December 9, 2003
Ellen L. Weintraub, Chair
Federal Election Commission
999 E St., NW
Washington, DC 20463
Dear Ms. Weintraub:
We are writing to protest the National Rifle Association's (NRA) attempt to hijack the airwaves and use their special interest millions to fund a steady stream of NRA-TV. It doesn't matter how much power the NRA has, our party should never be the choice of the NRA, and our country should never lose the free media that is at the core of our democracy. If this letter causes the NRA to add us to their 19 page enemies list, we'll wear it with a badge of honor. We certainly don't need the endorsement of the NRA. There is nothing more disturbing than imagining a democracy where the media becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NRA's right-wing extremism.
The media exemption that the NRA seeks from the Federal Election Commission would allow them to purchase radio and television stations around the country. Then, instead of following campaign finance laws like the rest of America, the NRA would be able to take the millions it receives from the gun lobby and broadcast anything it wants for as long it wants-all under the heading of "news."
As you know, the reason that current campaign finance laws bar interest groups, like the NRA, from airing television and radio ads about federal candidates in the period leading up to a primary or general election is so that big-money, special interests cannot flood the airwaves with propaganda and one-sided information. Campaign finance laws exempt legitimate news organizations from these rules for good reason - so that a diversity of views can be presented to the public free from censorship.
Like most of their right-wing extremist agenda, the NRA calling itself a news organization insults American's common sense and threatens the public interest. It's time we stood up to the NRA and put our public safety ahead of powerful interests. The NRA will be a "media" organization that scares Americans into thinking that Democrats want to take away all of their guns, but won't be interrupting their regularly scheduled programming with "breaking news" when a child is killed by an assault weapon that was purchased illegally and taken over state lines.
We urge you to prevent the NRA from hijacking America's airwaves with the gun lobby's money. If the NRA has something to say, it can play by the rules, just like the millions of people in America who do everyday. America does not deserve a media that is polluted by the special interests.