NBC Sports Network was forced to respond to a flurry of criticism
this week, after the internet caught wind of a show that depicts safari hunting
for big game in Africa.
On Sunday, an episode of the National Rifle Association-sponsored "Under Wild Skies" aired, showing NRA lobbyist and host Tony Makris shooting and killing an elephant, and then celebrating over champagne.
The spectacle sparked vocal backlash, with criticism on social media and a petition at Causes.com that has since received more than 50,000 signatures.
Machismo suffered a blow last week when a noted NRA gun lobbyist was shown downing an old bull elephant in Botswana, then celebrating with champagne about the glorious feeling it gave him and his guide. And although the event happened last year, NBC's NRA-sponsored program, "Under Wild Skies" managed to air it - before Botswana's new anti-poaching law took effect in 2014.
Of course, Tony Makris had a bit to say after the bruhaha commenced, but it wasn't quite as coherent as the NRA would have wished: calling animal rights activists "animal racists", declaring that elephants were used to "feed hungry people", and sidestepping the issue of elephants as an endangered species, he managed to alarm NBC enough to cancel the program altogether (it previously stated that the lone segment would not be aired again).
Makris also stated that "we [NRA, etc.] are all anti-poaching" and that the "lunatic fringe wants all hunting to end."
"They don't realize that animal-lovers and hunters are on the same team."
To be fair, Makris was a typical NRA gun enthusiast, hawking the merits of the gun he used to shoot the elephant and he tried to mitigate his actions by saying that elephants provide food, but lobbyists like Makris aren't the brightest of gun rights apologists, and the machismo element of the video was all too clear.
NBC - NRA - WTF
It was a series of bad decisions.
First, someone at NBC Sports thought it was a good idea to partner with the National Rifle Association on a sponsorship for a big game trophy hunting show called Under Wild Skies. Then they decided it'd be good to show Tony Makris, an NRA lobbyist, shoot an elephant in the face three times. And to make it worse, they showed the hunter and guide drink celebratory champagne while talking about the "specialness" of bringing the ivory back to camp.
NBC Sports obviously
had a FOX moment in deciding to air "Under Wild Skies" featuring the
likes of the NRA's Makris: Asian and African elephant conservation legislation
is at an all-time high, no matter how good elephant meat tastes.* The celebration
afterwards also smacked of ivory-poaching tolerance.
So much for being "on the same team" with animal lovers.
Politics As Usual?
The Right may have a hard time digesting this one since hardliners like Ted Nugent will be out to defend Makris's actions and they have been trying to soften an image of anti-everything remotely liberal (John Beohner and Paul Ryan excepted). They certainly can't defend shooting even moderately endangered species without looking foolish and can't afford to butt heads with the MSM over the shooting of a mascot of conservatism. Even Teabaggers may shy away from the NRA over the issue (although they haven't shown to be the brightest political bulbs on the planet).
The ravings of Wayne LaPierre have given the Right enough headaches without having lobbyists shooting real holes in their political turn-to-moderate agenda.
*Ironically like moose, so Sarah Palin should be outraged at the cancellation of the show as well. BTW: it's considered an aphrodisiac in Thailand, but non-Thai's have seen no difference in performance.