Wayne LaPierre Stand and Fight - Propaganda Techniques

February 24, 2013

Wayne LaPierre - Lobbyist Loaded for Bear
Wayne LaPierre - Lobbyist Loaded for Bear | Source

Wayne Lapierre is the executive vice president and spokesman of the National Rifle Association (NRA). He recently wrote an op-ed for the Daily Caller that is filled with a variety of propaganda techniques and logical fallacies. Herein, I will go through and point out some of these techniques and fallacies. Because I am going to chop his statement up into pieces, it might be helpful to read his statement in its entirety before reading my critique.

Paragraph 1

Wayne LaPierre: Before I tell you how the NRA and our members are going to Stand And Fight politically and in the courts, let’s acknowledge that all over this country, tens of millions of Americans are already preparing to Stand And Fight to protect their families and homes.These good Americans are prudently getting ready to protect themselves.

Repetition
LaPierre repeats the phrase "Stand and Fight" throughout his op-ed. This technique is more of a rhetorical device than a propaganda technique, but it can be effective when used well.

Paragraph 2

Wayne Lapierre: It has always been sensible for good citizens to own and carry firearms for lawful protection against violent criminals who prey on decent people.

Appeal to prejudice
This sentence is a good example of an appeal to prejudice. This technique uses loaded or biased wording to lead the audience in a specific direction based upon feelings rather than reason or evidence. The loaded words are underlined below.

It has always been sensible for good citizens to own and carry firearms for lawful protection against violent criminals who prey on decent people.

With the loaded wording removed, the sentence, which still transfers the exact same information is the following:

It is wise for citizens to own and carry firearms for protection against criminals.

Notice I have changed "sensible" to "wise". Sensible has a connotation related to common sense which tends to be seen positively, whereas "wise" is a more neutral term. You could also use "prudent." Also notice the removal of the entire phrase "who prey on decent people." Victimizing ordinary people is essentially the definition of a criminal, so doesn't need saying. LaPierre is just being dramatic. The phrase "has always been" is more of an appeal to tradition than loaded wording, but is also unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence.

Assertion
This sentence is also a good example of an assertion. This technique states a claim as if it were a fact without actually providing any evidence. It works well combined with loaded words. With the way LaPierre phrases the sentence it is hard not to agree with it. Who doesn't want to be a good citizen defending against violent criminals. Carrying guns must be sensible, right? Yet, when we really stop to think about it, is it really sensible to concede that safety should be secured only by everyone walking around with deadly weapons? Framed in that way, it actually sounds a bit insane.

Paragraph 3

Wayne Lapierre: During the second Obama term, however, additional threats are growing. Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States. Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, and though the states on the U.S./Mexico border may be the first places in the nation to suffer from cartel violence, by no means are they the last.

This paragraph also contains numerous examples of loaded wording (underlined). A more neutral re-wording is shown below.

During the second Obama term, however, new concerns are developing.Latin American drug gangs are now present in every city of significant size in the United States. The high rates of kidnapping that Phoenix has experienced is one example of the crime these gangs bring.

I have underlined and removed LaPierre's final clause because it is functioning as a redundant and dramatic re-presentation of what has already been stated. It is akin to saying, "You are about to drive off a cliff. When you drive off into oblivion you face certain agonizing and fiery death." Oblivion and death are already obvious consequences of driving off a cliff, just as crime would be an obvious consequence of invading gangs.

Card Stacking
In persuasive speaking the technique of card stacking is like stacking one's hand with all aces in poker while dumping your bad cards. This technique, thereby, presents arguments and information favorable to one's position and ignores that which is unfavorable. It is also called observational selection or cherry-picking.

In this case, LaPierre is focusing on two pieces of information: the prevalence of gangs and Phoenix's high kidnapping rate. He includes this information because it is favorable to his "the world is a dangerous place" narrative. Examples of information he excludes are that overall crime rates in America are at a low level and El Paso, another border city, has recently been rated one of the safest large cities in America by CQ Press's City Crime Rankings. Additional rankings by CQ also show that Phoenix has less crime then many cities nowhere near the border, such as St. Louis, Detroit, and Philadelphia.

This paragraph could also be considered an appeal to fear, but I will talk about that one a little later.

Factual information
This is the first alleged factual information LaPierre has presented. It is always important to factually evaluate material we encounter. In this case LaPierre makes it difficult because he doesn't provide any source for his information. This is poor argumentation technique in general. Fact-checking is beyond the scope of this article, but it would be worthwhile to do it in this case. If gangs really are a rising problem, why is crime down? Does Phoenix really have such a significant kidnapping problem, and if so is that an accurate reflection of the overall danger of living in Phoenix or on the border?

Paragraph 4

Wayne LaPierre: The president flagrantly defies the 2006 federal law ordering the construction of a secure border fence along the entire Mexican border.

From herein out I'm just going to underline loaded words and in most cases will just call them out without discussing them. But just for one last example, this sentence could have been written as: "The President is not in compliance with the border fence requirements established by the Secure Border Fence Act of 2006."

Wayne LaPierre: Ominously, the border also remains open to agents of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Numerous intelligence sources have confirmed that foreign terrorists have identified the southern U.S. border as their path of entry into the country.

This is also an appeal to fear, but really much of LaPierre's op-ed is simply a long extended appeal to fear. There is going to be more of it.

Appeal to Authority
This technique is very common. In fact, sometimes it seems like you can't get through a news article these days without encountering it at least once. There isn't anything wrong with citing authorities, but to be legitimate requires that the authority is credible. In cases where authorities are anonymously cited, as in LaPierre's "Numerous intelligence sources...," verifying their credibility is impossible. In this case it is even worse because he simply says numerous. How many is that exactly? Are there even more authorities that say the complete opposite?

Paragraph 5

Wayne LaPierre: When the next terrorist attack comes, the Obama administration won’t accept responsibility. Instead, it will do what it does every time: blame a scapegoat and count on Obama’s “mainstream” media enablers to go along.

Dehumanization
Like many of LaPierre's passages this could be considered many different techniques. In part it is an appeal to fear and it could also be considered a personal attack, but the primary intent is to generate antipathy towards Obama and his administration. LaPierre does this through dehumanization. This technique takes a variety of forms but the goal is always to deny a target basic qualities of human decency, or in some case humanness at all. In this case, LaPierre portrays Obama as someone who is completely incapable of taking responsibility and who will always blame others and allow the media to be a complicit agent in so doing. And just as his op-ed is in many ways a long drawn out appeal to fear, his dehumanization of the opponent will also be a recurring and continual theme.

Paragraph 8

Wayne LaPierre: After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.

Labelling
Labelling by itself is simply when we use a word or short phrase to describe a person, thing, or idea. Labelling is in many cases necessary and harmless—calling a hammer a tool, for instance—but some labels can have intentional positive or negative connotations to them. The word "liberal" for example is often today used in a pejorative way. These negative labels are also called a Dysphemism.

In this case, LaPierre is using "gun prohibitionist" as a dysphemism. Taking guns away from people or restricting their access to them is not the main goal of gun-control advocates. However, by labeling them as such, he focuses on what he probably thinks will be most important (and arose the most ire) in his target audience (gun owners). We could just as easily call them "lovers of safety and peace" which would obviously have a very different connotative affect.

One useful trick to use with labels is to ask whether anyone in the labelled group uses that label for themselves. If they don't, than that is a pretty good indication that the label is potentially being used in a pejorative way. For example, no gun control advocate, that I know of, calls themselves a gun prohibitionist.

Straw Man
The Straw Man technique is when someone builds a misrepresentation of a person or idea and engages the misrepresentation rather than the original person or idea. In this case the Straw Man or misrepresentation is that gun control advocates want people to live in a hellish world that they consider to be a utopia.

For this to not be a Straw Man, LaPierre would have to actually provide some evidence that this is in fact what his opponent wants. He has not done so. While it would be factually difficult to determine the totality of what gun control advocates want, we can use the goals of the larger gun control groups as a reasonable proxy.

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.

Everytown for Gun Safety:

Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.

Violence Policy Center:

Each year, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings as a result of the ready availability, and accessibility, of specific classes of firearms...The Violence Policy Center...works to stop this annual toll of death and injury through research, advocacy, education, and collaboration.

These groups express a desire for a safer world and reduced violence with no expressed interest in utopias or hellish worlds, and no direct action is mentioned against guns at all. I think it is safe to say that LaPierre has in fact built a Straw Man. By so doing he is able to completely ignore his actual opponent and to completely ignore what his actual opponent truly wants.

Appeal to Fear
An appeal to fear is exactly what it sounds like—an attempt via fear to persuade someone to a particular side of an issue or argument. It is important to point out that factually describing something which people might tend to be afraid of isn't by itself an appeal to fear. A police officer warning motorists of a flooded road ahead isn't trying to frighten people for any ulterior motive, they are simply trying to provide useful information that will benefit people's well-being. If the flood is a trickle and I'm trying to sell flood-proof tires, then that would be a different scenario. The key with this technique is that it involves some level of deception. Either the fear is exaggerated or the proposed solution isn't necessarily logical or the best way of addressing the situation.

In this case, starting the section with the word "hellish" would seem to suggest we are in for some exaggeration. The next exaggeration is that "Looters ran wild." By this description one would imagine roving gangs of looters all over the place. While there were some cases of looting, for the most part, police response seemed to be effective. In two of the hardest hit precincts (60th and 61st) there were 31 burglaries in the week after the Hurricane. NYPD crime statistics show that in 2012 those two precincts averaged 12 burglaries a week, so there was definitely an increase, but we are still only talking about 4 burglaries a day. That just doesn't sound like looters running wild to me. For another comparison, these two precincts, in 1990, averaged almost 70 burglaries a week.

LaPierre concludes his appeal to fear with the notion that if someone were to have gone out at night they wouldn't have come back. We have already talked about how there was some looting, but overall, all other crime was down in the week following the storm, which would seem to refute LaPierre's apocalyptic portrayal.

There is at least one person who uses language similar to LaPierre in regard to disasters: Rebecca Solnit, author of the book A Paradise Built in Hell. Unlike LaPierre's hellish world, however, Solnit's 'paradise' arises because, according to her, disasters bring out the best in people and that altruism and neighborliness actually increase in the face of such adversity.

Looting makes for sensational headlines especially if that is what you want to believe, but the aftermath of the storm was also filled with generosity and volunteers offering to hep those in need (there actually were too many volunteers). Seeing looting whilst not seeing generosity and compassion is a choice, not a truth. This is another perfect example of card stacking. LaPierre is showing a picture of a looter, ignoring the hundreds of pictures of generosity, and telling a story about hell.

Paragraph 9

Wayne LaPierre: Anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had already done everything he could to prevent law-abiding New Yorkers from owning guns, and he has made sure that no ordinary citizen will ever be allowed to carry a gun.

Appeal to fear, card stacking
This statement is mostly more of LaPierre's appeal to fear, but is also another example of card stacking. In this instance, LaPierre focuses on the information useful for his position—Bloomberg's gun control policies—but ignores the fact that crime in New York is historically low and that the NYPD is one of the largest and most sophisticated police forces on the planet.

Wayne LaPierre: He even refused to allow the National Guard into the city to restore civil order because Guardsmen carry guns!

Quoting out of context
The technique of quoting out of context either edits a quote or ignores the context in which it was said so the intent or meaning are misrepresented. LaPierre is suggesting that Bloomberg is so opposed to guns that he wouldn't let the Guard enter the city even to help restore order. In part, this quote is simply wrong. here is what Mayor Bloomberg said:

No, we appreciate the help. The National Guard has been helpful, but the NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns. We don't need it.

Bloomberg never "refused" the guard at all and the National Guard was in fact present in New York City. They helped evacuate Bellevue Hospital, helped distribute fuel, delivered meals, etc. Furthermore, Bloomberg's 'refusal' was based upon not needing them, not the mere fact that they carry weapons. It also seems inaccurate to say that civil order needed to be restored. It has already been mentioned that some looting took place, overall crime was down, which Bloomberg mentioned further in his statement.

There has been one or two minor outbreakings, disgraceful as they may be, looting reported in the paper, but the vast bulk of people are doing the right thing. And in Brooklyn people are safe the same way they are in the rest of the city. We have the resources, the NYPD is 100 percent confident that we can protect the public...There are plenty of locations upstate and into surrounding states where they don't have a police department the size of New York, and they can use help from the state, and that's where they should be.

So, the context, meaning, and intent of Bloomberg's statement was to say that his city is safe, therefore the Guard wasn't necessary and might be better utilized elsewhere. By editing and ignoring the full context, LaPierre has made it sound like Bloomberg was willing to forego the safety of his citizens because of his alleged distaste of guns—a significantly different meaning from the original..

Paragraph 10

Wayne LaPierre: Meanwhile, President Obama is leading this country to financial ruin, borrowing over a trillion dollars a year for phony “stimulus” spending and other payoffs for his political cronies. Nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won’t be enough money to pay for police protection. And the American people know it.

Transfer (or association)
The technique of transfer invokes a negative aspect of a person or idea with the intent of having that feeling transfer to another person or idea. Obama's fiscal policies have little to do with gun control and Obama is not synonymous with gun control advocates. LaPierre wants the feeling of discontent people have with Obama's alleged fiscal policies to transfer over to gun control advocates in general.

Appeal to fear
It's getting repetitive, but it has to be pointed out that LaPierre's vision is again an exaggerated apocalyptic one that is hard to really believe. The idea that the country could suddenly go broke and fiscally collapse is preposterous. Even if it were somehow possible, that still doesn't mean that violent anarchy is the only inevitable result.

Dehumanizing
This paragraph also contains more dehumanizing. LaPierre portrays only negative alleged attributes of Obama.

Argument of Inevitability (Fatalism)
"And the American people know it" is a seemingly innocent phrase, but is actually deceptively potent. It's akin to an assertion, which makes a statement that is simply intended to be taken as fact. It also uses a bit of bandwagon. Americans strongly self-identify as Americans and so when we are told what we think it is easier for us to automatically go along with it. It is no accident that LaPierre concludes what is a pretty extreme claim with this simple sentence.

Paragraph 11

Wayne LaPierre: Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival. It’s responsible behavior, and it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that.

Reversal of Reality
This is an excellent example of a reversal of reality. LaPierre has just spent several paragraphs describing how gun control advocates want us to live in a "hellish" world and has described in high detail the "perils" we will face in that world. He has also described how the Obama administration will without doubt lead us to fiscal collapse and a broke country that can't pay for police protection. This is almost the exact definition of paranoia and yet LaPierre, completely wipes that away with a few short phrases. "It's not paranoia...it's survival...it's responsible..." It's brilliant.

Chosen People
This technique is similar to bandwagon, but it isn't about doing what everyone else is doing or what is popular, it is about implying that the individuals in a particular group are somehow special. E.g. only they know the true nature of the world. In this case, LaPierre is telling the pro-gun crowd to not worry about being called paranoid. Those who call them such, aren't special like you, and just don't know the reality of what is coming.

Paragraph 12

Wayne LaPierre: Since the election, millions of Americans have been lining up in front of gun stores, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops exercising their freedom while they still have it. They are demonstrating they have a mass determination to buy, own and use firearms. Millions of Americans are using market forces like never before to demonstrate their ardent support for our firearm freedoms. That’s one of the very best ways we can Stand And Fight.

Non sequitur
A key element in this paragraph is to understand the fallacy in claiming that people are buying guns in "support of our firearm freedoms." This is a non sequitur, which translates form Latin to "it does not follow." This type of fallacy states a conclusion that does not logically follow from the given evidence. In this case the reason why people are buying guns. LaPierre's claim that they are buying them to support firearm freedoms is an assumption that he has not supported with evidence. It could also be assumed, for example, that people are buying them to sell later on for profit. This doesn't mean LaPierre's conclusion isn't correct. We just don't know because no evidence has been provided.

Conflict of Interest
The two specific stores that LaPierre mentions in this paragraph are noteworthy. The NRA has relationships with both of them. Cabela's is a top donor to the NRA and Bass Pro Shops has several affiliations with the NRA (an NRA museum inside a Bass Pro Shop store, promotional deals, etc.) This is conflict of interest. While it doesn't, by itself, prove that LaPierre's judgement is affected by those relationships, it is something to take note of.

Flag-waving
This paragraph could be summed up as follows: "Be patriotic, buy guns." LaPierre hasn't offered any actual reason why buying a gun is patriotic or how buying guns, if it does at all, supports freedom. Nor does he offer any reasoning as to why this would be "one of the very best" courses of action at people's disposal. What other actions are there? How effective are they? These are all legitimate questions and concerns, that LaPierre has shown no interest in asking or being answered. Him wanting people to buy guns, however, is quite clear.

Paragraph 13

Wayne LaPierre: Inevitably, the anti-gun media and the gun-ban lobbies are demonizing the purchase of firearms. They call us “extremists” because we wonder whether we will be able to buy a semi-auto in three years or, even in some states, later this year. That’s despite the fact that President Obama long ago made clear that he wants to ban them all!

Straw Man
This paragraph uses a couple of labels: "anti-gun" and "gun-ban." But, it is primarily a multi-part straw man argument. As a reminder, a straw man argument is when someone constructs a fictitious alleged argument made by their opponent and attacks that fictitious construct rather than their actual opponent or opponent's argument.

Gun-control advocates have nothing against the "purchase of firearms." They mind what is done with firearms. They may or may not call anyone extremists, but if they do, it isn't because people wonder about the availability of weapons in the future, and Obama has never said anything about wanting to "ban them all!"

The whole point of this is to distract from, and evade, the actual concerns and arguments of gun control advocates and to portray them as unreasonable people whose sole concern has to do with interrupting the alleged rights of others.

Paragraph 14

Wayne LaPierre: The media try to make rank-and-file Americans feel guilty about buying a gun. The enemies of freedom demonize gun buyers and portray us as social lepers. But we know the truth. We know that responsible gun ownership exemplifies what is good and right about America.

Straw Man
For the most part this is simply an extension of the straw man developed in the previous paragraph.

Framing the Argument
This is a technique where someone changes what they are calling something. It is a subtle technique that can go unnoticed at the speed of reading. In this case, LaPierre has spent a couple paragraphs talking about a group of people which includes the "anti-gun" media, "gun-ban lobbies," and Obama—basically anyone who opposes unfettered access to firearms—then after building up this group, LaPierre turns around and calls them the "enemies of freedom." This is a pretty harsh description.

Chosen People
Once again LaPierre ends what was a fairly extreme statement with an appeal to the chosen people. "But we know the truth." It seemingly is a tactic being used by him to soften people into accepting what might otherwise seem to have sharp edges.

Glittering Generalities
I haven't mentioned this tactic yet, though it has been present. A glittering generality is a feel-good word or phrase, generally very vague but associated with a highly-valued concept. Common examples are words like love and freedom. These words or phrases are so overused and vague that they almost have no meaning. They aren't really meant to. They are used primarily for positive emotional reinforcement. In this case it is LaPierre's "good and right about America."

Paragraph 15

Wayne LaPierre: Responsible Americans realize that the world as we know it has changed. We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster.

Fatalism
LaPierre's first sentence is another subtle, but very effective, argument of inevitability. The world has changed, he says, but offers no evidence to support the claim or to in any way say how it has changed, what it has changed into, or what it used to be. That's okay, he doesn't really want you to think about those things. He merely wants you to assign yourself to his alleged claim. It has changed. The implication is that there's nothing you can do about it. This technique deploys a fatalistic tone. The world has gone from light to dark, good to bad, and we, the "responsible" Americans must harden our selves to it (and follow the directions I am about to give).

LaPierre's fatalistic first sentence probably would have been enough by itself. Allowing people's own imagination about how the world has changed would have been effective enough, but he continues on to paint a fuller picture of what the world has become—a dangerous place where we are assailed by "terrorists, crime, drug gangs...Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest...natural disaster[s]," etc.

Paragraph 16

Wayne LaPierre: Gun owners are not buying firearms because they anticipate a confrontation with the government. Rather, we anticipate confrontations where the government isn’t there—or simply doesn’t show up in time.

Lie
Not sure this can be considered a propaganda technique. It is just a straight up lie.

This is a bit dated now, but Fred Romero, from the NRA, had the following to say about the 2nd Amenedment:

The Second Amendment is not there to protect the interests of hunters, sports shooters and casual plinkers, although those are convenient spinoffs. The Second Amendment is there as a balance of power. It is literally a loaded gun in the hands of the people held to the heads of government.

And from the American Civil Rights Union Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski:

[There are] two reasons for the Second Amendment right to bear arms. One is self-defense, and the other...is enabling the American people to resist tyranny.

From the NRA's brief filed in the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court case:

...the Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny...

Chuck Norris, celebrity spokesman for the NRA:

How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?

Larry Pratt, president of the Gun Owners of America:

We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it. They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of socialists.

Newt Gingrich, former Congressman and 2012 presidential candidate at an NRA annual meeting:

The right to bear arms is not about hunting. It’s not about target practice. The right to bear arms is a political right designed to safeguard freedom so that no government can take away from you the rights which God has given you...

Ted Nugent, NRA Board Member:

Our president and attorney general, our vice president, Hillary Clinton, they're criminals. They're criminals ... Remember we're Americans because we defied the king, we didn't negotiate and compromise with the king, we defied the emperors. We are patriots. We are Braveheart. We need to ride into that battlefield and chop [Democrats'] heads off in November. Any questions?

This is only a small sampling of what is out there (and is relatively moderate), so LaPierre suggesting that resisting government tyranny isn't a motive for some gun owners is just plain dishonest.

Paragraph 17

Wayne LaPierre: To preserve the inalienable, individual human right to keep and bear arms—to withstand the siege that is coming—the NRA is building a four-year communications and resistance movement. The enemies of the Second Amendment will be met with unprecedented defiance, commitment and determination. We will Stand And Fight.

Flag-waving
This paragraph is primaraily flag-waving. It is a rallying the troops sort of cavalcade. It is also the conclusion of LaPierre's opening segment which laid out the reason for Standing and Fighting.

Paragraph 18

Wayne LaPierre: First, we are going to devise legal capability like never before. I fervently hope that President Obama does not get to appoint another anti-gun Supreme Court justice like Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan. But he probably will, and we must meet that challenge. His chances of appointing a replacement for one of the five pro-rights justices in the 5-4 Heller and McDonald majorities are high. And there’s no doubt he is going to appoint a huge number of new judges to lifetime positions in the lower federal courts.

This is the beginning of LaPierre's second segment. In it he describes some of the specific steps he plans on taking as well as the things that he thinks gun-owners should be doing.

Labelling
It is worth noting the labelllng he does in this first paragraph. Notice that the 'bad' judges are "anti-gun" judges while the 'good' judges are "pro-rights" (rather than pro-gun). It is also interesting that the implication of good/bad seems entirely based upon whether judges agree with the singular policy issue of guns.

The rest

From here on out, LaPierre's op-ed becomes rather uninteresting from a propaganda perspective. It essentially just oscillates between vague appeals to fear,

...an even stronger NRA is the only chance gun owners have to withstand the coming siege.

bandwagon,

Historically, we have always been able to rely on volunteers, and I’m going to ask you and need you to answer the call to help throughout the next four years.

flag-waving,

And we will be prouder than ever to be freedom-loving NRA patriots. And with your help, we will ensure that the Second Amendment remains America’s First Freedom.

and an awful lot of trying to sell memberships:

never has your membership been more important. Never has the NRA been more in need of your support...we have to raise those funds from you—$20, $50, $250, or $1,000 at a time...Every gun owner should be an active member of the NRA. Every gun owner should be sure that every member of his or her family is an active member...This begins with remembering to keep your own membership active, or reactivate it if it has lapsed. It means reminding yourself, “I have a son and daughter who aren’t members and should be.” It means reaching out to your hunting and shooting friends and personally telling them why it’s so important that they join the NRA now, during this time of peril...The NRA is launching a nationwide, full-court initiative to urge every gun owner, and every non-gun-owning lover of freedom, to join the NRA and fight this battle. I will personally be traveling all over America enlisting new members...We must reach out to the tens of millions of gun owners who are not yet NRA members...So it is you, proud NRA members, who are the key to enlisting new members in the ranks of our army of freedom...That will be even more effective if we remember to invite new people to participate and provide them with the responsible mentorship and guidance that the NRA has exemplified for over 140 years...

With all of his calls to membership packed into a bunch like this it starts to feel like a rather pushy salesman. Of course, he himself didn't write it like this. He had it interspersed with the aforementioned appeals to fear, bandwagon, flag-waving, etc.

Bunching it up like I did was not an accident, which you hopefully realize. Just because I am writing an article about propaganda does not in any way mean that I am not equally capable of (and potentially guilty of) my own attempts to sway the reader's opinion. Do I believe that LaPierre cares a whole lot about making money, far more than he cares about American's rights? You bet I do, which is exactly why I would bunch up his sales pitch the way that I did. And while calling out his conflict of interest with Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop is legitimate regardless, without my bias I may not have really noticed it. Just as there may be some things others would have noted that I just skimmed past. There were a few other moments were my bias shows as well. But that is kind of the point. A completely bias-free piece of information is rare, or nonexistent. The whole point of this is to encourage people to view information—all information, mine included—with a critical eye and to hopefully learn a couple of the common techniques that are out there.

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Comments 18 comments

Jewel01 profile image

Jewel01 3 years ago from Michigan

Great hub, I especially appreciate your final statement regarding your own bias. Propaganda is what runs this country. The average citizen does not have the time, nor an inclination to educate themselves, about current issues. They hear these fearful statements and believe them to be true.


HSchneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Well done, Junkseller. LaPierre is nothing more than a salesman and a promoter for gunsellers. He will use any lies and deceptions for these purposes. His and the gunseller's profits are his only concern. Thank you for exposing him so clearly.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

@jewel01

I was really hoping people reading this would, in their minds, be saying, "hey, what about your own bias." I didn't want to be too overt (until the end of course), but thought there was just enough to be noticed. I was hoping it would serve as a good additional point of why it is important to always have on one's critical thinking hat. Don't believe anything anyone tells you is something I've always tried to live by.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

@HSchneider

It's really hard not to come to any other conclusion, when every other sentence out of his mouth seems to be "buy more guns." Looking at some of the policies they advocate for would seem to suggest the same thing. Legislation to eliminate background checks in some cases, like they did in Michigan, is a good example.

INTERVIEWER: So, what's your solution for school violence?

LAPIERRE: More guns.

INT: What's your take on the Syria situation?

LAPIERRE: More guns.

INT: How do you feel about Climate Change?

LAPIERRE: More guns.

INT: Who do you favor in Saturday's game?

LAPIERRE: More guns.

Etc.


RBJ33 profile image

RBJ33 3 years ago

Good Day Ms seller - nice to meet you. You have a knack for nailing it, as evidenced by this hub. Good job - well done. I would like to urge, and invite you to read my hub "Apathy - is that any way to run a company? and consider joining us. The PARTICIPATE Movement was inspired by a hub from one of your fellow hubbers, and our membership includes some hubbers. Good luck and I hope I hear from you.


i scribble profile image

i scribble 3 years ago

You got a little giggle from me for your LaPierre interview, though the topic is anything but funny. People like LaPierre who will say or do anything for money are sociopaths, in my view. I wonder what his annual income is? Nice work on this hub.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

RBJ33, Nice to see you sir. I'm a sir too by the way. Not sure how I ended up a Ms. At any rate, I appreciate your positive enthusiasm. The Participate Movement sounds like a good endeavor. Unfortunately I'm about all out of hope. The sheer mass of stupidity, ego, ignorance, greed, arrogance, and lack of even basic human decency I encounter on a daily basis is simply unbearable. I'm tending more towards the idea of building a bunker in the hills far from humanity.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

i scribble, thanks for stopping by. I have seen it reported numerous times that LaPierre's salary is right up around a million a year. Not too shabby.


i scribble profile image

i scribble 3 years ago

JS,

Don't give up. We owe it to the children of Sandy Hook, their families, the little girl who was slaughtered at the Gabby Giffords massacre, and all the child victims, past and future, to keep fighting until we win. We need you and your voice of reason in this struggle. I've joined the new Million Moms Demand Action against Gun Violence movement, and I find it inspiring. I'm sure they'd like to have you, even tho you're not a mom or a Ms!


RBJ33 profile image

RBJ33 3 years ago

LaPierre, the man with the Hitler haircut, is at it again in the newspaper this morning - says background checks are "insane" Says they mean a gun registry which will give the Government gun owners names so they can then go confiscate all the guns. This guy is the perfect example of "The Sky is Falling"

We register our automobiles - sure hope Obama doesn't come get my car


Jewel01 profile image

Jewel01 3 years ago from Michigan

RBJ33, that is what gets people started on the insanity. When he speaks, some just carry the message, without thought. I think sometimes people agree, because it's one less thing they have to do themselves. By that, I mean have a thought process.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

iscribble,

I hadn't heard of the group you mentioned. Not sure how I missed them, so I went on their Facebook page, started to watch a video, then noticed it was from FOX News, and thought, whoa! This can't be the right place. Sure enough, it wasn't. It was One Million Moms AGAINST Gun Control. Oops.

I guess they changed their name recently. It's now Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Here's their homepage for anyone else interested: http://momsdemandaction.org/

Thanks for the encouraging words and for your own efforts on this issue.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

RBJ33,

To a point I can understand the concerns about gun registries. In a broad sense I think there is way to much information about us collected and compiled as it is. The idea that the government is going to come get them, however, I tend to find absurd. Still, I have asked this question probably a hundred times and never received an answer: why would a registration system have to be implemented by the federal government? Personally, I wouldn't really care who does it. You could have local governments do it, sporting clubs, manufactures, some sort of independent agency, etc. So there really is no inherent reason at all even to have to be paranoid about the federal government. Just don't have them do it.

Recently, I proposed enacting a law which would fine manufacturers a million dollars any time one of their unregistered guns was used in a crime. It was initially said in jest, but the more I thought about it the more I thought it actually wasn't a bad idea. The point, of course, wouldn't be to actually fine manufacturers, the point would be to provide an overwhelmingly powerful incentive for gun manufacturers to develop an extremely robust registration system.

Pro-gun types, of course, called me every name they could think of, but I actually think it might work surprisingly well, and would keep the federal government out of it which should make them happy. I don't have any evidence it would actually work, but it is at least an example of a somewhat creative solution. What I really don't understand is the absolute defeatist attitude of some pro-gun types who seem to think that nothing can be done or nothing will work. It just seems so uncreative to me.


junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Jewel01,

There do seem to be a fair number of people with allergies to thinking. But even beyond that, even if people don't want to put thought into something, I'm always surprised by how willing some people are to be led by their emotions. Understanding when someone is simply trying to push our buttons is a fundamental skill everyone should have. LaPierre, clearly, is a button pusher and little else.


Jewel01 profile image

Jewel01 3 years ago from Michigan

Junkseller:

I agree with you. Too, many people allow themselves to be carried away. The first question I ask when someone tells me they are getting a concealed weapons permit, is "how old are you?" I like this question, especially if it is a senior citizen. My second question is, "so when were you raped, pillaged, or robbed?" Usually at that point I say, "so have you witnessed a crime?" So far they have always said, "No," to all my questions. So I usually resort to "why do you feel you need one?" Most say they "just want one." I am more ruthless with the younger generation, especially those under 30. I am tired of feeling like I live at the O.K Coral.


i scribble profile image

i scribble 3 years ago

I knew they had changed their name. Just couldn't remember the new name and figured you'd find it from the old. Sorry, but I guess we can both glean something from you ending up at the wrong site; appears the original name was hijacked by the enemy and so the good guys had to change their name. More disgusting tactics, huh?


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Great hub junkseller, I will have to read it again. This is just an example of LaPierre's love of money. He really should become friends with former Vice President Chaney and go hunting with him.

to Jewel01, when you asked your questions above, the answer to some of them is yes, and I don't know what would have happened to us, if my mother had not had a gun.

But I believe that assault weapons, and high capacity magazines should be banned, I also believe in background checks. But that maybe would not have stopped the man who hit my mother across the face with a shotgun.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee

Very insightful.

I believe in having guns with a permit and I'm not thrilled by a lot of legislation that seems intent on stamping on our rights to defend ourselves and our homes. But even at this, this LaPierre sounds like he's only wanting to exploit the debate with smoke and mirrors. And I certainly don't appreciate lies and exaggerations aimed at whetting anyone into a frenzy. Dangerous ground, dangerous ground.

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