NRA Radio Gets Sirius

Cam Edwards has announced this his radio talk show, sponsored by the NRA, will be available on Sirius Satellite Radio starting tomorrow.

NYT – Gun Group’s Radio Show Tests Limits on Advocacy [RSS]

In a direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy, the National Rifle Association plans to begin broadcasting a daily radio program on Thursday to provide news and pro-gun commentary to 400,000 listeners.

The group says its jump into broadcasting with its program, “NRANews,” means that it should be viewed as a media organization that does not have to abide by provisions of a sweeping campaign finance law from 2002. That law stops organizations from using unregulated “soft” money to buy political advertising that directly attacks or praises federal candidates in the weeks before federal elections and primaries.

The N.R.A. says its three-hour program constitutes news and commentary, not advertising. As a result, when other advocacy groups are required to stop running political commercials, “NRANews” intends to continue broadcasting its reporting and commentary against politicians who favor gun control to Nov. 2.

“The great thing about America is there is no test about the right to provide information to the American public,” the executive vice president of the association, Wayne LaPierre, said in an interview this week. “There is no government licensing of journalists. Tom Paine was free to pamphlet. So are we.”

I actually think this is perfectly legitimate–indeed, much more so than groups like MoveOn.org and the George Soros machine–in that it actually is actual issue advocacy and not simply a ploy to get around advertising restrictions. Both should be legal under the First Amendment. They also demonstrate, yet again, that the desire to engage in free speech will overcome the most carefully crafted laws within months. Legislatures simply can’t keep up with creative Americans trying to get candidates they agree with elected to office. Perhaps they should quit trying.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.