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NRANews -- bullet or target?

In a direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy, the National Rifle Association plans to begin broadcasting a daily radio program on Thursday to provide news and pro-gun commentary to 400,000 listeners.

The group says its jump into broadcasting with its program, "NRANews," means that it should be viewed as a media organization that does not have to abide by provisions of a sweeping campaign finance law from 2002. That law stops organizations from using unregulated "soft" money to buy political advertising that directly attacks or praises federal candidates in the weeks before federal elections and primaries.

The N.R.A. says its three-hour program constitutes news and commentary, not advertising. As a result, when other advocacy groups are required to stop running political commercials, "NRANews" intends to continue broadcasting its reporting and commentary against politicians who favor gun control to Nov. 2.

"The great thing about America is there is no test about the right to provide information to the American public," the executive vice president of the association, Wayne LaPierre, said in an interview this week. "There is no government licensing of journalists. Tom Paine was free to pamphlet. So are we." -- The New York Times > National > Gun Group's Radio Show Tests Limits on Advocacy (New York Times)