The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it, fueled by the media frenzy, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby group under pressure from a boycott movement following a Feb. 14 high school shooting.
Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United airlines on Saturday morning might look trivial: The end of flight discounts to the NRA’s annual convention, which few outside the gun rights organization likely knew existed before they became boycott targets.
But in abandoning the NRA, the airlines followed car rental giants Avis, Hertz and Enterprise, the Best Western hotel chain, the global insurance company MetLife, and more than a dozen other corporations that have severed affiliations with the gun group in the last two days.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the NRA accused companies of “a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.”
“Let it be absolutely clear,” the NRA’s statement said. “The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.”
While it’s unclear what effect the corporate snubs will have on the NRA, they have given the nascent BoycottNRA (I don’t use those silly hashtags) a string of rapid, prominent victories and exposed vulnerabilities in a gun rights lobby that had seemed untouchable before 17 people — most of them students — were gunned down last week at Parkland, Fla.
The NRA claims 5 million members and takes in tens of millions of dollars each year through supporters, which it uses to fight gun regulations in the name of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms.
As calls for gun control have spread, the NRA has increasingly become a target of activists, with social media hashtags urging boycotts of any corporation found to be linked with it.
Delta and United are the latest to submit to the pressure.
Pressure campaigns have become a favorite tool of liberal groups during Trump’s presidency — from early efforts to boycott Trump-branded products to a Twitter campaign that identified and exposed people seen marching at a far-right protest in Charlottesville this past summer. Social media and Internet companies began to ban far-right personalities from their sites after that rally turned violent.
So far, for all the companies that have signed on, the NRA boycotts have managed only to wipe out a few peripheral perks for the group’s members. But if the movement keeps spreading, there are signs it could threaten the financial and political cornerstones of the gun lobby. Still, the long-term effects are unknown.
These days, fueled by the media, it seems the PC thing to do is “protest” something, or someone with a fancy hashtag.
Crying white mothers add to the media frenzy. Its an excellent ratings bonanza.