In his ongoing campaign to demonize the National Rifle Association and with it defenders of 2nd Amendment rights in general, MSNBC's Martin Bashir featured left-wing Rolling Stone journalist Tim Dickinson to promote his hit piece on the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. Liberal Democratic strategist Julian Epstein, who added more reverb in the anti-gun echo chamber, joined Dickinson for the segment.
Dickinson and Epstein tag-teamed to bash the NRA. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was a “menace with a gun,” as he was irresponsible with one during a PR stunt featuring him at the range, Dickinson insisted, cited an unnamed source on background. For his part, Epstein charged that the NRA accepts “blood money” from gun manufacturers in order to fund their agenda. Yes, these are the folks Bashir insists just want to have a reasonable debate on gun control in America.
Dickinson went on to talk about how the NRA – politically and financially –benefits from fear, but oddly doesn’t seem to think the Democratic Party is also hoping to benefit by using the same scare tactics for vote-getting and fundraising. And of course, while the Left is exploiting the tragedy of Newtown, the residents of that town are adopting the NRA-endorsed initiative of putting more armed guards in schools.
Of course, that inconvenient truth wasn’t mentioned in this exchange because it doesn’t fit in with the anti-gun narrative that ultra-liberal journalists like Bashir and Dickinson wish to sell.
Here's the relevant transcript:
MARTIN BASHIR: Let's get right to our panel. Julian Epstein is a Democratic strategist and joining us is Tim Dickinson, who has a piece on the history of the NRA in the very latest edition of "Rolling Stone." Welcome to you both. Tim, I want to start with you – in your new article in Rolling Stone. It details how Wayne LaPierre took the NRA from a group that represented gun owners into one supported by, and thus supportive of, the gun industry. Can you explain to our viewers the amount of money that's in play here?
TIM DICKINSON: Well, the NRA is a dark money group. It doesn't have to disclose its donors, but apparently it's good PR for a number of these gun industries – gun makers to be affiliated with the NRA. So, that we know about that NRA itself has disclosed, voluntarily, we’re talking about tens of millions that come from guns and ammunitions manufacturers straight into the NRA’s coffers. And these executives get these golden blazers, they join the golden ring of freedom and they have special access to Wayne LaPierre, and help shape policy.
BASHIR: Right, and Julian to the point. The New York Times has a wonderful piece on how a brilliant marketing campaign has now made the AR-15, of all instruments, a best selling gun, while Slate recently estimated that assault rifles represent a half billion-dollar industry. Now, just to be clear, this isn't about children. This isn't about the Second Amendment for the NRA. This is about corporate profits, isn't it? It's about making money for gun manufacturers.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: That's right. And I would commend Tim’s article to everyone. It's a superb piece. It's a very important piece. I think you put your finger on it, Martin. "The New York Times" revealed that the NRA is now, and their cohorts, are trying to market assault weapons to children as young as 10 years old largely because sports related -- gun related sports are on the decline. So, this is clearly about generating money and profits. I think it is blood money. And as I said on your show on Friday, I mean, I think given that, given what Wayne LaPierre, has experienced on Fox News yesterday where he was called out as having, really, an absurd position both on assault weapons and the attack on the president's children – he's becoming like the Sacha Baron Cohen of this debate. And I think aren’t taking him seriously. What I think is really going on and what is really important is that he realizes, the NRA realizes, they have lost the debate on universal background checks, and what they're trying to to do right is now is use that as a bargaining chip to fight assault weapons and clips. And that's very, very important because universal background checks would not have stopped the killer in Newtown because he took his mother's gun. Universal background checks would not have stopped the shooter in aurora at the movie theater. Universal background checks would not have stopped the shooter at Virginia Tech. So it seems very important to me at this point, and this was very important about what the president said today [yesterday] when he reminded everybody that assault weapons and clips were very, very important part of this. You hear some Democrats getting weak on this. It's very, very important that Democrats not, and I think the people that want to bring honor in the memory in terms of legislation to the victims in Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, elsewhere, that they not give up just on background checks. Because, as I say, background checks, as important as they are, would not stop many of the mass murders that occur on a scale of about one to two a month in this country.
BASHIR: Indeed. Now, Time one of Wayne LaPierre's tactics is to paint a kind of apocalyptic version of America if Assault Weapons are banned. Take a listen.
WAYNE LAPIERRE: Semi-automatic technology has been around for a hundred years. If you limit the American public's access to semiautomatic technology, you limit their ability to survive.
BASHIR: Tim, you limit their ability to survive. Almost 1,300 people have been killed due to gun violence since Sandy Hook. It's not even two months. Where does he get this kind of nonsense? I mean, and why am I scared that he's actually proving himself to be quite effective as a messenger?
DICKINSON: The NRA sells the fear that sells the gun – plain and simple. They’re a marketing association that sells fear so people go out and arm themselves, and who profits from that? It's the gun makers. Who profits from illegal gun sales to people who shouldn't have guns? It’s the gun makers. Who profits from guns that get bought up by fly by night dealers on the border and are shipped in massive quantities down to Mexico to arm the insurgency – drug insurgency there? It's the gun makers. Whose interest is NRA representing? It’s the gun makers. It's just not that complicated.