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How Apple and Amazon got into the gun debate: Carrying the NRA's streaming channel




ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Wayne LaPierre,  executive vice president and CEO of the NRA, speaks at the NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention is the largest annual gathering for the NRA's more than 5 million members.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28: Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the NRA, speaks at the NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention is the largest annual gathering for the NRA's more than 5 million members. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

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In the 12 days since the mass shooting at a Florida high school, advocates for gun control have upped their cries for boycotts against the NRA. Now they have a new focus. It’s called NRATV.

The National Rifle Association created its own streaming channel in 2016. The Youtube audience is very small, mostly people watch it on streaming services from Amazon, Apple, Roku and Chromecast. Bloomberg entertainment reporter Lucas Shaw tells The Frame's John Horn that NRATV is one of many free apps available on streaming devices.

NRATV positions itself as one of dozens of different news or entertainment channels that you can watch alongside your Netflix and Hulu. And also way more niche offerings like things offering anime or Court TV or C-SPAN. 

The programming on NRATV is a range of news segments and docuseries. One show is called "Love At First Shot," it's hosted by two women and is sponsored by the gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson.

In the wake of the Florida shooting, gun control advocates have put petitions online calling for Amazon and Apple to drop NRATV, just as major companies like United Airlines and National Car Rental are cutting their ties to the NRA. 

But is this a violation of free speech? Would it be bad business for the streamers? John Horn and Lucas Shaw discuss.

Interview Highlights 

On whether gun control advocates could convince Amazon and Apple to drop NRATV:

I think the challenge that they're going to have with this is one, not having a financial transaction taking place between the NRA and Amazon and Apple. Also, it amounts to calling for censorship of a media or entertainment network and that would set a very dangerous precedent even if you don't agree with the NRA and its views, saying that it shouldn't be able to get them out there is a troubling claim in the United States. 

On what Amazon and Apple need to consider when looking at NRATV:

My guess is that they would be a little bit concerned. Especially if you're Apple and Amazon that sell phones and sell goods to just about everyone, huge swaths of their customer base are gun owners. And so they're going to have to decide whether its worth pissing them off in order to satisfy this other school of thought. What them taking the NRA off of an Apple TV or Amazon would be as if a Pay-TV provider decided they didn't want to offer certain cable channels because its character beliefs didn't align with theirs.

On what is likely to happen next:

My guess would be that there'll be more outcry trying to get them to take this channel off, that Apple, Amazon, and Roku will resist it unless people can point to certain videos or commentary on NRATV that does violate their content guidelines and terms of service. We see this with websites like Youtube or Facebook a lot, where they host videos that people don't like but they're only going to take it down if they can point to something in their guidelines that is violated. Because otherwise they will have lots of different channel owners or users that are concerned that they don't have the same set of rights they thought they had. 

 



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