The National Rifle Association’s propaganda arm, NRATV, recently featured a video of spokeswoman Dana Loesch passing an ominous terrorist-style threat on to the national news media: “Your time is running out.”
“To every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phony, to the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents…Your Time is running out. The clock starts now."
–@DLoesch #Oscars90 pic.twitter.com/SDVjeTxyfB
— NRATV (@NRATV) March 4, 2018
The threatening message was an attempt by Loesch to use Oscars Sunday to promote her upcoming program for NRA TV. Making an enemy of media is part of Loesch’s schtick, to be fair. She recently said that media loved mass shootings, even seeming to dare members of the media into a violent confrontation “in the hallways.”
While Loesch described critics of the threatening tone of the ad as “anti-2A activists“, the NRA actually does have a history of violent threats toward journalists. Loesch herself even used violent rhetoric last year discussing the New York Times.
“Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow,” said Loesch in a video that apparently was meant to be a confrontation in the “battle of ideas.” “We’re going to laser focus on your so-called honest pursuit of truth. In short: We’re coming for you.”
Obvious rhetorical references to a terrorist-type attack targeting the Times with a laser-sight followed by “we’re coming for you” is a clear incitement to violence, as Digital Content Next articulated last year. It also is a tactic used by ISIS, in which a terrorist texted a threat to someone speaking to journalists that read “Your turn is coming.”
Threats to American journalists are on the rise overall, with Walmart openly selling (and later pulling) a t-shirt that encouraged the lynching of journalists last year. More recently, a man was arrested for threats he made to CNN employees. Columbia Journalism Review stated “journalism is under threat” after what it called a dangerous year for journalists.
And these threats come from the government as well as the dangerous freewheeling organizations like the NRA who support it. President Trump has been a staunch opponent of freedom of the press, and a journalist was even arrested on felony charges for reporting on protests against him.
The discussion about violence against journalists is not purely theoretical. Thanks to free press advocacy groups, there’s a website dedicated to tracking this nascent war on journalism. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker there have been three physical assaults of journalists and two seizures of equipment reported so far this year.
When it launched last August, there had been 19 arrests, 12 seizures of equipment, 11 physical assaults and four journalists who were detained at borders.
And we still have Loesch and her five million heavily armed friends coming for us.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.