Conn. Senator Asks Murdoch, Fox Not To Broadcast NRA-Sponsored NASCAR Race

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Thursday sent a letter to News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, asking the media mogul and his Fox network not to broadcast a National Rifle Association-sponsored NASCAR race this weekend. 

“The race not only brings national attention to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated debate, it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race,” Murphy wrote. “This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming.”

The race is scheduled to be held at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tex. As USA Today reported earlier this month, the track’s president, Eddie Gossage, contemplated nixing the ceremonial shooting by the event’s winner, which occurs at the end of the race, but decided it was a celebratory event that should be continued.

Murphy added in the letter, “Considering your support of sane gun control measures and the extreme nature of the NRA, I urge you to not broadcast this race on April 13th. Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence.”

Below is Murphy’s full letter to Murdoch: 

April 11, 2013

 

Mr. Rupert Murdoch

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

News Corporation

1211 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

 

Dear Mr. Murdoch: 

 

I write today to urge you to not broadcast NASCAR’s NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13th. This race, which is being sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA), is going to take place during the Senate’s consideration of legislation to reduce gun violence. The race not only brings national attention to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated debate, it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race. This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming.

 

The horror that unfolded on December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School has sparked a national conversation about the adequacy of our gun laws. You, News Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Fox News, should contribute and continue to cover this discussion. Given that you have been outspoken in your support of gun reform, it is the height of irony that some would perceive that your company would now essentially endorse the NRA’s extreme position against such laws by broadcasting this event.

 

Shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, you called on policymakers and the President to strengthen our gun laws, asking, “when will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons?” This valid question will be answered when the Senate considers major reforms to our gun laws in early to mid-April. As a senator, I can tell you that many of us possess the courage, and will strongly advocate for sensible gun reforms to take assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off our streets and require all gun purchasers to submit for a background check. 

 

You also challenged President Obama to show bold leadership on this issue after he addressed the nation.  I believe that the President has shown incredible leadership since the tragedy by trying to help our country, my state, and the community of Newtown heal in the wake of this terrible event. I would like to make a similar challenge to you.  You should play a constructive role in our national dialogue by refraining from broadcasting the NRA 500.  By airing this race you will be strengthening the brand of a radical organization that is currently standing in the way of meaningful progress on this issue. Today’s NRA bears little resemblance to the one of its founding. It stokes fear and perpetuates a perverse interpretation of the Second Amendment in order to sell more guns and fuel larger donations from gun manufacturers. After the events of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and so many other senseless tragedies, the NRA continues to say that the only solution to gun violence is more guns. It even disavows common sense measures, like universal background checks for gun purchases – a policy that enjoys the support of 74 percent of its members and that it advocated for in 1999.  

 

Considering your support of sane gun control measures and the extreme nature of the NRA, I urge you to not broadcast this race on April 13th.  Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Christopher S. Murphy

United States Senator

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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