New York Times Slams National Rifle Association as 'Grand Master' of Fear

October 30th, 2014 7:31 PM

With less than a week to go before the midterm elections arrive, David Firestone -- a member of the New York Times Editorial Board -- vented his anger in an attempt to diminish the influence the National Rifle Association has on the political process.

In an article entitled “The NRA's Instant Classic Attack Ads,” Firestone accused the national organization of producing false advertisements as part of its role as the “grand master” of fear, “which thrives on putting guns in nervous hands.”

Before discussing the actual ads, Firestone attempted to describe the context by pointing to the special election issue of America's 1st Freedom -- the official journal of the NRA -- which has a cover depicting an armed Middle Eastern terrorist and the title “Chaos at our Door? A Dangerous World is Closing In.”

In a column written by Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive president, he declared that November 4 is “the most historic election of our time,” when “we can reverse the collapse of American values we see all around us today” and “secure the very future of our free nation as we know it.”

LaPierre didn't stop there. In another article, he asserted: “It’s just a matter of time before the U.S. faces some kind of terrorist attack.” When that happens, Americans will want their guns because “the government can’t -- or won’t -- protect you.”

Firestone then stated that while “building the hysteria,” the NRA executive concluded: “We will not be left defenseless. We will not give up our freedoms. We will not surrender our safety to the lies of leaders who promise everything and deliver nothing.”

To ensure vital freedoms, Firestone accused the group of running misleading ads around the country. One ad running in Louisiana shows a young mother putting her baby to bed as an intruder violently kicks in the front door.

“It happens like that,” the female narrator says. “The police can’t get there in time. How you defend yourself is up to you. It’s your choice. But Mary Landrieu voted to take away your gun rights. Vote like your safety depends on it. Defend your freedom. Defeat Mary Landrieu.”

Firestone then asserted that the NRA is going after Landrieu “because she supported the failed 2013 bill that would have extended background checks to buyers at gun shows.”

The pro-gun rights group also defends its attack on Landrieu by pointing to her vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. “The idea that this vote constitutes 'taking away your gun rights' is really too absurd to refute," Firestone declared.

Nevertheless, several Republicans who voted for Sotomayor are not under attack by the NRA since that one ballot didn't diminish their overall records on Second Amendment issues.

That includes Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine (whose record is poor but better than her opponent in this year's election).

“The group is also running false ads claiming that various Democrats dared to meet” with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire whose record in attempting to restrict Second Amendment rights is legendary.

Firestone claimed the worst commercial produced by the NRA was aimed directly at Bloomberg and featured rape victim Kimberly Weeks describing her assault and accusing the former mayor of wanting to take away her right to defend herself while surrounding himself with armed guards.

“Mr. Bloomberg,” she says in the ad, “you do not have the right to tell me how to defend myself.”


“The former mayor is not trying to take away anyone’s legal handgun, and neither is any Democrat,” the New York Times editor concluded. “But those details don’t matter. All that counts is making people very afraid, and then exploiting that fear.”

AWR Hawkins, a reporter for the website, accused Firestone of omitting several inconvenient facts in his editorial.

The editor “does not mention what happened in Ottawa on October 22, when a recent convert to Islam used a rifle to shoot and kill Corporal Nathan Cirillo at a War Memorial before running into Parliament, where he was killed by a man with a gun.”

Hawkins added that “neither Weeks' sexual assault nor a terror attack with a rifle are theoretical propositions. They both happened. And in the wake of both cases, the important role guns play in preventing potential victims from becoming actual victims came into sharp relief.”