A disturbing National Rifle Association video, published on Monday, accuses The Washington Post of helping fuel “organized anarchy of the violent left” by spreading lies.
“You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm,” conservative talk show host Grant Stinchfield says in the video commentary. “Your paper’s new slogan may read ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’ It should say ‘Journalism Dies at The Washington Post.’”
The NRA’s promotion of Stinchfield’s two-minute rant comes at a precarious time for journalists. President Donald Trump has declared the media the ”enemy of the people,” a characterization straight out of the authoritarian playbook. Reporters increasingly face verbal and even physical attacks for doing their jobs. And news organizations have lately been considering greater security measures.
CBS News anchor Scott Pelley asked Trump earlier in the year if he worried that his anti-press rhetoric might lead to a shooting attack in a newsroom. The president did not answer.
Although Stinchfield’s video commentary doesn’t explicitly call for violence against the press, New York Times writer Max Fisher described the video as “edging right up to the line of endorsing violence against journalists,” in particular against Post reporter and Iraq War veteran Alex Horton.
“Video repeatedly names the journalist, presents him as acting outside the law & a dangerous threat to gun-owners, and uses violent symbolism,” Fisher tweeted. “What is the point of all that, particularly the repeated use of violent imagery and vigilante metaphors, except to wink-wink-nudge-nudge?”
In the video, Stinchfield claims that The Washington Post has “tarnished gun owners in an effort to take away our Second Amendment freedoms” and specifically calls out Horton for describing another recent NRA video as ”dark.” The earlier video, featuring NRA commentator Dom Raso, similarly tied the media, Democrats, and activists together in a conspiracy to create “organized anarchy” in America.
The Washington Post declined to comment on the latest video.
But Natalie Jennings, a Post editor, noted on Twitter that “Zero facts to refute our reporting were presented in this video.” And Horton questioned the message behind Stinchfield’s “stern warning” to the paper.
“Warning of what?” Horton asked.