Talk:National Rifle Association
PR Strategy: Starting Fires
"The NRA approached PR, particularly media relations, from a substantially different perspective than most organizations," explains Bill Powers, EVP of The Mercury Group and former public affairs director for the NRA," reported PR Week in a September 2005 profile of the organization. Powers told PR Week, "They've become so successful at managing controversy to the benefit of the organization. ... When I worked there, I used to say my job isn't to put out fires; it's to help start them."
One example of the NRA's courting controversy is their launching a national boycott against ConocoPhillips in July 2005, because the oil company is "trying to overturn an Oklahoma law that allows employees to keep guns in their cars when parked in company-owned lots." Another is their moving the location of their 2007 national conference from Columbus, Ohio to St. Louis, Missouri, after Columbus passed an assault weapons ban.
NRA public affairs director Andrew Arulanandam told PR Week that his group "was tasked with monitoring media outlets that were spreading 'misinformation'" about a bill before the U.S. Senate in the summer of 2005, that would "grant some immunity to gun makers and sellers" from lawsuits. "Basically, everyone was stating that this is a de facto blanket immunity bill," said Arulanandam. "We had to be aggressive, and if any reporters said that, we would call the reporters and give them the facts, and e-mail them the pertinent section in the legislation that basically refutes that."