Confession: we’re glad that our Christmas vacation started right before the NRA’s now-infamous December 21 press conference addressing the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. While thousands of passionate NRA supporters undoubtedly agreed with everything said that day, quite a few PR pros called it a “total disaster” and suggested that spokesman Wayne LaPierre probably should have stayed quiet.
The general idea conveyed at the event: guns and their makers aren’t to blame for gun violence. The real bad guys are “the media”, those ninnies who think elementary schools should be “gun-free zones” and, of course, the makers of “vicious, violent” video games.
We know you’ll be absolutely shocked by the latest revelation in this twisted story, but subsequent research reveals that the NRA has a very…complicated relationship with the companies that make millions on first-person “shooter” games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor–and that these game makers have long nurtured a “mutually beneficial marketing relationship” with the very industry represented by the NRA.
We never would have guessed…
Many of the NRA’s official corporate sponsors, including manufacturers like Glock, Browning and Remington, partner with companies like Electronic Arts to assure that the weapons appearing in such best-sellers as Medal of Honor: Warfighter are their own models. It’s called product placement, and when your target audience closely resembles the prime gamer demographic, the relationship is an obvious win-win. In fact, a promo campaign for the new EA game included links to a site selling the guns depicted in the game.
Also of note: While psychopaths like Norwegian mass murderer report using games like Call of Duty to become more efficient killers, the U.S. military also uses such games to train soldiers–and to help recruit new ones.
We don’t know how wise the NRA was to try and shift blame onto video games, but the implication that gun manufacturers and advocacy groups represent “responsible” shooters while big companies like Electronic Arts encourage murderous, psychopathic behavior looks especially ridiculous now.