I remember when

Back in the 1990’s the NRA couldn’t pay to get ads in many major publications. The ads would not be accepted even when offering to pay above the existing ad rates (and most ads are discounted from the published rates). Just like a black person trying to eat a meal at a whites only restaurant in the deep south fifty years ago–their money wasn’t any good with the bigots in control.

New York, with it’s extremely repressive gun laws, is the home of much of the U.S. print media and hence management had an inherent bias against gun ownership. But it appears times are changing:

I wonder how much of it is because the print media is a lot hungrier now or if it is because of the Heller decision and the fact that guns are more accepted now.


11 thoughts on “I remember when

  1. I hate to be the cynic, but I think it’s the desperation for advertising dollars. I just don’t think that the editors at Maxim are paying close attention to the legal world at all. It would be nice if they did take such cues, but I tend to believe the dollar is more important to them.

  2. “Money talks and all.”

    That’s an excellent segue– it shows how the market overcomes social boundaries. Joe’s example of a whites-only restaurant is a good example. Left entirely to the market, with law enforcement doing its job punishing the imitators of force (that’s key, and only occasionally reliable) someone, black or white, could set up a restaurant across the street from the whites only establishment and make bank welcoming all comers. Eventually, the whites only advocates would have to choose between their exclusionary practices and going out of business. Either way, the blacks have a nice place to eat. You set up a well-run soul food joint, for example, with good entertainment, etc., and some of the not so stick-up-their-asses whites will start going there.

    Long story short; exclusionary practices, or attempts at creating a monopoly, create a built-in market niche that attracts capital to that niche. The pre requisite of course is law and order, or more simply, protection of property rights and the right to free association, i.e. a capitalist society. It’s when government steps in, playing favorites with subsidies or creating barriers to entry into a particular market and imposing restrictions, that this model breaks down all to hell. And that, I submit, is the intent.

  3. Since I worked in newspaper advertising for a lot of years, I feel qualified to comment on this post.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, most newspapers would not accept gun advertising except for shotguns, rifles, antique guns and that kind of thing. No handguns. Advertising coming from stores that sell these items is considered RETAIL advertising and it got a greatly discounted rate. Newspapers took gun advertising but it usually needed to be approved if it got outside the “hunting guns/antique guns” range.

    The NRA is not a local retailer. It’s a national political organization and would be allowed to advertise but at the political rate. At the LA Times, in 1990, a full page ad from the NRA run for one day would have cost $100,000+. You might argue that they are not a political organization but the problem is that they would NEVER qualify for a retail rate because they are not advertising only to local customers. They would always get the national rate card and the price for them to run ads would have been over $100,000 for one full page for one day.

    I don’t know what kind of advertisements the NRA was submitting. What I will say is that there were a lot of national advertisers who decided they could not afford to advertise in the LA Times or the NY Times for the same reason: cost. (The NYT was more expensive than the LA Times and had even more rate cards.) I don’t know where you got the idea that rates are discounted off the published rates because I’ll be the first to tell you that the LA Times never did that. The published rates were the true rates.

    Advertising in Maxim magazine is a different thing. I don’t see Maxim as a mainstream publication. It’s geared towards adult men. They haven’t been around very long yet so I think their decision to accept gun advertising probably is an issue of dollars and cents.

    But, just because a gun advertisier got into Maxim doesn’t prove a whole lot to me. The LA Times would have taken a (what was it? Bushmaster) ad too — if it didn’t mention buying guns that are illegal to own in California — and providing Bushmaster wasn’t put off by that $100K+ rate (because that would have been their rate too — they are a manufacturer, not a retail store).

    Bottom line: There has never been a total ban against NRA or gun advertising.

  4. ubu52,

    I didn’t say there was a total ban against the NRA. I said that many major publications would not accept their advertising.

    My data is limited. IIRC it was a conversation with Joe Waldron but I might have also read it in The American Rifleman during that time frame. The context was political advertising, not retail. And it was NYC media.

    My claim about discounted ads was from my experience with advertising in small computer programming magazines during the early 90s. My graphic artist was also an ad agent (I think that was the title he used). He got a discount for being an agent but would frequently negotiate further discounts on 1/3 and 1/6 page ads. The extrapolation to other publications such as the L.A. Times may have been an error.

    My bottom line is that I have to ask is, “Would the L.A. Times would accept an ad from the KKK or NAMBLA?” I think the answer is no. Or at least there would be organizations and/or material that they would not allow on their pages even if they were paid the full rate. It is my understanding that much of NYC media was of that attitude toward the NRA and gun ownership during the 1990s.

  5. Joe,

    NYC might have been tough because of the gun laws they have. Neither the LAT or the NYT would accept advertising for anything illegal — which might have made KKK advertising a tough sell since discrimination is illegal. The LA Times probably would have accepted ads from the NRA providing they weren’t advocating anything illegal. (I was trying to think of something controversial that the LAT accepted but I’m drawing a blank.)

    Ad agencies do get discounts. There are also discounts for signing a contract to run X amount of space per year. Occasionally media offer discounts on particular products or combo sales.

    Anyway, I just wanted to set the record straight on the media refusing to run things that would be covered under the First Amendment (which would be political speech). Normally they would be happy to run the ads and collect the $$$$. 🙂

  6. ubu52,

    Now I’m confused. You say you wanted to “set the record straight” but then you indicate that I might be right about media based in NYC, which was my main point.

    Are you saying you wanted to set the record straight but failed?


  7. Ha! I read your first paragraph as separate from the rest of your post.

    Because New York City has much stricter gun laws than the rest of the country, I could see media there not wanting to take gun advertising. I believe the NYT would have operated just like the LAT when it comes to NRA ads though. If the NRA wanted to run political ads in the NYT, I can’t imagine the NYT turning them down. Now, if the NRA wanted to run ads that said something like “Buy a handgun illegally today” — that would have been turned down.

    Did you know that the FCC governs Political Advertising? Everything has to go by their rules on top of what I just posted. It gets far more complicated if the NRA wants to run ads supporting/against a candidate. What I said above goes for “general political” ads like “Join the NRA” and that type thing.

    By the way, I looked up the rate card for Maxim. I could only find the 2007 rate card, but that ad would have cost under $10K to run. Maxim doesn’t have regional editions so that would have gone to all their circulation. If Maxim had had regional editions, it would have been interesting to see which areas of the country they chose to run the ad in.

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