Daily Caller's new 'Guns and Gear' section is a giant NRA ad

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This morning the Daily Caller launched a new section, Guns and Gear, supposedly because millions of gun-owning Americans "are currently without the sort of daily news coverage that is allotted to most other American interests," publisher and CEO Neil Patel says in the announcement. “Most of the media would never consider publishing a guns and gear section because they are hopelessly out of touch with American values and interests," he adds. "This is a sad statement about the media. Its great news for The Daily Caller."

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But Guns and Gear is not, for the most part, news from the Daily Caller. Of the 49 stories in the section, only six were written by staffers. The rest, with the exception of a post from The Unknown Soldiers blog, are by the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action or one of several NRA publications: American Hunter, American Rifleman, and Shooting Illustrated. Same goes for the ads, which, at least when I visited the section, were for NRA gear, an NRA TV show, NRA magazines, and a subscription e-newsletter by NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox, whose article against the gun-ban lobby happens to lead the Guns and Gear section as I write this. (Oddly, the story currently atop the Caller's homepage, "The favorite guns of the Republicans running for president," does not appear anywhere in Guns and Gear.)

The way the Caller spins the section's launch, you'd think they were performing some of kind public service. We're feeding a nation that's starved for gun news! But instead, it seems they've created a low-overhead section that, so long as it keeps aggregating NRA content, is assured ad buys.

"We've had the section for 13 hours," Caller founder (and lifelong hunter) Tucker Carlson told me, when asked about the dearth of original content in the section. "The NRA produces a lot firearms-related content, so I imagine we’ll always have a lot of content from them.... Ideally, all of the content on the site would be, and will be, staff written.”

Guns and Gear is not, he assured me, a special advertising section. "It may be, right now from Northern Virginia, you're only getting NRA ads,” he said. "If the question is, 'Is this sponsored in perpetuity by one organization?,' the answer is no. It's a news section that's populated by news content, and you can judge that yourself by reading it." He added, "I can think of a whole bunch of advertisers who will be advertising in the section.”

And to those who might have political objections to a news site launching a gun section, Carlson has this to say: "Shit, the Huffington Post has a Transgender page. I don't begrudge their right — I'm not complaining about it — but why shouldn't every interest be represented?”

If nothing else, maybe this new section will help Emily Miller finally choose between these seven handguns, rather than letting Washington Times readers decide for her. That would be a public service indeed.

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