Publicity Is Not A Promise

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.

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11 Responses to “Publicity Is Not A Promise”

  1. Hugo du Coudray Says:

    John,

    Had to write to congratulate you on your editorial in the current issue. It’s the most intelligent and sensible piece i’ve seen in the gun press for years, if not decades.

    Over the past 30-some years, we have become so trapped in a paranoid view that we can’t see past our own often overblown assumptions. You gave a vivid example of how false attribution can prevent effective solutions of a problem. It was nothing less than refreshing reality, standing above confusion with a bird’s eye view. Many thanks. Ignore the attacks that may come your way.

    Some will always want to cling to favorite delusions. You are pointing the way to actual effectiveness. That beats moping and complaining any day. Good smithing.

    • John M. Buol Jr. Says:

      Thanks! I wasn’t sure how that would be received. So far, I haven’t had any negative comments.

      My intent wasn’t to anger or cast blame, rather, to point out that gun owners can do things to better promote activities and that other organizations sometimes suffer from a lack of positive publicity as well. In promoting shooting events I’ve found a number of media outlets that were more than happy to grant a little coverage. There are some members of the media that may not like gun-related activities but they are not all our enemies

      I’ll be writing more about this in the future.

  2. Glenn Garrett Says:

    John: Wake up, you’re comparing apples to oranges. It’s not media coverage of guns and events that is the real threat. It’s the legislation being passed to gut the 2nd. Amendment. Of course no public or private range could possibly raise 1 million dollars. Even if they did it isn’t news relative to the core issue. We’ve got to challenge every gun move in the courts and that is why I support the NRA-ILA and am a life member. Glenn G.

    • John M. Buol Jr. Says:

      >> It’s not media coverage of guns and events that is the real threat. It’s the legislation being passed to gut the 2nd. Amendment.

      Legislation which gets proposed and is considered due to a negative perception of guns and gun owners. The statistics are in our favor, as has been covered here:
      https://americangunsmith.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/hunting-is-safe/

      Automobile-related injuries are significantly greater than any gun-related activity but people don’t view cars as excessively dangerous.

      >> We’ve got to challenge every gun move in the courts…

      A process that could be made easier if the general public perception matched the reality of compiled data. What part of my editorial suggests we shouldn’t continue to support our rights in court or elsewhere?

      I’m a NRA life member too. We can continue the political and legislative struggle and enhance it by better promoting positive shooting activity. It doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition.

      • Phil Says:

        Whose coolaid have you been drinking? The legislation has nothing to do with a negative perception. If the only thing you can reference is another American Gunsmith article, then you need to expand your reading selection. Do you think that the Clinton Administration’s restrictions on the sale of assault type weapons, was part of an economic strategy to increase the market value of flintlocks? The individuals who voted and supported that law are still in office, especially with this administration! You seem to have spent too much time at lathe. If you think our 2nd Amendment rights are comparable to a Rotary Club fundraiser, you need to go back to school.

        You need to read up on our neighbors across the ocean. Great Britain gun enthusiasts must have thought the same thing you did, until they were forced to turn their guns over to the government for destruction. If people think like you do and just say it is nothing more than bad publicity, I could easily believe that they have their head stuck in the sand (or somewhere else). Pull your head out!

      • John M. Buol Jr. Says:

        I’ll ask again. What part of my editorial or comments suggests we shouldn’t continue to support our gun rights in court and through legislation?

        Improving public perception of gun owners by actively promoting positive things about guns and shooting to the general media and public will help the cause. Better publicity can be done in addition to continued work on the legal front.

  3. Phil Says:

    Both of your responses answered your question…it is not what you said but what you didn’t say that is at issue. A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans think abortion is wrong. The public perception of abortion has changed, but that doesn’t revoke Roe vs Wade. The public perception of ObamaCare is highly negative, yet it was still passed into law and without federal court intervention will go into effect. Unfortunately, public perception has little to do with what happens in this country. We are a rich (compared to the rest of the world) and spoiled nation. We want what is convenient, not what is right. That sir, is not a perception issue…it is a lifestyle issue. Sure you can burn resources in trying to change public perception, but public perception changes directions as fast as the wind does in America. I would prefer my money going to preserve what we have constitutionally and let public perception do whatever it is going to do.

    • John M. Buol Jr. Says:

      >> it is not what you said but what you didn’t say that is at issue.

      I’ll leave this alone……

      >> A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans think abortion is wrong.

      Which poll? I don’t follow this issue closely so I typed “abortion poll” into Google. The first link was to Gallup Poll data: http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm

      According to their poll Abortion and Birth Control taken May 3-6 2012, they asked “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?”

      According to the results they posted, 25% responded abortions should “always be legal”, 52% for “sometimes legal” and 20% “always illegal” with 3% unsure. Also, according to this Gallup Poll data, respondents identifying themselves as “pro-life” has varied from 41% to 51% from 2001 to 2012 with it being 50% during their most recent poll.

      I don’t know what most Americans actually think about the issue but this particular poll doesn’t indicate that “a majority of Americans think abortion is wrong.” Your preferred poll indicated a different result. Send your rebuttal on this to the Gallup Poll people, not here.

      Just so we’re clear, this has nothing to do with any personal feelings on the issue as it is WAY off topic. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the Gallup Poll results, just showing an example of one poll.

      >> I would prefer my money going to preserve what we have constitutionally…

      It costs little to no money to increase publicity.

  4. John M. Buol Jr. Says:

    I was hoping this editorial would bring examples from American Gunsmith readers who had garnered positive publicity for their shop or range. One example is from author Dominick Pisano (domscustomrifles.com), posted here:

    americangunsmith.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/unique-marketing/

    • Phil Says:

      LOL!!! I can play that game…

      >>>>>”I was hoping this editorial would bring examples from American Gunsmith readers who had >>>>>garnered positive publicity for their shop or range.”

      Where did you mention that or ask that in your original article, Sparky?

      >>>>>>”Thanks! I wasn’t sure how that would be received. So far, I haven’t had any negative comments..”

      Hmmm….must have had some doubt of the subject matter…this is what triggered me.

      You unfortunately wish to present your material in abstract, but when someone responds negatively in abstract, you have to point out the abstract and then reply with quotes??? You need to stand up, “Take off your tin foil hat”, this seems to be going over your head.

      A Gunsmith’s client base are gun owners. His reputation only matters to gun owners. Anyone else’s perception of guns or gun owners really has no impact to the gunsmith. As long as there are guns and gun owners, there is a need for good gunsmiths. Now if there are no guns or gun owners, there is no need for gunsmithing services. Everyone in town might perceive him as the best at his job, they may love guns and gun owners, but their perception means nothing if there are no guns. You presented public perception of equal importance as the time and energy spent on protecting our constitutional rights. Your intent means nothing, because you didn’t address or clarify your intent in the original article. Your written words are all that matters when it is published.

      Then you reply with lame comments and questions like “What part of my editorial or comments suggests we shouldn’t continue to support our gun rights in court and through legislation?” Here is a good one…

      >>>>>>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.”

      ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Where did that quote come from?? Oh, that didn’t come from anyone…that is all yours. You got any facts to back that one up???? Of course not…

      >>>It costs little to no money to increase publicity.

      Excuse me, publicity is one thing but changing public perception is completely another. Your article was about changing public perception, not publicity. Changing perception is very expensive with little reward, which I commented to previously and you so graciously chose to ignore.

      The real problem here is your perception of what you wrote. You wanted to write something edgy and failed. But don’t let it worry you any, you can always just fall back to “I’ll leave this alone…”. It seems to work for you.

      • John M. Buol Jr. Says:

        >> Where did you mention that or ask that in your original article, Sparky?

        By pointing out that gun people “fail to host interesting events and consistently promote them” and hoping for examples to counter that. You are right, I should have asked directly and I apologize for not doing so.

        >> must have had some doubt of the subject matter.

        No, but I wasn’t sure how it would be received. There isn’t a cabal of media magnates censoring positive gun stories in the general media as the lack of positive publicity about guns and shooters is due to firearm organizations and shooters failing to create and promote them.

        Good gun publicity is not being censored by the “anti-gun media” as it is rarely created and promoted.

        >> You presented public perception of equal importance as the time and energy spent on protecting our constitutional rights.

        An elected official and a constituency that perceive guns and shooters as bad will be hard to convince to support pro gun legislation. With little to no positive publicity to counter that perception it will be more difficult to change things for our side.

        >> >> The “anti-gun media” is an invention of pro-gun lobbyists used as an excuse for why shooting sports fail to make mainstream media……
        >> You got any facts to back that one up?

        There isn’t a secret cabal of media magnates censoring positive gun stories. The lack of positive publicity about guns and shooters is due to the lack of positive publicity being created, not from censorship.

        I once had a fellow on the BoD for a shooting range assert that positive gun publicity was impossible because the newspaper editors in his state had a “media blackout” (his words) against pro gun activity. I contacted these same editors and found they would gladly publish news about shooting events, just send ’em in. When presenting him this response and the contact info he maintained that the “anti-gun media” would still censor him so he refused to bother.

        Depressingly, I’ve found a large number of gun owners with a similar opinion, convinced that positive publicity is doomed because the “anti-gun media” will censor them. They’ve never actually been censored, they’re just convinced they will be.

        >> Your article was about changing public perception, not publicity.

        Good publicity attempts to change public perception but can’t do this if it’s never created.


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