpertual armed vigilance much less paranoid, were buried deep inside the long story.

It was quite a contrast from the paper’s treatment of the Times’ idea of a good Republican -- GOP-bashing Nicolle Wallace, host of MSNBC’s Deadline: White House. “From the White House to 30 Rock – How Nicolle Wallace, former aide to George W. Bush and campaign strategist to John McCain, landed a prime MSNBC spot.” The profile by Sridhar Pappu took up the top of the front of Sunday Business.

The timing of Ms. Wallace’s show coincides with the presidency of Donald J. Trump, which this week marks its one-year anniversary. And it is that president who has been Ms. Wallace’s most frequent on-air foil since her show began....

Much of the story just quoted Wallace slams on various Republicans, while concealing the fact that the Republican label is a little outdated.

After 2008, Ms. Wallace, who has acknowledged not voting in that race and then voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, explored career alternatives....

More recently, she lashed out at House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who called Mr. Trump’s profanity-laced comments about Haiti and African nations “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful” and spoke highly of “great friends from Africa” who are “incredible citizens.”