A new ad released by the National Rifle Association, in which conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch bizarrely casts the anti-Trump resistance as a violent threat—is receiving fierce pushback on Thursday, with many pointing out the irony (and danger) of the nation's largest gun lobby casting itself as the victims of violence.
Touting a crystal-clear "us against them" message, with ominous music playing over black-and-white footage of cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Loesch addresses a conservative audience about the dangers of the so-called "liberal media."
In an apparent reference to two teachers in California and New York who were suspended for drawing comparisons between President Trump and World War II-era dictators, she denounces schools that allegedly teach American children that President Trump is "another Hitler," as well as Hollywood award shows that purportedly serve as liberal propaganda tools.
More disturbingly, the ad shows footage of Americans assembling to protest President Trump's travel ban (one demonstrator is shown holding a sign that reads "All Are Welcome Here") and other policies as Loesch intones a warning that former President Barack Obama is involved in a plot to "make [progressives] scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia and smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law abiding — until the only option left is for police to do their jobs and stop the madness."
The ad also features video footage from what look like Black Lives Matter demonstrations that erupted nationwide in recent years in the aftermath of police killings of unarmed black men and women.
While the idea of a particularly violent left is also a likely reference to the recent shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana by a gun owner with anti-Trump views, it's clear that the targets of the NRA's ad also include Americans who have exercised their First Amendment rights in recent months to protest against police violence, President Trump’s plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, the travel ban which would bar citizens of six majority-Muslim nations from entering the U.S., and the broader Republican agenda.
Progressives online condemned the ad as they rejected its false narrative and highlighted its obvious and dangerous undertones.
This NRA ad is an open call to violence to protect white supremacy. If I made a video like this, I'd be in jail.
— deray mckesson (@deray) June 29, 2017
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This new NRA ad is barely a whisper shy of a call for full civil war. https://t.co/N33s2KyvVz
— Jeff Sharlet (@JeffSharlet) June 28, 2017
The NRA just released an ad that is part authoritarian, part incitement to violence, part call for a civil war. This cannot be our politics.
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) June 29, 2017
On Twitter, Dana Loesch insisted the ad simply called for conservatives to "fight lies with truth," and denied any violent overtones in the gun lobby's ad.
Lie. No one called for guns. You owe an apology for trying to purposefully incite with such impugnation. https://t.co/Z7xSiBl6Qe
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 29, 2017
While the NRA has spoken out against gun control reforms aimed at reducing mass shootings and gun violence, a recent Pew Research poll shows that the lobbying group is at odds with many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. Solid majorities of Americans favor reforms that would require universal background checks for gun sales, as well as laws limiting access to firearms for people with mental illnesses and on federal no-fly lists.