Publicity Is Not A Promise
by John M. Buol Jr.
The notion of an “anti-gun media” is a lie. Outside of a small group of reporters, journalists and editors that let their personal opinions over step their impartiality, most media people, like most Americans, don’t have a strong enough opinion to do anything about the issue one way or another. There is no grand cabal of media magnates plotting the downfall of the gun industry in hidden, smoke-filled rooms. The “anti-gun media” is an invention of pro-gun lobbyists used as an excuse for why shooting sports fail to make mainstream media and, sometimes, as a boogeyman to scare people into giving money to political and lobby group fundraisers.
Garnering publicity and earning media coverage is a long row to hoe for every organization. Outside your circle of colleagues, friends and other like-minded folks, nobody cares about your interest in firearms and shooting. Trying to convince an editor or publisher in print, broadcast or online media to pay attention requires hosting an on-going series of regular, interesting events and continuous promotion. It is a process of years with no guarantee of success.
No gun or hunting organization today is doing this effectively which is the main reason why pro gun publicity is so sparse. Looking at the NRA’s own numbers, only two percent of the membership participate in NRA sanctioned or registered events. If 98% of card-carrying NRA members ignore NRA shooting events, why should we expect anyone in the media to care about them?
“Oh, but we can’t blame ourselves! It’s not our fault that we fail to host interesting events and consistently promote them. No, we’re victims of the “anti-gun media” that have a liberal agenda to censor us.”
Hogwash! Take off your tin foil hat, Sparky. This is a problem for everyone. Check out this story:
Rotary District 5840 (rotary5840.org) here in Texas held a fundraiser billed as the “Million Dollar Dinner.” They exceeded their goal and raised $1,070,000 for the Rotary Foundation Permanent Fund, which is used for literacy programs and Polio eradication. Chairman of the District Rotary Foundation Committee Doug Whinnery and 5840 District Governor Sherri Muniz presented a $1.07 Million check to Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee at the District’s Million Dollar Dinner in San Antonio. The money raised goes to the Permanent Fund of the Rotary Foundation, ensuring the work of the Foundation can continue in the future.
A week later at a Rotary meeting one of the event organizers mentioned having problems with uncooperative local reporters to cover the event. He noted it was hard to get coverage during sweeps for something not directly impacting the local community.
They raised and gave away over $1 Million and still couldn’t land a story. When was the last time your shooting club or gun shop raised and gave away a million bucks?
So, following the rhetoric of pro-gun lobby groups, the media must also be “anti-Rotary” and “anti-charity.” Or, maybe, publicity is not a promise. It is a long, imperfect effort fraught with difficulties. No single event can be expected to catch everyone’s attention.