The spots: "Safe Kids Fund No. 1" and "Safe Kids Fund No. 2," produced by Ackerman McQueen for the National Rifle Association.
Transcripts: Click for a transcript of "Safe Kids Fund No. 1" and for "Safe Kids Fund No. 2."
These two ads are all about the pairing and juxtaposition of four words: "gun," "safety," "education," and "politics."
The essential strategy of the NRA ads, therefore, is to connect the word "gun" with the words "safety" and "education," to substitute the word "politics" for the word "law," and to juxtapose "education" with "politics."
Look at the NRA ads. Each one repeats the phrase "gun safety" five times and the phrase "gun safety education" three times. Each one begins and ends by saying we should set "politics" aside and focus instead on guaranteeing "safe kids" through education.
These phrases implicitly rule out the position of many gun-control advocates—namely, that guns are fundamentally unsafe and that new laws are needed to control them. Once the issue is framed as "gun safety," the question is narrowed to how—not whether—guns can be owned and used safely. The task is to work with guns, not against them. As for laws and legislation, there is nothing to discuss. There is only the cacophony of "politics," which is so unpleasant and confusing that you're better off turning away from it and focusing instead on "education." As the NRA condescendingly puts it, "You're going to hear lots of disagreement about gun politics, but we can all agree on gun safety."
My favorite line in both ads is the part where they say the NRA is demonstrating how to "make a difference" instead of "making arguments." How cynically, ironically true.
TODAY IN SLATE
Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.
Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.
Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution
Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada
Now, journalists can't even say her name.
Lena Dunham, the Book
More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.