On January 25, 2011, Innis rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange “to highlight the 25th anniversary of the observance of the Martin Luther King holiday.” Innis was joined by FOX Business News Anchor Charles Payne.
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Select "Search by Issue" to pull up all of the controversial statements made by NRA leaders on a given issue. Select "Search by Ties" to pull up all the ties that NRA leaders have to a certain organization or activity.
NRA Leaders by Ties
The following is a list of controversial statements and actions of NRA leaders regarding their ties to Fox News. NRA leaders are listed alphabetically by last name.
In a June 25, 2012 interview with Lou Dobbs on Fox News, LaPierre stated, “So much of the national media oughta just take down their logo and put an Obama bumper sticker on because they’re so tied to reelecting this president. I mean, the Washington Post writes the other day, I mean, they’re still writing stories patting themselves on the backs for Watergate, which was a third-rate burglary. I mean, even Bill Clinton was a dalliance with an intern. This is hundreds of peoples dead, federal agent dead. And the Washington Post writes the other day, ‘it was an honest bureaucratic mistake.’ I mean, there’s all kinds of double standards, political dishonesty, duplicity here that make the American public sick of what the political class does.”
In a June 12, 2012 interview with Fox News, LaPierre stated, “You know, I don’t know the facts in this whole Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, and I’ve learned to hold my tongue until I do.” LaPierre was referencing the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by concealed carry permit holder George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012—an event which generated national controversy. LaPierre also spoke about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which the NRA helped to author and promoted aggressively in the state legislature: “But what I do know the facts on, and that’s the Florida law. And there’s a shocking ignorance of the law, what it says in Florida. Or it’s being done for political purposes to seek political advantage. All that law says in Florida is, if you’re in your home, and your glass breaks in the middle of the night, there is a presumption that that person is there to cause you imminent fear of death or bodily harm. If you’re in your car and someone assaults you and tries to pull you out there’s a presumption that that person is there to cause you imminent fear of death or bodily harm. If you are on the street in Florida it is a completely different section of the law. It’s [Florida statute section] 776.012 as opposed to 776.013. And if you’re on the street in Florida, what the law says is if someone assaults you or you’re attacked, you can meet force with force. The law even says ‘not deadly’ in parentheses.” In fact, “Stand Your Ground” expressly allows an individual on the street to meet force with deadly force. The law states, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” LaPierre continued, “But, gosh there’s been so much distortion as to what this law says, with ‘shoot first’ and everything else completely misinforming the American public … I think a lot of it is by some these politicians who want to impose a duty to retreat on the American public, where if your glass breaks in the middle of the night and there’s some criminal coming into your house, they want to impose a duty to retreat on the crime victim with a long complicated checklist rather than do what’s natural at the most terrifying moment of that person’s life when they’re in a state of overwhelming reactive panic which is to protect your life and your family from those who would destroy it. And they want to impose that duty to retreat all over the country and it’s mainly politicians and newspapers…that really don’t want the American public protecting themselves… so they’re willing to distort this to assert their political agenda.” When asked if the request of Sybrina Fulton [Trayvon Martin’s mother] for state lawmakers to amend or review “Stand Your Ground” laws was reasonable, LaPierre responded, “You know it’s a tragedy, and our heart goes out to the family, but have you ever been threatened? I mean you talk to crime victims in the country, and I’m not talking about this case, but you talk to crime victims; it’s the most terrifying moment of their life. They really are in a state of overwhelming reactive panic, instinctively they’ll do anything at that point to save themselves. They’ve done nothing wrong, they’re going about their business and yet someone is trying to destroy their whole life. And the whole idea that you’re gonna twist this Florida case into some national movement to try to impose a duty to retreat on the American public at their most terrifying moment of their life rather than let them protect themself and save themself. And then open the crime victim up to civil lawsuits by a criminal that will bankrupt them is crazy. This duty to retreat may sound fine at an Ivy League cocktail party, it doesn’t work very well in the real world.”
In 1997, Norquist founded Janus-Merritt Strategies, a lobbying firm, along with David Safavian. Safavian was later convicted on felony obstruction of justice charges in relation to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. The Janus-Merritt clientele included:
- Hamas and Hezbollah supporter Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was later convicted for his role in a terrorist plot and sentenced to 23 years in prison. Alamoudi was also an agent of dictator Muamarr Ghaddafi’s Libyan government. Norquist also helped activist Sami Al-Arian—an associate of Alamoudi—obtain meetings with White House officials during the Bush Administration. Al-Arian was later convicted of conspiring to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. Department of State.
- Mortgage lender Fannie Mae, which paid the firm $160,000 in lobbying fees in 2001 (when the 2008 mortgage crisis occurred, Norquist would nonetheless comment, "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac brought us this collapse … This was criminal negligence on the part of [U.S. Representative] Barney Frank and [former U.S. Senator Chris] Dodd.").
- Corrupt foreign rulers, including former president of Gabon Omar Bongo, who was accused of using his country's budget as a personal slush fund; and exiled former president of the Republic of Congo Pascal Lissouba, who has been convicted in absentia of corruption and treason by his home country. Human rights conditions in Gabon were poor during Bongo's 42 year rule, with a United Nations report citing the "limited ability of citizens to change their government; use of excessive force, including torture toward prisoners and detainees; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; an inefficient judiciary susceptible to government influence; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, association, and movement; harassment of refugees; widespread government corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women, persons with HIV/AIDS, and noncitizen Africans; trafficking in persons, particularly children; and forced labor and child labor."
- Corporate clients, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (the owner of Fox News), the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (a former Abramoff client), and oil and gas giant British Petroleum.
During a November 2009 appearance on Fox News, when Norris was asked by host Sean Hannity about running for political office, he responded, “I’d be sitting here with my opponent debating, and then he would start attacking my character. And I’d jump over there and choke him unconscious.” When Hannity told Norris, “You have more control than that,” Norris responded, “I don’t. I don’t. I don’t. That’s the problem, I have a thin skin. And it was really tough in the film world. And believe me, in the political world I’d be killing half the people.” He concluded that the only way to get anything done in Washington would be to “choke out all the Democrats.”
In a June 11, 2007 op-ed for WorldNetDaily, Norris shared a list of changes he would make if he was president, including: “Require Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to personally pay for national, comprehensive medical coverage for every American ... Tattoo an American flag with the words, ‘In God we trust,’ on the forehead of every atheist … [and] Create new immigration legislation: to deport all liberals (then force them to listen to Bill O’ Reilly every day for five years, at which point they may return).”
On June 6, 2012, the Washington Post published an article reporting that Oliver North may have plagiarized a part of his May 18, 2012 Memorial Day op-ed at a Fox News website. In the piece, North claimed that he turned to a “dear friend”—an Army vet and Medal of Honor recipient named Sammy L. Davis—to explain why it is important for veterans to travel to Washington to honor those who died in the Vietnam War. Davis, responded, according to North, by stating, “Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted their best, men who suffered and sacrificed, who were stripped raw, right down to their humanity … I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another.” These words appear verbatim in “These Good Men: Friendships Forged in War,” a 1990 memoir written by Michael Norman, a Vietnam War veteran. Davis told Norman that North never asked him for the comment, and though Davis emailed Norman’s quote to North, he never intended for North to publish it. After a reporter brought the issue to Fox News’ attention, the op-ed was removed and re-posted without the passage. An appended editor’s note was included that mentioned, without explanation, that the paragraphs had been removed and that North had included them “through no fault of his own.” Later, the column was removed from Fox’s website altogether.
In an April 29, 2011 address at the NRA annual convention, North thanked the crowd for “making Fox News number one in America.” In his remarks, he asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president of the United States who respects the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage as something we Americans hold dear?” North also questioned Obama’s credentials on foreign policy, saying, “We need a Commander in Chief who’s unafraid to describe our enemies as who they are. They’re not extremists. They’re radical Islamic terrorists that threaten this country.” Finally, he added, “We need a Commander in Chief who cares more about the troops he leads than his birth certificate.”
In a December 2010 editorial for Fox News in opposition to the potential repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, North wrote: “Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo tried and failed. Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and Ho Chi Minh couldn’t do it. But Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama may well succeed where others could not. If he has his way, he will demolish the finest force for good in the history of mankind—the U.S. Armed Forces.”
North alluded to the potential repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy In a June 2010 opinion piece for Fox News, writing, “The present commander-in-chief has decided to treat the young men and women of our military like lab rats in a radical social-engineering experiment.”
In an April 2011 op-ed published in the Washington Times entitled “America Needs Fox News,” Nugent wrote, “The American public is not nearly as naive or easily manipulated as what the liberal reporters in the newsroom believe. Thanks to the new media and cable news giant Fox News, there is now competition for viewers and readers, and the believability factor at Fox is kicking major butt. ”
On September 10, 2010, the Washington Times published an op-ed written by Nugent entitled “A Salute to Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, et al.” In the piece Nugent praised the entire Fox News team for their “sensible, courageous and reasonable voices.”