Nothing is more delicious than a warm slice of sweet, sweet schadenfreude. When it comes from two entities that have spent decades on a singular mission to promote gun ownership while publicly negating the irresponsible side-effects of rampant firearm violence, it’s a *chef’s kiss!* to watch them both pull each other down into the flames while sobering up to their shared lack of responsibility and accountability.
We last checked in on the NRA-Ackerman legal drama in May, when AMc took the initiative to publicly terminate their relationship with the National Rifle Association, who had been a huge client for the advertising company since the 1980’s. Now, the NRA, an organization founded on the ancient 2nd Amendment ideals that every man must possess a musket rifle in order to defend his family, or, inevitably topple the government, is cowering away from the company who promoted them for decades.
According to recent reporting by The Daily Beast, the NRA is claiming that the content created by Ackerman McQueen wasn’t exactly what was asked for:
The federal lawsuit between the National Rifle Association and the ad firm that created its now-defunct NRATV outlet has taken an uglier turn, with the pro-gun group now alleging its own leadership found the TV outlet’s messaging “distasteful and racist.”
According to an Oct. 25 amended complaint filed in its ongoing lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, NRA officials believed the short-lived TV outlet—which featured shows from right-wing stars like Dana Loesch and Dan Bongino—“strayed from the Second Amendment to themes which some NRA leaders found distasteful and racist.”
Ya know, as an organization that raises millions and millions of dollars a year and spends wheelbarrows of that cash to promote one singular agenda, you’d think that they would review and vet all the material that they are paying people to produce. If the NRA is honest that it wanted to promote responsible gun ownership, but could not bother to oversee the advertising agency they had hired, this doesn’t help their case. Back to the story…
As an example of a “damaging” segment, the NRA filing alludes to an instance on Loesch’s show Relentless, in which an on-air graph featured a picture of kid’s cartoon character Thomas the Tank Engine wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
“Attempts by the NRA to ‘rein in’ AMc and its messaging were met with responses from AMc that ranged from evasive to hostile,” the gun lobby further alleges.
Furthermore, the NRA claims, in closed-door meetings Ackerman McQueen presented to embattled NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre “fabricated and inflated sponsorship and viewership claims.” When tasked with the “simple request” of gathering digital “unique visitors” data for NRA executives, the filing claims, AMc went silent. Overall, the gun group alleges, the ad firm often gave an “intentionally (and wildly) misleading” representation of NRATV’s viewership performance.
The NRA is obviously trying to throw AMc under the spinning wheels of the bus now that they see that their long-running tactics of white empowerment through firearm ownership are splitting the organization’s seams apart. Guns have been able to sell themselves in this country, mostly because of absolute fear. Nobody ever learned anything after the Cold War, so the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction hasn’t stuck; more weapons doesn’t equal safer communities.
No matter what the court rules in this case, it’s increasingly looking like both parties will lose. The NRA is an outdated group that can’t even decide what their message is supposed to be, other than ensuring gun manufacturers can continue to profit from steel and blood. Ackerman McQueen slit their wrists the moment they chose to represent the NRA, then doubled down by using their agency to call out racist dog whistles to gun fanatics.
The idea that the NRA would just now be going, “Hey, wait a minute, we didn’t ask for or approve of this promotional material we’ve been paying you for since the 1980’s” is so absurd. It’s like if Clint Eastwood had snapped out of his infamous empty chair rant, shook his head, and realized, “Oh man, I’ve just been talking to an empty chair like a crazy person!”
AMc is an Oklahoma company, so maybe we should reserve sympathy for them. After all, it seems like all they did was take orders from their client, delivered a product, and now they’re being blamed because shit has hit the fans. But anyone in the media makes choices about what they say about who and how they represent, and Ackerman McQueen has firmly established their position in this world, and deserve whatever consequences come their way.