June 25, 2019
The National Rifle Association is reportedly ceasing streaming live video on its branded online TV service, NRATV, which launched in 2016.
The New York Times reported the decision, made June 25, might not impact catalog programming. However, live content produced by media firm Ackerman McQueen and featuring spokesperson Dana Loesch, among others, would end.
At issue was the streaming service’s increasingly hyper-partisan content and the costs to create original programming for a monthly viewership that totaled just 49,000 unique visitors in January, according to comScore.
“Many members expressed concern about the messaging on NRATV becoming too far removed from our core mission: defending the Second Amendment,” Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, wrote in a message to members obtained by The Times. “So, after careful consideration, I am announcing that starting today, we are undergoing a significant change in our communications strategy. We are no longer airing ‘live TV’ programming.”
Indeed, the national gun rights lobby, which in recent years has faced allegations of fiscal irresponsibility by some leaders, and investigative overtures by New York Attorney General Letitia James over its tax-exempt status, faced a backlash last year when Loesch hosted a segment on NRATV featuring characters from longstanding pre-school TV show “Thomas & Friends” wearing Klu Klux Klan hoods in front of burning tracks.
The racist depictions were a crude attempt at sarcasm by Loesch in response to “Thomas & Friends” diversifying its cast of TV train characters, including adding a new locomotive named “Nia,” from Kenya.