"One of America's greatest threats is a national news media that fails to provide a level playing field for the truth," LaPierre told a packed room. "Now it's all entertainment ratings, personal celebrity, the next sensational story, and the deliberate spinning and purposeful use of words and language, truth be damned, to advance their agenda."
He went on to link his hatred of the media to his distaste for politicians, arguing the two have joined forces to "misinform and deceive" the American public, a sentiment which earned him mild applause. "They lie bills into law, they pass legislation they haven't even read ... health care policies, economic policies, foreign affairs — all seem repeatedly reckless," he fumed. "The IRS is now a weapon to punish anyone who disagrees with them, and that means every one of you."
The way LaPierre described things, everything was "us" versus "them." It was all politicians and the media versus ordinary Americans and, as we learned later, their guns.
"We don't trust government because government itself has proved unworthy of our trust. We trust ourselves," he said. "We trust our freedom."
LaPierre's speech came mere hours after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to win conservative hearts by walking onstage with a rifle in hand. He immediately passed the gun off to Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, but no matter. The gimmick worked. It was the only time that the audience cheered loudly during McConnell's entire time on stage.
That enthusiasm was on display again for LaPierre's speech as he fired up the crowd, asking the audience whether they trust the government to protect them. (The answer: a resounding "No!")
In a final insult to the media's coverage of his Sandy Hook speech, he repeated the quote that made him infamous in the wake of the Newtown shooting: "The surest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.
And the audience loved it.
The NRA, LaPierre continued, proudly stands for the America we all want, "unflinching in defense of one unifying principle: individual freedom for all."
The crowd was on its feet now, clapping and cheering as LaPierre's speech seemed to veer into the strange territory of the freedom-loving speech Bill Pullman gives as President Thomas Whitmore in Independence Day, taking on an almost post-apocalyptic quality.
"The NRA will not go quietly into the night," he cried. "We will fight. I promise you that."
He walked off stage as David Guetta's "Titanium" played.
Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away. You shoot me down but I won't fall. I am titanium.