The NBC Sports Network, a subsidiary of the communications giant Comcast, is helping to sponsor the largest gun trade show in the country despite anti-gun rhetoric on the NBC family of television networks, including a controversial monologue by one of its sports announcers.
NBC Sports is listed as one of the primary sponsors of the 2013 SHOT Show, which takes place Jan. 15 to18 in Las Vegas and bills itself “the world’s premier exposition of combined firearms.”
NBC commentator Bob Costas made national headlines when he launched into a pro-gun control speech during halftime at a December football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The speech came in the wake of a tragic murder-suicide by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.
“In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed,” Costas said. “Who knows? ‘But here,’ wrote Jason Whitlock, ‘is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.’”
NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus, airs hunting and fishing shows. The cable channel sponsors the gun show “as part of our commitment to our outdoor-programming block,” NBC spokesman Greg Hughes said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Comcast, which owns NBC Universal and its affiliated networks, including NBC Sports Network and the liberal news channel MSNBC, is involved with Vice President Joe Biden’s gun violence task force.
Comcast’s lobbying chief, David Cohen, along with cable, broadcast, and movie industry trade groups, met Thursday with Biden to discuss ways to reduce gun violence in America. Cohen was a prominent bundler of donations to President Obama.
The broadcast personalities on MSNBC have been vocal about their opposition to gun shows.
“Why do we have to have gun shows?” pondered MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews. “What’s a gun ‘show?’”
“Is this really news to people that someone can skirt around the procedure and easily acquire assault weapons in this country?” MSNBC host Tamron Hall asked.
“It’s just ridiculous what you can do in Virginia,” “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said. “Go to gun shows—the loopholes.”
“So many criminals get guns this way that some people call gun shows ‘tupperware parties for thugs,’” said MSNBC host Touré.
Comcast spent $28.1 million lobbying Congress during its last session, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.
Neither MSNBC nor Comcast responded to a request for comment.