The national spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association on Friday doubled down on her claim that members of the media “love” mass shootings, like last week’s school massacre in Parkland, Fla., because of the bump in television ratings that some networks experience in their wake.
In a heated exchange with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Friday morning, NRA representative Dana Loesch was asked by the “New Day” host why she would make such an “inflammatory” assertion.
“Because it’s true,” Loesch said. “I do think that many in the media do because they like the ratings aspect of it. And it’s true because it’s wall-to-wall coverage. They put the murderer’s face up on loop, on televisions all across America, more than they discuss the victims or survivors.”
Camerota called the claim “malicious.”
“I don’t know anybody in the media that likes mass shootings,” Camerota said. “You’re wrong on every single level. We pray that there’s never another one. And the idea of them being ratings gold … guess what? They’re not ratings gold. Because Americans have reached saturation levels. They’re so sick of it. It’s so heartbreaking that they actually often turn away.”
In fact, the gun industry, which is closely allied with the NRA, is the business that profits from mass shootings; gun sales surged after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., leading to a jump in accidental shooting deaths.
Loesch accused CNN of allowing guests to paint the NRA and its members as “child murderers.”
“We’ve never said that, Dana. We’ve never said that,” Camerota countered.
In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland on Feb. 22, Loesch accused news networks of chasing ratings in the aftermath of mass killings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“Many in legacy media love mass shootings,” Loesch said. “I’m not saying you love the tragedy, but you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold.”
Camerota asked why Loesch would resort to using such “inflammatory rhetoric” at CPAC.
“Because it’s true,” Loesch said. “It’s true, Alisyn.”
“It’s not true, you know this!” Camerota replied. “It’s just not true! How dare you!”
Loesch, who appeared at a CNN-hosted town hall with Parkland, Fla., survivors earlier in the week, also accused the media and lawmakers at CPAC of unfairly targeting the NRA.
“We will not be gaslighted into thinking that we’re responsible for a tragedy that we had nothing to do with,” Loesch said.
She reiterated that stance on Friday while discussing solutions to curb gun violence.
“The NRA does bear some responsibility in fixing this,” Camerota said. “They do need to come to the table.”
“No, we absolutely do not,” Loesch said.
Loesch’s comments come as the NRA is facing pressure from lawmakers and President Trump to act in the wake of the latest school shooting. Trump has proposed expanding background checks and raising the minimum age for buying semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.
“They’re ready to do things; they want to do things,” Trump said. “You know, they’re good people. They’re patriots. They love this country.”
But when asked Friday whether the NRA would back the new age requirement, Loesch said it would not.
“Raising the age is not going to solve psychosis,” she said.
Loesch said that when she was 20 years old, she lived alone and owned guns — a shotgun and an AR-15 — for her personal protection.
“I don’t want anyone not to have the ability to defend themselves,” she said.
Read more from Yahoo News:
- NRA head blames FBI, mental illness, security ‘failures’ for Fla. shooting
- Parkland students: ‘We will not be silenced’
- Trump: Arm some teachers to ‘fire back if a savage sicko came to a school’
- Marco Rubio jeered at CNN town hall on school shootings
- The ‘crisis actors’ lie spreads in wake of Florida shooting