Commentary

NRA Responds To 'New York Times' 'Truth' Ad

The New York Times launched its first branding campaign in decades highlighting the importance of “truth.” The campaign appears in print and ran a 30-second spot during last Sunday’s Academy Awards.

The conservative National Rifle Association (NRA) responded with its own take on the “truth” with an ad titled “The Truth Doesn’t Matter to TheNew York Times.”

The New York Times ad alluded to the Trump presidency and its supporters, flashing phrases next to "The truth is..." The NYT's point was to note how complicated "truth" can be.

The NRA ad has a different purpose. It uses much of the same structure, simple typewritten lines on a white background, but explicitly attacks a particular political ideology.

“The truth is that the truth didn't matter to TheNew York Times then as much as now—because as long as liberals were ‘progressing,’ the truth was depressing,” responds the NRA spot.

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“America has stopped looking to The New York Times for the truth now more than ever. The times are burning … and the media elites have been caught holding the match.”

This construction, while bait to its base, can appear confusing. Is "progressing" a slam on progressives, the new word for liberals? Or the idea that having a Democratic president was a "depressing" reality?  And are the times burning?

During Obama's presidency, per CNN Money, the stock market hit an all-time high, millions more had health care, the economy added jobs for 75 straight months, a historic record. There were 11.5 million jobs created under President Obama, but only 1.3 million under President Bush.

A further contention in the NRA ad is that The New York Times didn’t care about “truth” during the Obama administration.

“The New York Times placed an ad during the Oscars to tell us that truth is more important now. But why now … Wasn’t it important when people were marching … When jobs were declining … When diplomacy was straining … When policies were failing … When towns were collapsing … When red lines were vanishing…When Obama was lying ... When journalists were dying … When Christians were dying … When citizens were dying?”

It is easy to take issue, as noted, with many of these statements. President Obama presided over the longest stretch of positive job growth in history, a fact the NRA ad appears to consider fake news.

The same can be said about the strong decrease in crime across the country over the past eight years. The FBI complies crime stats; does the NRA take issue with the FBI?

This ad, which is styled as a new episode on NRATV, is clearly meant for an audience that already has a low opinion of The New York Times. The NRA’s response serves to reinforce a deep seated distrust of the coastal elites, which includes legacy media, like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The NRATV ad does hit on some truthful points.

In many ways, parts of America have “stopped looking to The New York Times for the truth.” What is not constructive, however, is instead of honestly addressing and responding to media claims and established facts, NRATV and other conservative stalwarts impose a blanket claim of untruth, without a second thought.

What would be helpful: If all political factions came together for constructive discussions, agreed on facts, and hammered out policies that serve the nation well. The art of politics is the art of compromise.

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The Marketing Politics Daily newsletter will go on hiatus following today's issue until it makes sense to publish it regularly again.

In the meantime, MediaPost will continue covering political marketing and media through our other publications, including the occasional Red, White & Blog commentary, as well as regular news coverage on the subject.
4 comments about "NRA Responds To 'New York Times' 'Truth' Ad".
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  1. Michael Strassman from WGBH, March 3, 2017 at 2:22 p.m.

    An intelligent piece, but you make the mistake of assuming that the NRA and its supporters have any interest in 'constructive discussions' or truth at all. The truth is that the NRA is bought and paid for by gun companies who want nothing of the truth because it is a threat to their profits, and supported by zealots who will always ignore facts and statistics in favor of their desire to buy, own, and use guns because it plays to their personal and national mythology and insecurities. Traditional media may be able to have a conversation with individuals who would ultimately benefit from making decisions about their lives based on facts and the truth, but good luck getting through the biases and insecurities. There has already been a fair amount research rehashed in the media about the hardening of positions in the face of contradictory information.

  2. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, March 3, 2017 at 5:06 p.m.


    Well said, Mr. Strassman.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 3, 2017 at 6:02 p.m.

    Mr. Rosenstein, your columns have been making perfect sense. Halting your column until it makes sense to continue is like stopping immigration until it we know what is going on makes sense. 

  4. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 3, 2017 at 7:27 p.m.


    What doesn't make any sense is this:

    "The Marketing Politics Daily newsletter will go on hiatus following today's issue until it makes sense to publish it regularly again."


    Who is deciding when it "makes sense" to continue publishing this newsletter?  I cannot recall a time when more information about our political situation is exactly what is needed, not less. I hope your decision isn't based on pressure from advertisers or from anyone with a political axe to grind.  

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