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How Obsequious Media Coverage Perpetuates NRA Mythology

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Cross-posted from The Nation

Protesters assemble at a gun control rally, December 17, 2012. (Flickr/Edward Kimmel)

Hysterical at the prospect that at least a few elected officials might stop treating its pronouncements as political gospel, the National Rifle Association announced Tuesday that it had attracted 250,000 new members in the month since the slaying of 20 children by a gun-toting killer in Newtown, Connecticut.

The NRA's release of the new numbers was timed to "counter" President Obama's Wednesday announcement of legislative proposals and executive orders developed by Vice President Joe Biden's task force on mass violence.

Most of the media, having lavished coverage on the NRA's vitriolic response to its meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, have in recent days been dutifully reporting a series of announcements and "leaks" by the group about its self-declared appeal--just as it will now heap attention on the NRA's vitriolic response to the reforms advanced by the Biden-led task force.

But the other side of the story is at least as compelling as the latest declarations from what former Bush administration ethics lawyer Richard Painter has decried as "the NRA protection racket."

Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school shocked the nation in December, support for the gun-safety movement -- and presumably for the initiatives that Biden and his task force are announcing -- has grown at an exponentially greater rate than support for the NRA.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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