Don't air NRA race, senator asks Rupert Murdoch
April 11th, 2013
07:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Don't air NRA race, senator asks Rupert Murdoch

(CNN) - The National Rifle Association-sponsored NASCAR race slated for this weekend is "inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, wrote to the race's broadcaster on Thursday.

"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 to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, which owns the Fox network where the race will be broadcast.

In March, the Texas Motor Speedway announced the NRA had sponsored the NASCAR Sprint Cup event on April 13, which marked the first time the gun owners group has sponsored a race in NASCAR's top series.

Last year, the organization sponsored a Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The April race had been promoted as the Texas 500 after the track's deal with Samsung ended last year.

The winners of races at the track are often given two revolvers and a cowboy hat while taking photographs in victory lane. The fastest qualifier is awarded a shotgun.

In his letter to Murdoch, Murphy cited the News Corp. boss' past support for tighter gun control laws in the United States, including a message Murdoch posted on Twitter shortly after the December Newtown shooting.

"Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?" Murdoch wrote.

"I would like to make a similar challenge to you," Murphy told the media mogul in his letter Thursday. "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."

Fox Sports remains under contract with NASCAR to broadcast certain Sprint Cup races.

CNN's Steve Almasy contributed to this report.


Filed under: NRA
soundoff (708 Responses)
  1. johnnyDH

    He has a first amendment right to make this request. Rupert has a first amendment right to tell him where to shove it.

    April 12, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. boarddog

    So now our government wants to use a sporting event to further a political position. Great...

    April 12, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. OldSoldier

    So, now if you have opposing views to the Democratic party's way of thinking you are branded as "a Radical Organization"..........really!

    April 12, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Sniffit

    This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. A REQUEST from a Senator is not "state action." The NRA is free to engage in the idiotic display of people competing to see who can drive in a circle the fastest AND people, even a Senator, is free to criticize it or even ask/demand that those who were planning to air it voluntarily cancel the broadcast. Freedom of speech is not implicated unless and until there is official legislative, regulatory, enforcement, judicial or other action that seeks to restrain the speech in question, in this case broadcasting people mindlessly driving in circles.

    April 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. Matt

    All smoke and mirrors

    This is the "CHANGE" WE were warned about! Tastes like socialism to me! The New World Order....
    -----–

    That's only because you're an American and as such have ABSOLUTELY no idea what the word "socialism" means.

    April 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Rachel

    So much for the so called party of tolerance. Senator Murphy is a loon.

    April 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. jac999

    Well then, NOT airing the program would strengthen the positions of both First and Second Amendment advocates. Actually just the suggestion and ensuing discussion have already done so.

    April 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. rockot

    Another Senator that needs a lesson on democracy?

    I am not a member of the NRA, and I don't own a gun, and I'm a pacifist. But let me tell you something Senator – the NRA advocates for their take on the constitution, which is about as protected speech as will ever exist.

    You may, for political reasons, associate the NRA with crime, but they are not a pro-crime organization, you have to be able to disassociate your feelings and political jibes and understand it is a direct attack on democracy when a Senator wants to stifle speech of a political or social nature.

    Shame on you. Absolutely disgusting.

    April 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. texasnotea

    While the NRA is certainly not responsible for the Newtown killings , they are complicit in protecting those who perpetrate these kinds of actions. For the NRA to defend them by not supporting background checks and the elimination of high capacity clips is why the NRA is wrong on this. The conspiracy theory that these measures will lead to gun confiscation is of course not true and by opposing these minor rule changes, the NRA is protecting those who could and would commit these crimes. Not to mention the way they are going about it by demonizing anyone who opposes them !

    April 12, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. Sniffit

    This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Nothing whatsoever. A REQUEST from a Senator is not "state action." The NRA is free to engage in the idiotic display of people competing to see who can drive in a circle the fastest AND people, even a Senator, is free to criticize it or even ask/demand that those who were planning to air it voluntarily cancel the broadcast. Freedom of speech is not implicated unless and until there is official legislative, regulatory, enforcement, judicial or other state action that seeks to restrain the speech in question.

    April 12, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. JWHARGIS

    Its a race, its entertainment, the Senator needs to go take bribes from a lobby and leave Americans to enjoy what little freedom we have left.

    April 12, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. No johnnyDH

    Actually, Murphy is an elected official and a representative of the government. His voice is that of the government. He does not have that right. When he is no longer in a government position, then he absolutely does.

    April 12, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Tommy

    Doesn't matter whether it is a request from a Senator or a demand from a Senator, it is still politicizing the event. What's next, asking that the Ginsu Knife commercials be taken off the air because of the stabbings in Texas. We need to start dealing with the real problem. The people.

    April 12, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. marjee123

    What a lot of people don't understand is some of the money we give to the military, the AirFoce for instance a million dollars of that money goes to the NASCAR race. So if the military needs so much money why are they giving this sport's event a million dollars. People are complaining about "the government" interfering cause they don't believe NRA should sponsor the NASCAR, well how come desperatly needed money for the military as the republicans rant and moan and jump up and down about GOES TO THIS RACE. Wouldn't that money be put to a better use.

    April 12, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Chantal

    I think all you liberal bloodsuckers need to shut up and MOVE ON! I think its a great idea! NRA all the way!

    April 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. NOT FREE

    This country is so done. Land of the Free-Used-to-Be.

    April 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  17. Mack

    It amazes me at the ignorance of some of these people posting and their willingness to follow the Pied Piper in whatever is espoused as truth. Their lack of knowledge of the fall of Empires in the past and what led up to their demise is ridiculous, and most will not know what I am referring to.
    What idiot in his right mind would think that anyone would stage an event to mock the families of the Newtown children or any other massacre. God help these people as someone needs to.

    April 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  18. All smoke and mirrors

    What about the 20,000 full auto machine guns "STOLEN" from a secure Kuwait storage facility ????? And all the ammo that was with it??? No questions asked??? No answers need be given to us peasants....

    April 12, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Rsigley

    Are we permananetly going to be in wake of Newtown. Not trying to be cold, but at some point people need to stop using those victims.

    April 12, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  20. Marc

    Air the race and allow people to censor themselves. If I needed a Babysitter, I'd hire one who looks good naked.

    April 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Bryan

    Our Goverment is crap and needs to stop worring about the small crap and start actually doing there jobs to fix our budget.

    April 12, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. kirkintexas

    There is a reason the NRA chose Texas to host the NRA 500. If you don't want to watch it, change the channel!

    April 12, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Matt

    Things like the NRA happen when every moron is given the same power as every genius. Want to fix this country? Here's how:
    Step #1: Limit the right to vote to people of a certain IQ level.
    Step #2: You're done.

    April 12, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -NOT FREE

    This country is so done. Land of the Free-Used-to-Be.
    *******************
    Yep. We need to be able to massacre our neighbors again. Boy, I miss the good ole days when I could pick them off as they walked their dogs.

    April 12, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. tOM lEGARE

    The NRA is a radical organization now. It never used to be and that's a shame. They care more about selling guns for the big gun manufacturers than they do about sporting and hunting. Too bad the NRA used to be a sensible first class operation. I SAID USED TO BE!!

    April 12, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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