NRA Just Played (True, Correct) Race Card On Itself, So That Is DELIGHTFUL
NRATV racist and vile? The hell you say! Yesterday, the Daily Beast was first to get its hands on the latest filing in the NRA's trench war legal battle with its longtime advertiser Ackerman McQueen (AMc). Apparently, many people inside the NRA were shocked, shocked that AMc would use incendiary rhetoric to support the holy Second Amendment, and found some of the programming downright "distasteful and racist." Wow, NRA board members are just like us! Well, not exactly.
Those upright churchgoers were appalled at Dana Loesch's Thomas the Tank Engine Klan Hood stunt. Just, you know, not enough to actually pull the plug on the network. Or make any public statement distancing themselves from it. Or insist that the segment be taken offline. Or do anything at all, actually. But trust them, they were shaken to their hollow point cores!
Sometimes when a long-married couple splits and all their dirty, secret business starts coming out, friends will wonder how they ever stayed together so long. Watching the NRA wrench itself apart from AMc in a volcanic explosion of litigation and spiteful leaks is kind of like that. Only these people aren't your friends, they're the bastards that made millions of dollars ensuring that your kindergartener has mandatory active shooter drills to protect the God-given right of all Americans to walk around with giant death sticks strapped our hips. So, actually, you love to see it.
In this latest salvo, the NRA and its CEO Wayne LaPierre are suing AMc for allegedly lying about the engagement metrics for NRATV. Hard as it may be to believe, no one watched that shit. Which your Editrix figured out in 10 minutes by looking at the numbers on the YouTubes. But apparently no one at the NRA is capable of that kind of high-caliber research, so they just took AMc's word for it that every viewer is a unique snowflake in the eyes of heaven, no matter how many times he visits the site.
Here, let the NRA's lawyers explain INTERNET to you:
Of course, viewership is the raison d'etre of digital advertising and content creation. By creating attention-catching content, digital creators and their marketing firms aim to develop a base of loyal viewers who will eventually support the organizations who create it. This, in turn, attracts advertisers and sponsors for the programming or other digital content, which pay based on the number of unique "eyeballs" or "click-throughs" provided by the content. As digital marketing has become increasingly important for businesses and non-profits alike, an entire industry has arisen which collects, aggregates, analyzes, and presents viewership data. That data— which can be so granular as to identify distinct individual viewers of digital media—can provide valuable insight to organizations seeking to develop their brand and win the loyalty of the viewing public. However, due to content creators' heavy reliance on these digital metrics, inaccuracies can be consequential and damning.
Ohhhhhh, is that how it works?
Hard to see how such savvy digital consumers as the NRA fell for those "glossy, confidential PowerPoint presentations—which [AMc] would display for the NRA during meetings but would refuse to provide 'in writing.'" (Don't ask us why "in writing" is in quotes -- these people punctuate like they keep their books. There are no rules!)
At the meeting, Defendants touted a proprietary "AM Conservative Approach" formula, which it insisted provided a conservative estimate of the Earned Media Value (EMV) generated by NRATV in excess of $13 million. Adopting a separate, less-conservative formula, Defendants represented that NRATV should actually be valued at $45 million annually, a figure justified by citing "total views" of NRATV content.
Gee, that seems low for a site that had a whopping 49,000 unique visitors in January.
What we meant to say, actually, was HAHAHA, SUCKERS! You forked over $40 million a year, and no one was even watching!
The rest of the complaint was the same old whining and sniping we've been watching for months, claiming that AMc is conspiring a putsch against LaPierre because he asked to see the books.
When the NRA's CEO, Wayne LaPierre, threw his weight behind efforts to gain transparency into AMc's business practices, the agency tried to oust him from the NRA in a desperate final salvo. That scheme failed. AMc now faces a long-overdue reckoning.
There's the obligatory shouting that dastardly AMc forced poor, naive Wayne to buy all those clothes, and charter flights, and fancy hotel rooms, and hair and makeup services, and a $3,000/month apartment for the intern. And the 10,000-square-foot fake French chateau on a golf course outside Dallas. (Okay, that purchase fell through.)
Based on AMc's advice, and subject to billing procedures AMc recommended and established, Mr. LaPierre, over a fifteen-year period, incurred wardrobe and related expenses for countless television appearances, filming of commercials, and other outward-facing brand-development activities. The majority of those activities were specifically directed, choreographed and produced by AMc. As such, expenses were initiated at AMc's direction and records relating thereto were to be maintained by AMc.
See, the problem wasn't the NRA keeping all that luxury spending off its books by laundering it through AMc. The problem was AMc's failure to keep good records. You bet!
The filing is filled with deliciously vituperative sniping, like "Infected by a bizarre sense of entitlement, by 2018, the leadership of AMc seemed to believe that it was 'entitled' to an unfettered flow of tens of millions of dollars from the NRA." (Who are they quoting? Do they think those marks are bullets?)
We've never seen a legal pleading where an attorney treats the bog standard practice of using multiple LLCs as doing business under an "assumed name."
Winkler is affiliated with business entities located in this District, including DJ Investments LLC, which operates in this District under the assumed name of 3905 Amherst Ave UPT, LLC.
And don't forget, the NRA's lawyer William Brewer is suing his own family here -- AMC was founded by his late father-in-law Angus McQueen, and is now run by his brother-in-law Revan McQueen. So, Thanksgiving at their house must be delightful!
The complaint ends with a demand for $40 million dollars and an insistence that AMc take all the work it ever did for the NRA off its website. Which, judging by the five pages of screenshots attached, is a painful reminder of just how much they paid for stuff that looks just like your average gallery of stock photos.
These people haaaaaaaaate each other. And we loooooooooove it.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.