John Oliver: NRA TV Is Like ‘A Deranged Letter From A Serial Killer’

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In the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, major companies have found themselves forced to either part ways with or stand by the National Rifle Association. Last Week Tonight host John Oliver opened Sunday’s program with a brief reminder of this when he devoted his deep dive segment to NRA TV. “With all of the discussing this week of boycotting NRA TV, we thought it might be worth answering the question: What the f*ck is that?” Basically, as Oliver goes on to explain, it’s one big infomercial for guns and gun manufacturers that sounds like “a deranged letter from a serial killer.”

That “serial killer” also sells the deal well. From a handful of “Antique Roadshow knock-offs” and cable news-like programming that feels like “Fox News on a much lower budget” to women-centric shows like Armed and Fabulous, the Last Week Tonight research evidently watched a lot of NRA TV programming to prepare for the segment. As a result, Oliver concludes that “the final defining characteristic of the network is painting a bleak vision of America with threats around every single corner and one solution.” He continues:

“To watch NRA TV is to watch a constant stream of stories like those — many of them real, but amplified to terrify you and sell you products. And there may be a good reason that it sounds like an infomercial, because it is. Many of NRA TV’s shows are sponsored by gun brands like Smith & Wesson, and behind the scenes of NRA TV is an ad agency. It’s called Ackerman McQueen. They’ve worked with the NRA for decades.”

Driving the point home, Oliver then quotes from the Ackerman McQueen website, which exclaims, “Every brand must be its own media company.” “That is what the NRA have done with their TV arm,” he notes by way of prominent examples from the streaming outlet, like Dana Loesch. “They’ve got a product to sell, and they employ people who can sell that product well.”

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