Some time ago, friends of mine held a Rotary fundraiser and, despite raising and donating over a million dollars, failed to interest any media attention. Promotion problems are not due to the “anti-gun media.”
I wasn’t sure how that would be received. My intent wasn’t to anger or cast blame, rather, to point out that gun owners can do things to better promote activities. Just as important, other organizations sometimes suffer from a lack of positive publicity as well.
True, there are a group of reporters, journalists and editors that let their personal opinions over step their impartiality. There are also some that actually like guns and shooting. Most are neutral.
I’ve had a few of comments sent to me anonymously from people that, strangely didn’t want their views public. One of them mentioned that he had “no problem getting local reporters to cover our events.” That’s my point. Members of the media can be worked with. I asked him for links and samples of these published stories and media mentions but he didn’t send any in.
As far as bigger outlets, during the same time the NRA listed Diane Sawyer as “most anti-gun” she did a pro gun story on a shooting school offering free submachine gun classes on her show, Good Morning America. This school sought and garnered publicity in the mass media after the NRA refused to cover these classes as “too controversial.”
Now, Ms. Sawyer is not and never will be a friend to gun owners but this doesn’t make positive publicity doomed to fail. It can be done. It has been done.
As an example, the history of Bowling had a time in the early 1900’s when that game was vilified and legislators sought to ban it. Yes, really! Bowling promoters took the approach of better promoting the activity and making it more available.
We need to do the same. The fact that involved NRA members (recruiters, instructors, etc.) don’t seem interested in doing something about the 98% of NRA members not participating in NRA events is troubling. You read that right. By the NRA’s own published numbers, 98% of their card-carrying membership has never participated in an NRA sanctioned/approved shooting event.
The NRA is part of the mass media. Any organization that reaches out to over four million paying members and has several magazines with over a million subscribers each is a large media outlet. Yet, they can’t interest more than 2% of their own choir.
If NRA members are this disinterested in shooting, why should we expect other media outlets to care? As mentioned in my previous editorial, my local Rotary district held a dinner and donated over a million dollars, yet couldn’t get any media interest. Don’t know many Friends of the NRA groups that can match that.