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John Oliver Dives Into the Ridiculous, Fear-Mongering Shows of NRA TV on Last Week Tonight

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Last Week Tonight hit on a lot of news last night, from the departure of Hope Hicks, the fall of Kushner, and more. However, the main story did a deep dive into a channel that many of us are probably just learning about for the first time: NRA TV.

NRA TV is free channel that can be streamed on Amazon, Apple, and Roku platforms—something brought to attention recently as companies like Delta, United, and Hertz have cut ties with the NRA after the Parkland shooting. It turns out many of the viral videos from spokeswoman Dana Loesch and others on behalf of the organization have come from the channel.

They “[feel] about guns how the rest of us feel about Nutella”, says John Oliver, “A little is good, more is better, and you can tell me it’s bad for me all you like but you will pry it from my cold, dead, hands.”

The channel has a lot of content you might expect, but the host dives into some of its weirdest content. This includes some Antique Road Show knock-offs, some “testosterone-fueled” content of a man reenacting action movie scenes, and the female-focused Armed and Fabulous. 

The last one is one of the many shows that try and bring women over to the NRA side, along with Love at First Shot, as “if you get the woman you get the family.” This includes lots about customizing guns, selling handbags for concealed carry, and giving a woman her first chance with an AR-15, that’s “just a nice, light puff of happiness.” “It’s a little weird to describe a semi-automatic rifle the way Bob Ross describes a fucking cloud,” Oliver points out.

These shows are ridiculous and concerning, but the host moves on to even darker content like a hunting show that includes a voiceover that includes lines like, “Somewhere over this horizon sits a million little dictators, eager to purse humanity of its hunting instincts” and “the anti-hunters have imposed a false order on their lives, based on a misconceived perception of the world.” Also, I think they just slut-shamed marijuana?

The host describes this as “Less Planet Earth and more ‘deranged letter from a serial killer.'” As the segment goes on, it becomes clear that the overall tone is a fear-mongering, us-vs-them, infomercial that makes the ad agency behind it—Ackerman McQueen—money. If it sounds like an infomercial, Oliver says, that’s because it is. “Do you have ISIS sympathizers in those hard to reach places? Are you tired of getting 9/11-ed?” The image they’re selling, ultimately, is “a bleak image of America with threats around every single corner and one solution.”

There’s no telling how much NRA TV actually does, since ratings are kept private. Additionally, it’s not the most pressing issue around the NRA at the current moment. However, it provides a small glimpse into the mentality behind gun ownership and gun communities.

“There is a lot to be concerned about regarding the NRA’s activities, but NRA TV might actually be the dumbest most transparent thing it does.”

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